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County Saddle Question!

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  • County Saddle Question!

    So just had my county rep out today, tried some fantastic saddles, so now I wanted to ask all you county owners out there, which do you like better the Innovation? or the Stabilizer and why??

  • #2
    Stabilizer for me...

    Why? Because it fit me and my horse to a T. I feel secure, confident, and sticky in the Stabilizer. Plus I like that it's not a giant couch while still being comfortable.

    From what I gather the Innovation vs Stabilizer question is very much a personal preference thing as opposed to a logical thing.


    • #3
      I've had several Stabilizers (and still have the one that I had custom made for one of my horses 10ish years ago) and have had a couple of different Innovations (I sent one on and kept the other).

      I prefer the slightly more forward balance of the Innovation generally speaking. I find that it puts me in a better place for the big jumps than my Stabilizers which have all had a slightly further back balance point. But both saddles are balanced more towards the back than I would like.

      But beyond that I haven't found any way to compare them other than on a horse to horse and saddle to saddle basis. My two Innovations had different options and felt like completely different saddles. Neither felt like they had a deeper seat (which is something some people say about the Innovation) than my Stabilizers. One has a forward flap and massive knee blocks that makes it the most comfortable saddle in the world on my TB. The other had no knee rolls or blocks and it was really a nice saddle on my WB mare (though it didn't actually fit her correctly). My Stabilizers were also all different from each other.

      My advice when shopping for a County is to try anything and everything on your horse and pick the saddle that's the most comfortable for you and the horse. I've ended up with a couple of saddles I never would have "picked" (such as my rep's saddle fitting demo Innovation with the massive knee blocks) but were saddles that fit the horse and I better than I would have thought was possible.
      Flying F Sport Horses
      Horses in the NW


      • #4
        I agree with everything PNWJumper said (and she's pretty darn knowledgeable!). I prefer my Innovation for the same reason- the more forward balance point. The Stabilizer made me feel like I was in the "backseat", while the Innovation puts me right in the middle. I was always behind the motion with my Devoucoux, now I'm not.

        Try them all--I just "knew" when I sat in the Innovation and then jumped in it. Perfect fit for me and my horse.
        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


        • #5
          I too have both the Stabilizer and the Innovation.

          I agree with what PNWJumper says about the Innovation feeling really secure over the bigger jumps. I have the one she "sent on" and love it. More importantly my horse loves it. He's got a bad back but you'd never know it now!!!

          The Stabilizer I really like as well but think of it more as a "Hunter" saddle. Really easy to get up and out of it and off the horse's back.

          I also agree about trying every different style you can.

          I'm a county saddle fan and have been very happy with both of mine.
          Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


          • #6
            I have a Stabilizer and an Innovation and byfar prefer the Innovation because of it's more forward balance point. Unlike PNWjumper, the Innovation seat feels deeper to me. It also puts my leg more directly underneath me than the Stabilizer does. I never thought I'd like a saddle more than I loved my Stabilizer, but then came the Innovation. Although so far everyone on this thread seems to prefer the Innovation, if you do a search you'll find many who prefer the Stabilizer. It really boils down to which one you prefer.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks! I thought that I was going to be sold on the stabilizer, especially cause it was the first one that I tried. I did not think I would love the Innovation w/all those blocks, but one ride in that baby and I was sold! Its just a bit more expensive than the Stabilizer and I was slightly torn so its def nice to hear how everyone likes theirs!
              Pretty sure ill be placing an order this week! (yikes!)


              • #8
                Although never sat in the Innovation I LOVE my Stabilizer. Purchased in '95 or '96 and has fit all the horses I have put it on well. The most comfortable saddle I have ever sat in. Coming from a H/J background it took a bit getting used to the padded flap as I was a close contact fan and was skeptical of anything but. However I would not trade this saddle for anything. I have heard you cant go wrong with County and many on this board love the brand


                • Original Poster

                  Yah, everyone's response about how much they love their County's has made me feel much better about how much $$$ im about to spend!! haha Oh well 'tis the season right?


                  • #10
                    Not to hijack but this is an interesting thread for me because I have an Antares, but have recently started feeling it might not fit my horse as well any more - he's really muscled up. County saddles have recently really caught my eye. I've been contemplating selling my saddle (which is in great condition so I'm hoping it should fetch me enough to get a demo or a used County in great condition).

                    Would any County owners mind answering this question: The panels on a County look like the offer a broader base of support to me than most saddles do. Would you agree? Does anyone who has a County feel that the design of the panels is more comfortable on a horse's back from other saddles?
                    Last edited by KristieBee; Dec. 7, 2009, 01:26 PM. Reason: spelling and grammar trainwrecks.


                    • #11

                      They are absolutely larger and offer a much larger surface area to distribute a rider's weight across the horse's back.
                      Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


                      • #12
                        I have the innovation and picked it over the stabilizer because I felt more secure in the saddle in the innovation. I love my county!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tidy rabbit View Post

                          They are absolutely larger and offer a much larger surface area to distribute a rider's weight across the horse's back.
                          Thank you for confirming this. I just have this strong feeling that they'd feel more comfortable for Mr. Barrel-backed and help him use himself a little better.

                          Sigh - do I really want to start down this road again?


                          • #14
                            Just to throw in my own two cents, I had (have) an Innovation designed for my previous narrow horse. When I had the County fitter out to check out the new horse we discovered that for some reason, the new horse moves better in a Stabilizer than in the Innovation (even the Innovation in the correct tree size).

                            So the plan is to eventually find a Stabilizer for the new horse. Now I ride him in an old Prestige and am biding my time until I can find JUST the right Stabilizer (or decide to bite the bullet and buy a new one).

                            I go back and forth on if I want to sell the old Innovation. I love the way it feels and surely it would be silly to get rid of it as I might have a narrow horse in the future, right? I prefer the feel of both County models over the Prestige I'm currently riding in. There nothing WRONG with the Prestige, but my kiester got pretty spoiled by the Innovation!
                            Originally posted by tidy rabbit
                            Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.


                            • #15
                              i have been really thinking of getting a cwd. i just love those saddles. But i am really up in the air about a cwd, county or antares. I like the way the cwd and antares saddles look the best. but everyone raves about their counties. or what about albion? i have a trainer in the area that rides in those? what are the pros and cons to these saddles? i have a bad back/neck so i need something pretty comfortable. thanks guys!


                              • Original Poster

                                I have to say out of all the saddles I have tried, it took me a while to bite the bullet and let myself consider a county, I have never felt such a difference in my horse then when I put her in the new innovation. She just felt SO much freer through her shoulder and back, I was kind of amazed to feel such a difference. I couldn’t decide how I felt about the big blocks that were in the innovation (and that it was a bit more expensive!) but after I went back through and tried each saddle again I was pretty sold on the innovation (of course that notion was encouraged as well by you fellow COTHer’s)


                                • #17
                                  I had a County Stabilizer, custom built for me for a horse I was leasing at the time. This particular horse really loved the Stabilizer, and on him, it was much more comfortable than the Innovation, which was just too deep.

                                  I changed lease horses, and the Stabilizer got too narrow as the new horse muscled up. It became kind of difficult to ride him in it and I felt like I was just all over the place - a completely different feeling than riding the other horse in it. Saddle fitter came out and we tried a wider tree Innovation on him. The Innovation was an absolute dream to ride in! We tried a wide Stabilizer too and it was just nowhere near as good as the Innovation. It was just the way that particular horse liked to be ridden, and where he liked his rider to be. I thought both were very comfortable but the horse just went better in the Innovation, and therefore I liked that saddle better!

                                  I ended up with a wide tree CWD because I couldn't find an Innovation in my price range. I love the CWD and have ridden a number of other horses in it, and just love how it fits me and where my point of balance is in it. And with a couple of ruptured discs, comfort and balance is very important to me

                                  Point is, it's very dependent on both rider and horse. You just have to try them. Just demo as many saddles as you possibly can, and use wither tracings to help narrow down your choices. I think that once you get to that level of quality in a saddle (i.e. county vs BC vs antares vs cwd vs devoucoux vs etc etc etc), you're really not going to be disappointed with any of the saddles as long as it fits both the rider and the horse. You'll find very quickly that you have a preference for one in particular.
                                  "These are my principles. If you do not like them, I have others." --Groucho Marx


                                  • #18
                                    For those of you concerned about the knee and thigh blocks on the Innovation -- remember, they can be removed easily. Since they come standard on the saddle, my saddle fitter suggested I get the knee and thigh blocks. If I absolutely hated them after riding in the saddle for a while, he could remove them. It's much easier to remove them than to add them later. FWIW, I LOVE the knee and thigh blocks!


                                    • #19
                                      I think your preference for one saddle or another can be influenced greatly by the horse it is on (as well as fit). I have a Stabilizer that was made for one horse -- he moved better and was visibly happier in it compared to the Innovation. I like it well enough -- won't say I love it, as I love my Tad Coffin, but I can ride in it and it makes the horse happy, so I use it.

                                      For one of my other horses, I bought an Innovation mostly because it fit my trainer better and he was doing all the riding of that particular horse at the time. That horse is a totally different build than the first one, so the Stabilizer won't even come close to fitting him. When I started riding that horse, and using it (the Innovation), I HATED it. Despised it. Wanted to give it away. But I happened to use the Innovation on another horse and loved it -- just for some reason, on the one horse, it just made me fight to hold my position.

                                      It is funny too, I would say my Stabilizer feels just as secure to me as the Innovation -- I did the bull leather on the Stabilizer and I have always preferred a flatter seat. Hence my even greater preference for the Tad, I guess!