As many of you know, I'm in the search for my TWH gelding a saddle that fits him properly.
I've been doing a little research, and the only saddles I can find in my price range that seem to be good quality are the Dakota brand saddles.
Are they really good quality saddles? My price range is below $1000, preferable not any higher than $800... Dakota offers some nice looking saddles for anywhere between $400 and $1000... but are they really great?
Also, does anyone know much about the Circle M brand? I have a Circle M saddle that is my mares, and I love it to death and it was very inexpensive (only $375), but I honestly don't know how good a brand it is, and I'd like to hear from actual other people who have used Circle M, what yall thought. I think Circle M saddles are mad by Valley Head Saddlery or something like that... I'm asking because I would like to go with another Circle M saddle if they are good quality saddles.
From what I read Dakota's are quite nice saddles. However I'm not sure how they fit TWH.
I'm very unsure about Circle M though. All those "Circles" (except Circle Y) seem to be a cheapy-made ones.
Yeah, that's my main concern is the saddle-fit. My gelding is 15-3 hands tall and is built a lot like the older style Walkers... stocky and round. I'm really planning on studying and learning how to properly fit a saddle before I buy him one.
I have a Dakota that I got in 1997 and I still have it and it is a great saddle.
However. I saw some Dakota saddles at the tack store recently that I was ashamed of.
Don't buy it sight unseen. But yes, the older ones are really nice and it fits my extra wide QH according to the saddle fitter.
^^ Actually there is nothing wrong to buy unseen, BUT if there is a return policy/agreement (or the price is so good that you'll have no problem selling it if it doesn't fit). I did order on-line before, and unfortunately had to return (as the fit was quite bad).
You're right about the return policy and there is always a possibility of the saddle not fitting. Just the leather on the new Dakota's was so cheap that I saw. If I would have bought that, I would have been mad to have to pay shipping to send it back. Maybe it was just their "economy" line of saddles and the others are still made to the same standards as mine, that's the only reason I would want to see at least a demo before purchasing.
Seems like leather is just getting cheaper and cheaper.
I will be holding onto my 15 year old Dakota forever. It is my only western saddle and it is still in beautiful condition.
Oh don't worry... I don't care how far I have to go to look at a saddle (as long as I have gas in the car), I don't want to buy a saddle without first putting it on my gelding to see if it fits. If I can't put it on him, then I at least want to be positive of his measurements.
If I have to buy one online, then I will definately make sure there is a return policy in case it doesn't fit... but i'm hoping to find a good saddle somewhere nearby at our tack stores...
I have a Dakota barrel saddle. Love it
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The Circle M saddles are good saddles. Mine is fantastic, as you know. ;) They're made by a small compnay in Ider, AL. and all are hand made. The trees are fiberglass covered wood, and are strong and durable. I'm planning on getting a Tennessean saddle from the National Bridle Shop in TN. for mine. They're made for gaited breeds, but what I've seen and heard is they fit just aboout any horse pretty well.
For the money, Dakota Saddles are pretty good. You can semi-custom them as well. Pretwisted stirrups, leather color, pre-oiled parts, etc etc.
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