English Saddle Help! (Black Country, County, etc.)
   

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English Saddle Help! (Black Country, County, etc.)

This is a discussion on English Saddle Help! (Black Country, County, etc.) within the Horse Tack and Equipment forums, part of the Horse Tack category
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    10-08-2013, 09:39 AM
  #1
Foal
English Saddle Help! (Black Country, County, etc.)

I'm having the most difficult time finding a saddle to fit my paint mare. When I first got her, I had her in a Stubben Siegfried (German made), which I loved. Unfortunately, with the much needed weight she is putting on, she has quickly outgrown it. I called a saddlefitter out to try about six saddles I had borrowed and, just as luck would have it, none of them fit. He suggested the Black Country Ricochet, which brand new is out of my budget. He also suggested the Collegiate Senior Eventer since it has the changeable gullet system. He Ďthinksí sheís a MW (good old QH genes). Considering my mare is just five years old and her back is ever-changing Iím definitely looking to buy a used, quality saddle with good resale value since I may have to revisit this whole saddle buying process in the future. I ride English doing equal amounts of arena work and trail riding, but strictly for pleasure. If I ever do venture into jumping, itíll be nothing more than a foot or so. Right now Iím trialing a used County Pro Fit #4 but itís too wide and is bridging. Iím going to try the #3 fit in the following week to see if itís any better, so the jury is still out on the Pro Fit.

So for my questions....

With a budget of anything around or under $1000, does anyone know of a saddle comparable to the Ricochet? Even used they are still thousands. Buying a new Collegiate Senior Eventer is within my budget but Iím not sure about the quality, so anyone with any experience with the Collegiate, please advise! All purpose and close contact saddles preferably.

Also, I was perusing the County website for their fitting guidance and came across their wither descriptions. If it helps, sheís got a similar wither to the one in this photo. Not high/shark-like, but tapers a bit.



I will try however many saddles it takes, so any feedback and/or experience with these brands is much appreciated!!
     
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    10-08-2013, 10:10 AM
  #2
Yearling
Collegiate brand today is a good brand of saddle.
When this brand first came on the market, they were not so good, they fixed their product and can now compare to many of the more $$$$ brands honestly.
I have friends that have Collegiate close-contact saddles that are more than 10 years old, ridden in 5 days a week and look great...and they ride even better!!

You do not need to spend thousands to purchase a quality saddle...many times you are "buying" a name and endorsement making the product so expensive.

Proper care of the sadlle, appropriate cleaning and conditioning of the leather and using not abusing the saddle should give you many years of happy use of this brand.

That said... I do not know if an adjustable gullet is available but that sounds more like what you need now with your horse maturing and still changing shape.

Although not leather, Wintec makes saddles that will meet your needs now and if your horses shape should alter again with how you ride and she "muscles" up.

Honestly, till the horse matures and pretty much stabilizes in her muscling and bone structure, I would not spend the money on a saddle only for it to not fit her in 6 months...I would bite the bullet and go Wintec and synthetic for now...and I DO NOT like synthetic saddles, period!!

Maybe that will give you some options or search for a leather saddle with adjustable tree...
Good luck, happy shopping.
     
    10-08-2013, 11:14 AM
  #3
Trained
I've ridden my horse in the same saddle since he was 6 and he now competes at CDIs. Lots of muscle changes but the saddle fit was basically unchanged. Or at least nothing that a shim pad for a month couldn't handle.
This oh her back is going to change so much thing is mostly from people who don't keep their horses a consistent weight, don't consistently work them or have an ill fitting saddle which atrophies the muscles in the back. I've yet to find a horse who truly changes that much.

You can try Neidersuiss, Stubben, Passier and other older style saddles which are a little less finicky in the fit. I have a KN in a normal tree and it literally fits everything. You can buy one new on sale from dressage extensions right now for double your budget. Used ones are hard to come across but are usually a good deal. IMO save another $200 for a Prolite shim pad too. They are useful!

Good luck!
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    10-08-2013, 06:00 PM
  #4
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~    
This oh her back is going to change so much thing is mostly from people who don't keep their horses a consistent weight, don't consistently work them or have an ill fitting saddle which atrophies the muscles in the back. I've yet to find a horse who truly changes that much.

Posted via Mobile Device
I come across them all the time. Not everyone can keep their animals working constantly, unfortunately, nor keep them a consistent weight, especially pleasure horses and youngsters.

It's a fact of life that most horses change shape, the same as we do. Even if a lot of the time changes go relatively unnoticed.

Saddles change over time, too.
     
    10-08-2013, 06:27 PM
  #5
Showing
I liked my Black Country to a point. I didn't like that it was such a deep seat and I didn't like how big the padding was over the knees. It encouraged gripping, I find.
It was a well made saddle and they allowed for personal customization. Ie I got a quantum seat and ricochet tree/flocking. I also added the maestro calf block. They accommodated my truest for hunter green piping as well.
I much prefer my Antares as I feel if gives me much more freedom, and the knee padding/blocks really bothered me in the BC.
I don't think I'd seek out another BC jumping saddle, but certainly wouldn't snub my nose at it either.
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    10-08-2013, 06:27 PM
  #6
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by unclearthur    
I come across them all the time. Not everyone can keep their animals working constantly, unfortunately, nor keep them a consistent weight, especially pleasure horses and youngsters.

It's a fact of life that most horses change shape, the same as we do. Even if a lot of the time changes go relatively unnoticed.

Saddles change over time, too.
So then the solution is to have multiple saddles for one horse or to repurchase a saddle every year?? That doesn't sound very cost effective to me...
As well, any well built saddle will not warp. Do they need to be reflocked? Yes. For $100. If your car needs more oil do you sell it and buy a new one?

I just don't buy this whole "horse changing shape" thing that's so drastic you have the saddle fitter out every 6 weeks adjusting your gullet size by 4 cm each time. Which I have seen people do!! It's ludicrous!!! Either the saddle fits or it doesn't. There is no grey area and IMO changing a gullet size does not adjust the panels or tree - which are more likely to be causing fit issues.
     
    10-08-2013, 06:42 PM
  #7
Foal
Horselovinguy- Thanks for the info! With your ‘endorsement’ of Collegiate, I’ll definitely add it to my list of saddles to try. The Collegiate Senior Event has the adjustable gullet so I’ll try it. I ‘m avoiding the synthetic saddles until I exhaust all other options. I’d just rather have leather if I can help it.

Anabel- The recommendation for the Prolite shim pad is a good one and I think it’s the same one that the saddlefitter spoke to me about. He didn’t write it down and I couldn’t place the name until I read your reply. Unfortunately, to your point about horse’s backs not changing much, my mare is five and when I inherited her she was quite thin. She’s at a good weight now but still packing on the pounds, so her shape is changing as I build muscle, build up her topline, and just generally get her back in shape.
     
    10-08-2013, 06:44 PM
  #8
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by unclearthur    
I come across them all the time. Not everyone can keep their animals working constantly, unfortunately, nor keep them a consistent weight, especially pleasure horses and youngsters.
Fortunate for me, my mare is a pleasure horse and a youngster...
     
    10-09-2013, 01:47 PM
  #9
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourleggedfriendly    
horselovinguy- Thanks for the info! With your Ďendorsementí of Collegiate, Iíll definitely add it to my list of saddles to try. The Collegiate Senior Event has the adjustable gullet so Iíll try it. I Ďm avoiding the synthetic saddles until I exhaust all other options. Iíd just rather have leather if I can help it.

Anabel- The recommendation for the Prolite shim pad is a good one and I think itís the same one that the saddlefitter spoke to me about. He didnít write it down and I couldnít place the name until I read your reply. Unfortunately, to your point about horseís backs not changing much, my mare is five and when I inherited her she was quite thin. Sheís at a good weight now but still packing on the pounds, so her shape is changing as I build muscle, build up her topline, and just generally get her back in shape.
Yes of course a severely underweight or overweight horse is going to change shape some. But at 5, I don't think the horse will really be doing that much filling out behind the shoulders and any muscle building can be accommodated with the ProLite pad, and its eventual removal. Her bones are fully grown, her spine is not going to undulate in any strange ways, her withers aren't going to spring up, her barrel is not going to get much wider. Her conformation is set. IMO any small changes in musculature due to training can be adjusted for with a re flock of a well fitted saddle. If the "bones" of the saddle fit the "bones" of the horse - the padding can all be adjusted.
     
    10-09-2013, 05:10 PM
  #10
Yearling
These are two pics of my horse, end of September 2012 (left) and end of March 2013. To be fair, he was hugely fat in the first having been off for twelve months with a foot problem, and the second was taken after he'd been dieted over the winter.

He's a 16.1 ID x DWB, 18 years old and a very good doer. Saddle width-wise he reduced from unmeasurable (where a treeless saddle was necessary) to between an XW and a W + 1/2. That's at least four tree-widths (4").

We had one horse (ID x TB) for 12 years who never needed a saddle adjustment, and a DWB who needed his adjusted every few months. 6 years on, the latter horse has settled down and hasn't had his tweaked for a year.

My point is that you really can't generalise. You have to treat each horse as an individual.

     

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