Schleese saddles - opinions?
So we had a Schleese certified saddle fitter come out to our barn the other day. She did evaluations for several horses, including my new guy. I have been using a Wintec on him for the past couple months, but my coach recommended I upgrade since he's supposed to be a long-term horse and because even with the exchangeable gullet system, the saddle wasn't fitting him properly.
My gelding apparently has a hard to fit back, almost identical to my one friend's. We were both hoping to get a used saddle, but the fitter told us that even if she adjusted a used saddle to fit them, by the time it was all said and done it would be only a few hundred less than getting one of the Schleese new semi-custom saddles and would definitely not last them nearly as long. My gelding has a long shoulder blade and large shoulder muscle and broad wither muscle. His back shape is barrel-type and he takes a wide gullet. I was looking for a general purpose (geared more towards dressage than jumping) saddle. They have a model called the Hunter-Pleasure that is at the bottom of their price list, but still a whooping $3695. I tried it out and it was - without a doubt - amazing. I finally felt balanced and secure, which I wasn't getting at all with my Wintec, so much in fact that today my legs kill because I was using the muscles I hadn't been in my other saddle. Boomer was amazing - he was forward and springy, he really dropped into the contact, when usually he is more stiff and restricted - and takes a lot of motivation to go. He seemed a lot happier.
I don't know what to do. The Schleese new semi-custom will be expensive, but it will also be a 'forever' saddle because they are so adjustable, which is what I need for Boomer because he's still only a baby (3) and he will change a lot over the next few years. However, I'm also afraid that because she was a Schleese saddle fitter, she might be pushing that brand when other suitable options might be available for less cost. She did indicate that you only have to put $2000 down on the saddle, and then you can pay off the rest on a plan, but the saddle itself won't be shipped to you until you have paid the full price. They will hold it until then. The saddle itself will take 12-14 weeks to make anyways, so I would have ample time to gather some more funds and the rest I can put on my student line of credit, since I am finishing up this year and I hardly have anything on it.
I will spend more if it means making Boomer comfortable, but I don't want to do it unnecessarily. *sigh* Opinions and/or suggestions?
Well...they are really nice saddles. Among custom english saddles, they are high-range, pricewise. You might try Albion; they also do custom fitting and are a tad cheaper, but I don't know how their service compares to Schleese.
But if he goes so well in it, I would seriously consider the Schleese.
ed. Oh, Custom Saddlery also makes a mean hunk of leather...might check them out as well. They will also send you a free fitting kit to measure your horse. And I found this not-so-glowing review of a Schleese saddle.. http://www.horsetackreview.com/review-display/6894.html
I'm quite surprised by that review. Everyone else I've spoken to or any other reviews I've seen on the Internet rave about it. I wasn't trying out that model of saddle anyways that the review was talking about, but interesting nevertheless.
Thanks for your input. :) Saddle fitting is such a hard, frustrating venture.
Yeah, I was very surprised too; that's one of the only negative reviews I've found about one of their saddles.
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