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SailorGriz 05-11-2011 11:07 AM

Broke my Black Forest saddle. Off the trails for awhile. :-(
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Last Saturday on a trail cleanup ride Mr. Big spooked or shied or something when I was trying to mount. I was just in the process of getting ready to swing into the saddle when he bolted forward a short distance. I must have still had one foot on the ground since I don't recall that falling was an issue.

However, I must have been holding the pommel pretty tight as I got ready to launch into the air to mount. When Big bolted, the pommel came off in my hand. Well, not clear off, but it ripped the saddle covering that it was stitched to.

I ride, or was riding, a Black Forest treeless saddle that I've really enjoyed. It's comfortable for me and, more importantly, is comfortable for Mr. Big. It sits well, stays put (once I get it tight enough) and has never caused any sort of "hot spot" on Big's back.

And I had always thought that it was made fairly well. I've since learned differently!

Since there is no tree the pommel is simply sewn to the top saddle cover. I'd assumed it was sewn through the saddle for strength. Not so! the ends of the pommel cover are sewn into the top layer of saddle covering over a fairly large area and I've always been amazed at how sturdy the pommel felt.

Until I put some pressure on it. Not even a lot of pressure as I let go as soon as Big really started to move. But, alas, it was enough. The top covering of the saddle let go along the stitch lines and the pommel now hangs loose.

I bought the saddle last fall. When I contacted Black Forest Vic said it wasn't covered by warranty but that he'd talk to "the powers that be" (I suspect that's his wife and, maybe, lawyer) and get back to me today. Since he asked if anyone got hurt (after seeing the pix of the damage) I'm thinking he's checking with his lawyer to discover the extent of liability. No one got hurt, thank the Stars, but it doesn't bode well for me!

In the meantime, I'm looking for a new saddle. Can't afford something really expensive and I can't spend all summer looking for something that fits Big. I'm considering a Royal King with a auto-flex tree in the hopes that it'll fit his broad, arched back and high whithers. But I've not decided, yet.

Part of my problem is that I'm planning two, or maybe three, week long trips into the Wilderness Areas of Idaho this summer. Having a saddle break 3 miles from your rig is an inconvenience. Having a saddle break 3 days out can be a disaster. And I don't much trust Black Forest saddles after this little incident. And finding out that Black Forest doesn't trust them enough to stand behind them certainly doesn't help!

Sorry for the disertation.

QOS 05-11-2011 12:18 PM

Sailorgriz, thank God you weren't hurt. Wow...could have been ugly.

Would you be interested at all in Aussie Saddles? I have two that do not fit The Biscuit. They were for Dashing Big Red, my former gelding. Red is 15.3 hh and a good sized boy. One of the Aussies is a Down Under Wizzard Poley with a horn and is 18" and has all the bells and whistles (the woolie leg protectors, breast strap, suede stirrup pads) and the 19" is a Kimberly Stock saddle that doesn't have a horn and is a synthetic. They are both UBER comfortable and the only reason I didn't use them for Biscuit is they just don't fit!!!

Send me a PM if you are interested. Glad you weren't hurt and hopefully they will replace you saddle - seems like at the least they should repair!

Painted Horse 05-11-2011 12:50 PM

A good western saddle is hard to beat for packing and trail riding.
Check you local classified and see whats for sale in the area.
Here in Northern Utah. a local TV/Radio station has a website with classifeds. way better than Craigs list. Classifieds for Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming - I bought a couple extra saddles off here for $600 from a lady getting out of horses. They were almost new, hardly been used. I'll bet she hadn't ridden 15 times in either one. One was a Reinsman and the other was a Tucker. Both sell new for $1500 to $1700

My kids have grown up and I just needed more larger saddles.

Lots of folks getting out of horses because they can't afford them in todays ecconomy. They are often happy to take what they can get for their tack.

equus717 05-11-2011 12:53 PM

Yikes. I was considering getting a treeless western saddle but now am hesitating since seeing these pictures. I hope you find a good saddle to replace the one you had.

RoxanneElizabeth 05-11-2011 04:20 PM

I hope they are able to repair the saddle at a affordable price!

SailorGriz 05-11-2011 07:17 PM

Well, well. Black Forest saddles says that when the pommel rips off of one of their saddles they won't cover it under warranty. Makes me wonder what they DO cover, but that's a different story.

They do, however, have a "goodwill" policy that works like this: they determine what shipping and repairs would cost and subtract that from the cost of a new saddle--then credit you the difference to apply toward the saddle of your choice.

In my case the credit came to $269 against a $429 saddle that nuked. I can apply the $269 against any saddle they sell. If I get a direct replacement, I basically get a new saddle for the price of getting the old one repaired. Guess they don' t want to mess around with fixing busted saddles.

I guess it's not too bad considering they could have left me out in the cold. But I'm still not sure I trust their saddles--and where I plan to ride, I gotta trust my saddle!

SailorGriz 05-12-2011 01:33 PM

Saturday we take Mr. Big up to Spokane to fit saddles. I've lined up a saddle/tack shop where we'll meet with the owner and see what she has and I'm working on lining up a couple of private parties via TackTrader.

The Grand Plan is to come home with a saddle and give it a good ride on Sunday or Monday to see if it'll really do the job.

We decided we just don't trust Black Forest. If the owners won't stand 100%BEHIND their saddles I won't stand IN their saddles! Nor buy another one nor sit in 'em, neither!

QOS, thanks for the info on your saddles. I think they're too big for me and I really need to try saddles on Big to make sure they fit well enought.

QOS 05-12-2011 04:42 PM

Your welcome Sailor - but just to let you know, Aussie saddles are sized like English. The 18" is like a 16" Western and the 19 like a 17. It is always best to try them on if possible.

I will tell you I had Biscuit's new saddle custom made from Alleghany Saddles in New York. They sent out saddle fitting forms that I tried on The Biscuit and took tons of pictures with him with the forms from different angles. The result was a perfect fitting saddle that cost me around $1100. The leather is wonderful and that was with the upgraded seat. They were also very nice to work with. Takes a while to get a saddle but I love the looks, feel and fit of it.

Good luck on finding a good saddle - you have to trust that it will take you out and back again safely.

Nokota 05-12-2011 09:37 PM

sorry to hear about the broken saddle. I'm with painted, a good western saddle can really stand the test of time, Good luck finding another, I hope you get exactly what you want.

SailorGriz 05-12-2011 09:59 PM

thanks Nokota. There's a half dozen, or so, used ones up in the Spokane area. We'll take Big and go for an excursion on Saturday. Hopefully, one of them will work. As a last resort the tack shop in Spokane Valley has some new ones I could also look at. But I don't want to spend that much!

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