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Any first hand experience with the BDH (Bruno de Heusch) saddles?

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  • Any first hand experience with the BDH (Bruno de Heusch) saddles?

    I have a TB gelding who has been next to impossible to fit over the years. I settled on an Amerigo monoflap, which I love, but it no longer is appropriate for his long shark fin withers. Unfortunately, an Antares--our first choice saddle-- is not an option. I'm an eventer and looking for a second saddle that will *hopefully* fit him, but that I can have as a back up.
    I have a chance to try a BdH original and have heard mostly good reviews, but a few that aren't so great. Wondering if anyone has firsthand experience with the saddle... what your opinion is, how it's held up, how it fits horse and rider.
    Currently, he's an Intermediate eventer, looking to move to Advanced in the spring, and competing at level 5-6 jumpers. As a 7 year old, he still has more developing to do, but we take development one step at a time, because every time I expect he'll fill out more, it doesn't happen.
    Keep your feet on the ground, but always look to the stars!

  • #2
    I have a BDH that I used on my OTTB that had quite large withers. It fit him fine. When I first got him he was under muscled, so I used a Mattes half pad with the saddle and it worked well. I ended up selling him very quickly so the saddle didn't get a ton of use. The leather is wicked soft. I totally love this saddle, but I am not going to by another horse for years, so I'm selling it. Mine is a 17.5 seat and it does fit more like a 17. It is a really great saddle for under 2k.
    Drop the drama and ride!


    • Original Poster

      Did you have the BdH special or the original? I've heard it compared to the delgrange, but is there any particular saddle you'd compare it to? I use the Mattes correction for my gelding with the Amerigo, don't need it for his dressage saddle. Does yours have the long flap or regular? The one I'm considering was bought for a horse that outgrew it-- just 3 months old... and the price is tough to beat, but I didn't think I'd find a saddle so quickly after staring to look!
      Keep your feet on the ground, but always look to the stars!


      • #4
        I just bought a BdH special about 2 weeks ago. My shark fin TB has been dealing with a poorly fitting Wintec for 8 months now. Tried literally a dozen different brands of saddles ... nothing. Got the BdH from Dover as a bit of a last resort ... and it fits BEAUTIFULLY. I've cleaned it and oiled it with olive oil 3 times, and already the flap is softening and breaking in. The olive oil has darkened it considerably, and it looks just beautiful. My horse is happy in it ... trotted with his nose on the ground for the first time in 8 months.

        The pommel is significantly higher than on the Wintec; sometimes I feel like I'm fighting where it wants to put my leg just on the flat. Over fences, my position is ROCK SOLID now. Used to have a getting left behind problem ... since riding in my new saddle, I have literally not gotten left behind once, so I think the position on the flat thing is simply me needing to stay balanced. Overall, I am SUPER happy with it, and highly recommend it.


        • #5
          My sister has a BdH Original for her slightly built, shark-fin Thoroughbred. This horse does not have a ton of topline, and as he is working towards more muscling in the back, she has made the saddle work by using a wool-felt wither cutout pad underneath. As his musculature improves and lessens the drop of those massive withers, the fit should improve.

          She has been quite happy with the saddle; her only complaint is that it is difficult to get it to darken beyond a rich chestnut color, even with Hydrophane darkening oil (she usually uses olive oil or neatsfoot.) Personally, I find the grain leather to be slippery, but then again I am spoiled by French calf.

          Having ridden in saddles by almost all of the major French manufacturers I find this saddle to be a quality lower-priced imitation of a French saddle that rides less like a Delgrange (as another poster mentioned) than a cushier Butet, although I do agree that it fits somewhat like a Delgrange (which incidentally was this Thoroughbred's former saddle.)
          "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

          Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
          Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.


          • Original Poster

            Alrighty, I'll give it a try! Now, it can't get here fast enough!
            Thanks everyone!!!
            Keep your feet on the ground, but always look to the stars!


            • #7
              I would recommend this saddle to anyone! I love it sooo much! I've posted a lot about it but if you have any specific questions, PM me!
              Dacharia = best mare in the world



              • #8
                I have a BdH original and I love it. I have a hard to fit TBX with big withers but a huge shoulder and fairly wide back. The regular tree fits him nicely.
                I bought it used and it came to me already broken in, darkened and uber soft. I think if you oil it regularly you will have no problem darkening it. I've had many friends and trainers ride in my saddle and nearly everyone has commented on how comfy and grippy the leather is.

                The BdH is considered "the cousin" of the PJ.

                You can see the saddle in this picture here. It is nicely darkened and broken in.
                I haven't found the leather to be slippery at all and I have ridden in CWD's and Devoucoux's. Can't say I've noticed much difference in leather quality. Then again my saddle is an older model, perhaps the newer ones don't break in as nicely?

                There is one on Ebay now that looks pretty well broken in and is super cheap.


                • #9
                  I'm bumping this up because I am considering a BDH Saddle. It looks to be in great condition and is priced at $900. I have a fairly narrow large pony I would be using it on. How grippy is the leather on these?
                  The Equine Wellness and Nutrition FB Group - Come join us!!


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Freebird! View Post
                    I'm bumping this up because I am considering a BDH Saddle. It looks to be in great condition and is priced at $900. I have a fairly narrow large pony I would be using it on. How grippy is the leather on these?
                    In my experience, not very. About as grippy as a mid-90's PDN.
                    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                    Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                    Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Freebird! View Post
                      I'm bumping this up because I am considering a BDH Saddle. It looks to be in great condition and is priced at $900. I have a fairly narrow large pony I would be using it on. How grippy is the leather on these?
                      I have a BDH Special. It's comfortable and puts me in a good position. It's grippy, but nothing like the higher end saddles. I got it as a last minute resort while I save up for a nice custom saddle and it has proven it's money worth. Definitely one of the nicer saddles for the price range.


                      • #12
                        sounds like most people who have commented here found the BdH fits TB shapes best. i have an appy gelding with a wider, flatter back but he has a decent curve from withers (which he actually has) to back. i have my eye on a BdH with a wide tree and it looks to curve nicely - would those of you with a BdH agree with that novice assessment?
                        WH Miakoda - 2010 Appaloosa gelding
                        Storm N the Harbor - 2007 Thoroughbred mare
                        WHS SlikBlak Cadilak - 2014 Appaloosa mare (RIP)


                        • #13
                          Crimsonsky - while I can't comment on the BdH model, I did have a horse like the one your describe. (It was even an appy! Is there some bloodline out there that produces appies with withers???) Anyhow, he needed something to clear a high wither, fit his wideness, and the fact that he was curvy front to back. I bought a Collegiate Diploma and it fit well. It was also saddle fitter approved, though the sitter evaluated it a year or so after I bought it. I did not buy it with a fitter's help.