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The Long Saddle Wait is OVER! at last!

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  • The Long Saddle Wait is OVER! at last!

    It's finally arrived - my new County Stabilizer, fresh from England. I know you're all just DYING to see pictures, right?

    http://axacio.com/saddle/saddleleft.jpg - left side
    http://axacio.com/saddle/saddleright.jpg - right side
    http://axacio.com/saddle/undersideofflap.jpg - underside of the flap, which has some crazy waxy buildup

    I have a million more but I don't want to bore people to death, either

    I have a couple questions... the billets on this thing seem a little weird to me. They're sewn directly into a nylon strappy thing which is obviously sewn into the seat/tree area, but I've never seen a configuration quite like this. Is this normal for County saddles? When I demo'd the Stabilizer back in May I can't say I noticed, but I wasn't picking over the saddle with a fine-tooth comb either. A picture: http://axacio.com/saddle/billetstop.jpg

    Also - on the underside of the flap, there is some impressive wax coating going on. It scrapes away with my fingernail (don't worry - it's not harming the leather - there's too much crap on top of it). This doesn't seem to be the case on the top of the leather (though the flap and skirt leather is very very hard and not pliable, at the moment - the seat, knee roll, and panels appear to be made of some much much softer leather that has already been treated, or something). What the heck do I do to get rid of this? Anything? Do I just work it into the saddle? This is my first Brand New Saddle so I'm learning as I go

  • #2
    I LOVE the color!! Mine is a very lovely reddish/mahogany color. I didn't have a color choice though; I bought mine in used like new condition last year.

    I don't know enough about the waxy stuff except that good new leather should have a nice waxy finish to it. . . What to do though I don't know.

    Enjoy!!

    Comment


    • #3
      ooooo so purdy! I'm jealous since this is the saddle I'm currently coveting!

      Comment


      • #4
        Very nice looking saddle. Wow.

        I have this one on my short list. Did you try the Innovation as well before you settled on the Stabilizer? If so what did you think? I cannot decide between those two primarily due to the difference in seat depth.

        Prestige's Paris D (with wool flocking) and Black Country Quantum are the other two.

        I have given myself until month end to make a decision.

        Post more pics!

        Comment


        • #5
          The billet configuration looks normal to me - that is how my Stabilizer and Innovation both are put together, and I think my Tad Coffin might be similar. Maybe ask your rep about the wax -- both of mine are the bull leather so I don't remember any coating on them, I just used some conditioner after I rode in it a few times (I think my rep recommended the Passier leather balm or something like that). Have fun with your new saddle (and I also like that color!).

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by rlaracue View Post
            Very nice looking saddle. Wow.

            I have this one on my short list. Did you try the Innovation as well before you settled on the Stabilizer? If so what did you think? I cannot decide between those two primarily due to the difference in seat depth.

            Prestige's Paris D (with wool flocking) and Black Country Quantum are the other two.

            I have given myself until month end to make a decision.

            Post more pics!
            I didn't so much purposely demo the Innovation as just randomly rode in it about two years ago on a friend's horse. I also loved the feel of that saddle, but it is DEEP. Since I'm coming from a Crosby Prix des Nations, aka the Pancake of Saddles, I like a saddle that is of a much flatter depth. I had to laugh - my trainer took one look at the Stabilizer I demoed and said "oh my gosh - it's your saddle, but new and with padding!" (Let's just say it's been a difficult time pulling the PdN out of my claws... until the darling horse said "no more of this!") I also ride saddle seat, and as a result I'm just happier in a flatter configuration. That said, if the Innovation were the only available choice, I probably would have pounced on it. Really I think it just comes down to where you are more comfortable.

            For me it was pretty easy picking it out... I sat in it, my butt said "OH! this is wonderful!" and my horse said "OH! This is beyond wonderful!" and it stayed that way for the next week that I demo'd the thing so I figured hey, we're good to go.

            I am SO NERVOUS to give it its first ride tomorrow! Will post more pictures then... I want the armchair saddlers' opinions on whether the thing fits well. (County rep is coming, but not for a week or so, and I'm ultra-super-paranoid.)

            Comment


            • #7
              wow, it's beautiful! Congrats and enjoy your rides
              Moving at the Speed of Haflinger

              Comment


              • #8
                Lovely saddle! How exciting

                ...is it black? (i dont see many CC in black these days but the coloring in the picture makes it look like it. it's probably just because the pic is taken indoors and throws off the color at times.. i assume it's a dark brown but now i'm not sure cause it LOOKS like black )
                (|--Sarah--|)

                Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  It's dark brown Definitely not black! (It is a very dark brown though. I'm kind of petrified to oil it lest it becomes darker!)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have the dark brown! Stabilazer XTR in Bull hide

                    I did not oil my sadde but I used a Tack balm/ conditioner from Belvoir -- It smells like honey suckle. I too do not like oil -- especially on the quality of these saddles.

                    I will tell you though if you have concerns, talk with the rep or county. Did you get the stabilzer or the stabilizer xtr???

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      OMG OMG OMG!

                      Honey, you did *good*.

                      The chocolate color and the leather on this puppy are beautiful, making this saddle an example of the reason to shell out for a County. You will be happy for a very, very long time.

                      I also think you did right to choose a Stabilizer. It's the best balanced, cushy for the tushy, a little help with knee rolls answer to the venerable PdN and Hermes-style "postage stamp" CC saddle. But the tree and panels help horses out a whole lot more.

                      The Innovation is, indeed, a very different saddle-- an answer to the bucket-seated, "hope you didn't want to reproduce" pommel and forward-flapped "you are only here to jump 5' square oxers, right" french saddle. Think of an original DelGrange as setting the pace for these.

                      Given your riding history and your butt's clearly-stated preference, I think you can trust that this is the right saddle for you.

                      Don't be afraid of the wax coating underneath. It's put there on really beautiful, traditional English tack to protect the leather from moisture during shipping.

                      There is another thread going on that is fussy but timely for you: "Has leather evolved beyond oil"? Since this is your "first born" infant saddle, you will need to think about how you want to condition it. Not having felt the leather on your saddle (*key* to making good decisions), I'd suggest this:

                      1) Just wipe of the waxy stuff with a damp sponge plus warm water. Then go over it again with a towel. Don't use any chemical to cut through it. You can do this more than once, but I'd do it once, then oil, then see if I felt the oil was sitting on the surface of the remaining wax. I'll bet it does not. The wax will come off over time. You don't need to make a concerted effort to deal with it.

                      2) Before you oil, go over the whole thing with the warm-water and towel combination. I think it makes the oil soak in better.

                      3) Use the oil of your choice, but know that oiling and "conditioning" aren't quite the same. IMO, you do want to oil a new saddle in the sense of using something that penetrates to the inside of the leather. I'm not afraid of trusty ol' neatsfoot (except on the calfskin seats and knee rolls), but use what your County rep says or your new-fangled, opinionated friends recommend.

                      4) The key with oiling is to offer thin layers and stopping just short of what you think is enough. You can add more oil later, you can't undo the damage done by too much (or at least it will take years and years.)

                      5) After oiling, I "seal" with a layer of a more waxy-type think like glycerine or the jelly form of Murphy's Oil Soap on a damp sponge. This creates the soft glow we all know and love. That plus the smell of Murphy's plus the look of your beautiful new saddle (all bonded with you) will make you cry from the sheer excellence of it all. You can get that back each time you clean your saddle.

                      Have fun.
                      The armchair saddler
                      Politically Pro-Cat

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I try to only oil (lightly) the saddle on the "rough" sides so that I don't get oil slicks on my breeches or saddle pads.

                        Lovely saddle! It looks super comfy!
                        BeesKnees
                        Hunters should be galloping - George Morris

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          MVP, as usual your excellent advice has cheered me greatly!

                          My County rep, having recently wakened to the wonders of olive oil, is recommending that. The lady whose original Stabilizer I demo'd did this to her brand new (Oakbark) one and it is beeeeyootiful and the leather is soft and just wonderful. So I think I will go with the olive oil and see how that goes!

                          I've now ridden in it twice on my boy, and this saddle will have to be pried from my cold, dead fingers. It is SO comfy (even with zero breaking in and unoiled leather) and my darling horse is just so relaxed in it. Floppy ears, quieter mouth, quieter overall. (which we needed. Badly.)

                          I fully plan on having a "bonding experience" with my saddle tonight and giving it its first conditioning. Only a horse person can be excited at that prospect...

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