Saddle help?! I'm indesisive!

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Saddle help?! I'm indesisive!

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  • Val du bois saddle review
  • Val du bois

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    01-05-2013, 01:05 PM
Saddle help?! I'm indesisive!

Hay guys!
So, I'm new here, and not so sure of how things work.. But I decided to post this anyways
First off, I'm hoping to get a new saddle this spring, and upgrade from my old A/P english saddle. I dont have a whooole lot of money to spend, and I've pretty much narrowed my search down to 2 saddles. But I'm a little bad with making decisions, so I'd looovve to get some advice... Or reviews?
The first saddle being the Val Du Bois, from greenhawk. It's $549, and I know for sure it fits my horse, his old owner rode him in one. I, however have not. My friend says she likes hers, but I'm NOT totally sure how it will fit me.. Or the quality of it. Heres a link- Val du Bois Elange Saddle | RIE5151 | Greenhawk

The second saddle is a collegiate. I think it's the Laurate? Another friend of mine owns a saddle like this. I don't know the retail price of it, but they're on ebay for around $500-$600. $600 is kinda leaning toward end of my budget, tho. Her horse is a similar bulid to mine, and it fits him well. At the same time, the saddle's never been on my horse. The saddle in person looks A LOT nicer to me then the Val Du Bois, though I find the seat really hard, espectially when sitting to the trot-ouch. But I do think this it puts me in a decent poisition, I'm not sure about over fences though. Collegiate Laureate Close Contact Saddle 16.5" WIDE | eBay

What are your guys' thoughts? I'm more-less thinking the Val du Bois is the way to go , but I'd like to know if anyone has more experience with the saddles first?
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    01-05-2013, 01:29 PM
Green Broke
With a modest budget, I'd definitely steer clear of new saddles and look for a used model from a higher quality brand. The Val du Bois doesn't even seem to have a tree size option so I'd be very suspect of it actually fitting your horse.

The first thing you need to do is figure out what tree size your horse needs and what seat size you'd prefer. If anyone you know has the Wintec set of interchangeable girths, see if you can borrow the sizer. It looks like this:

I found that the size it gave for my horse (medium wide) was pretty accurate for most other brands as well; I spoke to a saddle maker during my saddle search who said she felt the Wintec sizes were just slightly narrower than other brands, so if your horse measures med/wide on the Wintec sizer you probably wouldn't want to look at anything narrower than that in other brands but might be able to do with a size wider. True to this, I got an older jumping saddle I bought on eBay that is marked Wide and fits well. I think some of the older saddles (20-30+ years old) run a little narrower than newer ones, as well.

Once you know the tree & seat size you're looking for, keep an eye out on eBay and you can find some really good deals, but there is the risk that you'll get it and it just won't fit so you'd have to re-sell it. I got my jumping saddle for $150 (I suspect mostly because it's an unknown brand... there's a plate on the pommel, but anything printed on it has long since worn away) and I couldn't be happier with it!
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    01-05-2013, 01:35 PM
The Wintec device posted above is for determining gullet measurement only. There are so many factors to take into consideration when fitting a tree to the horse. Gullet width is only one small piece of that figurative puzzle. I do agree that you should go with used. If you do some looking, you can get a very good deal on a saddle that is potentially of much higher quality and that will last much longer.
    01-05-2013, 01:54 PM
I'm not totally concerned about the Val Du Bois fitting my horse, since he's been ridden in one many times before. The collegiate he hasn't been tried in.. I'm *sorta* worried about the saddle not fitting my long legs. I DID hear something about wooden trees warping, the Val du bois' tree is wooden. That's definitely a concern to me as well.
    01-05-2013, 03:22 PM
    01-05-2013, 08:37 PM
I have saddles with wooden trees that are 25 years old and they have not warped.
    01-05-2013, 08:41 PM
What size tree are you looking for? I have a wide (33cm) Collegiate event saddle for sale that's perfect for long legs. I typically ride in a 17.5" because of my long leg, but this 16.5" has a long flap and fits me really well.
    01-05-2013, 09:17 PM
I was looking for a medium tree, but thanks for the offer though! I realized after I posted the collegiate link, it was the wrong one.. Oops ;)
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    01-05-2013, 09:25 PM
Celeste- I'm thinking the wooden trees warp in an environment with temperature changes? I would think a lot of older saddles would have wooden trees and were wool flocked. People seem to prefer older saddles over newer ones, so I guess it shouldn't be a big worry ;)
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    01-05-2013, 11:39 PM
I have a Passier from 1976 and one from 1977. Both have been stored who-knows-how. Both have wooden trees. Both are as straight as can possibly be.

I've seen cheap saddles with wooden trees warp/twist. I've seen some be warped or twisted straight out of the box. Don't buy a cheap saddle.

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