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Saddle Shopping…Where to Begin??

I know…I have to figure out the Q3 results but that takes a lot of mental power to come up with a great prize and I haven’t done it yet. It will get done by the end of the week.

In the meantime, I need some help. H’Appy (you all can thank Amanda for this new name. I LOVE it and can’t wait to use it as his show name) needs a new saddle.  Thankfully Trainer has offered to have me try any of the saddles she has at her barn on him to get a good idea of what to look for and I plan to spend a day doing just that once he is cleared for riding again. I have no idea what all she has beyond a Thorowgood (fit Gemmie well when I tried it and is the reason I got one for her) which obviously I won’t try, but beyond that..no clue.

Doofus was very bored waiting for the farrier to make his custom…yes custom…shoes. Horse, I’ve never had custom anything in my life. I found it fascinating to watch him make a shoe from a bar of steel. 

Saddle shopping is a bit mind boggling to me at the moment. Many moons ago with Gem I was shopping for endurance saddles and tried every possible english saddle I could think of before giving up and going with my beloved Advantage endurance saddle which someone will have to pry out of my dead hands to get from me. That saddle, BTW, does not fit Doofus one bit. Of course not, right?

But anyway…I spent over a thousand dollars on trial fees and return shipping trying everything I could think of that might work for her. I really don’t want to go that route again. I mean, opening box after box of nice leather goods wasn’t terrible, but it was expensive and tiresome. Even going through a reputable dealer with tracings went haywire as they sent me very much the wrong size and I still had to pay return shipping fees.

He also didn’t appreciate the small of the hot shoe process. He had lots of opinions. So did my check book. 

With Doofus, I’m a little clueless as to what will work and what won’t. The T8 was fitted for him and looked really good…until it didn’t and the Big Orange Beast is extremely sore. I would not have guessed based on the way it looks to fit him that he would be this reactive and while I know endurance saddles inside and out and what I need/like, I am a little lost when it comes to jump saddles.

There are no independent fitters in my area. There are a lot of brand specific ones and while I’m not opposed to any single brand I also can’t afford to spend money on a fitter for every single brand to figure out what I like and need. Every time I try to search online I get stuck. Where do I even begin? I have a small budget and prefer used to new, I’m talking maybe $1500 max here, and I don’t mind waiting for a good deal but I need to know what deal I am even looking for and that is where I am stuck. I test rode one of the sales horses in a CWD and adored it, but yeah…not going to be affording one of those any time soon and to have the rep out to give me his specs to still not be able to afford it seems wasteful and sorta mean to myself. I don’t know. Someone better at shopping may be able to give me some tips here.

By the end of the 3 hour long farrier appointment, he was falling asleep in the cross ties. As was I. 

So…blogger friends who are always amazing…where do I begin? What saddle brands are typically pretty good for low level jumping on a wide horse? Anything to absolutely stay away from? Do I just pick something at random and try it or is there a website that I am not aware of that can help with these things? The used tack shop in Aiken allows you to bring the horse with and the owner is apparently pretty fit savvy, but there is no place to ride and really ends up depending on the current inventory which can be pretty hit or miss. The only wide they had was the Kieffer I brought home and the MW I also brought to try was way too narrow. That cost me $70 to ship back. Ugh.

My old BO is a Stubben dealer. She can come do a fitting, but I wasn’t very thrilled with the Stubbens I tried on Gem while I boarded there. I mean, it was Gem and she was a fitting nightmare but they all seemed so very expensive for what I was getting. They are easy to find used though, so maybe it is worth it?

Bell boots are really not enjoyable to get on. They kept sling shotting off his leg and flying across the barn aisle. I was giggling at myself the entire time. 

Basically what I am rambling on about is that I need a starting point. At least a rough idea of what to look for, where to go and where to begin this search beyond opening Smartpak and randomly ordering saddles because they offer free shipping. I know that each brand fits differently so having a fitter out for one brand may not give me very useful information to put towards a different brand…ie: Stubben measures in cm and others in Medium/Wide etc… Plus you know there is flap length and how forward it is and blah blah blah.

So….help?! How did you all begin your saddle search? Did you happen upon your saddle through your Trainer or a friend? Did you pay a fitter to come out? Was it helpful or did they only know one specific brand and it wasn’t applicable to others? I’m pretty fitter skeptical based on previous experiences that ended in saddles that very much did not fit in any way, shape, or form and fitters not standing behind their decisions and making it right, but maybe I’ve just had bum luck I don’t know. Where would you suggest I begin?

55 thoughts on “Saddle Shopping…Where to Begin??”

  1. Oh saddle shopping. Been there, done that and am just about broke as f because of it.

    And nothing fit him. 😰

    In fact, they were all too wide. Mitch really is a contradiction. He needs shoulder room, not gullet width.

    Luckily, you don’t sound like you’ll be in the same predicament if you have a trainer with saddles to borrow.

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  2. Oooof saddle shopping. It took me 6 months to find my jump saddle, and I ended up just buying my Dressage saddle in Jump form. I don’t even want to know how much I spent on trial and error costs.

    I ended up getting a Stubben rep out and rode in a bunch of saddles. Then, I ended up finding the saddle they quoted me (something like $5,500) used for like $1,000 – Shipped. SOLD.

    Full recap here (which may be helpful): https://mayaswellevent.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/the-unicorn-saddle-search-recap/

    Overall, do tracings of your horse and then ask people to send you pics of the FRONT of the saddle. Looking straight at it. You will quickly be able to determine if it looks narrower than you need. I eliminated a lot of choices that way.

    Happy to take a look at pics of his back and tracings and give you my (completely unprofessional) opinion.

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  3. This post is seriously outdated but it essentially summarizes my first shopping experience, including linking to informative sites and retailers I found helpful.

    https://fraidycateventing.blogspot.com/2015/02/saddle-shopping-summary.html

    The Dover near us sometimes employs a fitter who does tracings, and alternatively you can find YouTube how to videos for tracings. Might at least be a starting point. Some ppl take cut outs of their tracings to tack stores or will email copies (must include a scale in the image for sizing!) to willing retailers or consignment shops.

    Personally I don’t love the saddle fitting industry and think some fitters just do better with some types of horses than others. But I have appreciated getting pro input. My trainer has also helped with that.

    FWIW tho your budget is not prohibitively small. $1500 is plenty sufficient to find a high quality well fitting used jump saddle (new is a different story but personally I think you get more bang for your buck used plus it is easier to sell it for what you paid if need be, vs a new saddle that immediately devalues upon purchase). Wishing you luck in the search!

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      1. i am OBSESSED with it. i’ve tried to replace it so many times. so so so many times. but i just can’t quit it. it was never the best for izzy, honestly. but i adore it. it works a lot better for charlie, esp bc it has been converted to wool and therefore can be flocked to fit. not sure i would recommend the CAIR panels personally bc they’re less adjustable, but many tack makers can convert the panels to wool relatively easily (i think for something like $200-$300, but not sure about that).

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  4. I was at square one with Amber, with her being so wide and me never having bought an english saddle before. I have Prestige dressage and jump saddles for Amber – you can find good ones used for a good price (my dressage saddle was only $950 including shipping and it amazingly fit Amber like a dream) but truth be told I did have a fitter out to trace her back. I did that though because Amber is wider than wide (you know your horse is a tank when even the majority of western saddles are too narrow for her shoulders/back) and I had no clue where else to start for that so I figured I’d get a fitter out. Honestly tho $1500 is definitely not a limiting budget – you can really find some lovely used saddles for that price. Good luck in the search!

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      1. They’re very comfortable, and actually can be adjusted 2 cm each direction – if you have a 34cm (their size wide), it can be adjusted up to a 36cm or down to 32 cm to fit a wide variety of horses. One of the biggest reasons I got one was for that adjustability alone should Amber’s musculature change.

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      2. Also I’m not sure if I’ll be much help but please feel free to email me! I can take as many pics of Amber’s back and both my saddles as you’d like to give you an idea! I know with so many options out there it’s so hard to filter through them!

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  5. No one enjoys saddle shopping. Which is weird because SADDLES. But I totally get it and hate it so much that I refuse to even think about getting June a nice dressage saddle until we’re going, like, Novice. So, I love Stubben because they last and are well made. They’re beyond being trendy and are a nice, sturdy saddle. I also really like Kieffers. Talk about lasting. Maybe I am biased, but the Germans make nice saddles. And you can find older models that definitely will fit in your price range. Not sure how they will fit your horse though 🙂

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    1. I actually really love the Kieffer I snagged for $200 but it is too small for me long term and I’m very iffy in the spine clearance towards the rear of the saddle which coincides with where he hurts from the T8. That’s a lot of votes for Stubben though and I know the fitter as a friend so maybe I need to have her out

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  6. Ugh saddle shopping.
    I’d like to toss in a recommendation for a used County saddle. They’re really amazing quality and the wool flocked panels mean you can have them re-fitted over time as his back changes. (I mean, that’s true of any wool flocked saddle.) County saddles can last forever and hold their value well.

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      1. I was going to suggest County, too. I know all reps are different, but mine has been fantastic. It was $75 for her to come out and pull out every single saddle she had with her in all different tree and seat sizes until we both found one that worked. The $75 then went towards the purchase of my (demo) saddle. There was no pressure to buy anything though. I was at the same point you are where I was so sick of buying something and not having it work, then having to either pay for return shipping or try to resell it. Having a rep come out with a thousand demos was well worth the money.

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  7. Cob Jockey posted quite a bit before on her saddle searches and I believe used a really good remote fitter to find a saddle. I’m sure she would share the name.
    Personally I read and watched a ton of videos on saddle fit and that got me most of the way before my horse told me the rest. Definitely trial and error involved in that. I did have an independent fitter out once who was helpful despite working mostly with dressage saddles before. She knew I wouldn’t be buying a saddle from her.
    Personally I think your budget should be totally fine. Not a super fancy French saddle most likely but plenty of good quality saddles out there in that range.
    I have some friends with wider built horses who have HDR and Toulouse saddles but that’s the limit of my knowledge there – went from narrow with a long high wither to a fairly average build horse.
    Lastly, Smartpak does free shipping both ways to try saddles if that helps you.

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    1. I tried Toulouse on Gem years ago and they did not fit me at all. Which was a shame because I really liked the leather and it fit Gem ok. I guess I was hoping for some miracle saddle advice to avoid the same process as before but nope! Seems like the only way is trial and error

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  8. At your range nice french saddles with some more wear are out there. My trainer has found 2 older Butet for around $1000. I love the older Butet, they arent the fluffiest but worked well on lots of horses and always worked well for me jumping. Devocoux used run about that. I would…sigh will have to in near future…sell my CWD for prob $1500, maybe a tough more if lucky. My CWD is super lush in the seat but too wide for Fin pony. I had really hoped it would fit. I had a $40] used saddle that was plenty comfy just didnt work on last horse as she was downhill. Maybe get one fitter to at least come do tracings and let you try stuff. Also try trainers. I learned i really dont care for the Antares, at least didnt on my mare. Fingers crossed you find a good one.

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  9. Love the name H’appy!

    I’m not sure if it is an option for you where you are located, but what has worked fantastically for me, are independent USED saddle sellers that will come out to you with anything and everything that might work. We have 2 women in my area that do a brisk business in re-selling USED (mostly high-end French) saddles. It allowed me to fit and sit in and ride a wide range of saddles. It was a great experience.

    I have heard not great things about the newer Stubbens, so something to keep in mind. Absolutely everyone across disciplines RAVES about the Counties. And also Black Country is a nice, somewhat affordable option.

    I know many people think every horse needs a wool-flocked saddle custom fitted to it, or it will die. But that hasn’t been my experience. In fact, just the opposite. I have had better luck with used French foam saddles with a generous, even gullet and panels that allow for freedom of the shoulder (aka “Pro panels”). Best of luck. Saddle shopping sounds like one of those things that should be fun, but in reality suck big time.

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  10. A lot of the fancy custom saddle reps take a lot of ‘other’ saddles on consignment as trade in’s for partial payment on a new fancy saddle. Just find one of those dealers CWD, et al with the most ‘other’ saddles on hand and have them out. My next suggestion was going to be Stubben but then you poopoo’d it later on haha but it might be worth a second look especially since this is a completely different horse. I know one of the Stubben reps in SoCal and suggested Alex have her out because she totally gets that budgets are tight, she charged a small fee, told Alex the specs and then also kept an eye out for saddles that would fit Alex’s needs. Win, Win, Win.

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    1. I may try Stubben again. I wasn’t wowed and at the price point (new anyway) I felt there were better options. Used is another story though and since I know the person it is probably worth having her out. She is expensive though

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  11. I hate saddle shopping with a passion that cannot be described. I was going to suggest maybe contacting my saddle fitter person. I know that she’s in Canada but she might be able to help you remotely (http://www.callansaddlery.com/) or she might know of someone in your area. My other advice is to borrow anyone’s saddle who is willing to try it on him (love H’Appy!!!) to see if it’s workable. That will give you somewhere to go. Involve your instructor- she probably has some connections. And last piece of advice is to explore ones with changeable gullets. It makes life so much easier.

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    1. I was very bummed my T8 didn’t work as it has a changeable gullet. The issue is the panel though and changing the gullet won’t do anything for that. Saddle shopping does suck and it really should be fun and exciting.

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  12. Ditto to all above

    Also, I would watch Schleese’s saddle fit videos here so you can do a better job of analyzing fit when you do get your hands on a saddle. I don’t buy into a lot of Schleese’s koolaid but they do make good useful saddle fitting videos that can be used to assess any brand.
    https://schleese.com/fit-tips-english-saddles/

    FYI, I have a newer Stubben that I bought used for half the price of new and I love it. Different brands seem to have different typical curves to the tree (changing width doesn’t adjust the curve) and Stubbens seem like a good option for a horse with a curvier back which is why that’s what I ended up with.

    Finally, make sure the saddle fits you as well as your horse! https://autonomousdressage.blogspot.com/2016/08/2-psas-and-1-unicorn.html

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  13. I LOVE my Custom saddle and you can find really nice used ones. My mares are wide and it fits them beautifully. I’ve had it 10yrs and once friends ride in it they beg me to sell it to them but they’d have to pry it from my cold dead fingers. But ride in as many saddles as possible. Borrow from trainers and friends and see what style you feel the best in and go from there. Love H’Appy!!!

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  14. I used a saddle fitter that comes to this area 2x a year to get a saddle for Chimi. He’s not brand specific but does tend to carry cheaper saddles ($1,500-$3,000 not $5,000) My saddle is a Smith Worthington and I’ve been really happy with it and I think it was around $1200 new? But I don’t think they make my saddle anymore… He’s not cheap but I’ve been very happy with his work over the years and he fit a saddle to my giant shoulder Paint and he seems to be comfortable in it. I can let you know when he’s coming, should be sometime this month or next if you’re interested!

    The Farm House does sell used saddles and you might find something there? Though I don’t know if they would let you try it before buying it… so that might be a no.

    There are a few other saddle fitters that come to this area that aren’t brand specific though I don’t have as much experience with them and if they will help you buy a saddle or if they just help fir yours to your horse (if that makes sense)

    Good luck and love the H’Appy name!!!! And as always if I can help you out in any way possible just let me know!!!!

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    1. Please let me know when he is coming! The hardest part with all this is that I work full time and finding any horse service that is open after work or weekends is impossible. How do people afford horses if they don’t work? If I can though I’d love to schedule a time to have him look at H’Appy.

      I will also take you up on your offer to try out your saddle once he is rideable again.

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  15. I am going to second, third, fourth, whatever haha looking into a used Stubben or County. I have owned both and love them. Right now I have Stubbens for both jump and dressage saddles because they work for both Ellie and for me. You can find great deals on used and demo saddles. I found her dressage saddle for $900 shipped on the Stubben site and it was listed as a demo but is pretty much brand new. It can be helpful to make a cardboard cut outs of his withers/back after you do the tracings so you can bring it to tack stores to have a cursory idea if it will work.

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    1. i vote for Stubben too. I swear to god I would leave my husband for my Sttubben (KIDDING MAYBE LOL)….its worth trying. they are so comfy with the biomex. And you can def get a nice used one or demo for under 2k easily shit I only paid 2500 or so for mine which is like 4-5k NEW! WTF. 🙂 But stay away from French etc they don’t fit our wide beasts ask me how I know (sob)….good luck and get him measured first for regular saddles and then for the stubbens. LIke i told you Remus is a 29 in Stubben which is a medium narrow (WHAT??) they are that different! 🙂 HAVE FUN (IT Can be fun….esp when you have us all around to help you out!)

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  16. Do you have mobile saddle fitters over there?

    There are fitters here who load up a truck with a bunch of different saddles, come out and look at your horse then recommend a few different ones. You have a test ride and decide which one you like.

    At the very least you can get a fitter to come out and have a look at the horse’s back and tell you what kind of saddle you need (curved tree, flat tree, wide channel etc.) and what brands fit your needs.

    It saves the hassle of trying saddles out willy nilly 🙂

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  17. I’m not really a good example of a successful saddle shopper as I ended up getting a custom saddle after trying all the things (independent local fitter, online fitter, various trials I had to pay to ship each way, bring home 6 saddles at a time from the used saddle store an hour away). I should have just gone with the custom saddle to start. One option you might want to try is an M. Toulouse with the genesis tree. They are adjustable with a hex screwdriver and can be more specifically adjusted as opposed to the wintec/bates types that just take different gullets. I had a jumping one that worked fine for both Nilla and Levi who have different backs. It didn’t end up being the right shape for me, though we still have it as a backup saddle. We also have a genesis tree dressage saddle and it also fit Levi (though not me).

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    1. That is what I did with Gem and I am hoping to avoid all that wasted time and money. I can’t really ride the big guy in a bad saddle so I need one sorta quickly. I’m too big of a wimp and dont trust him enough yet to ride bareback.

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  18. Your budget is more than reasonable. And I’m also *super* anti-trendy (there are Reasons why I own a custom Spanish saddle) so I’m going to tell you about other saddle brands that you may not have heard of.

    I worked at a tack shop whose owner was a saddle fitter, and later had a different tack shop saddle fitter fit my horses once I got back into owning them…both were adamant that Stubbens were back breakers for horses. Not sure about the newer models, but they were both tremendously anti-Stubben. (The tack shops were not affiliated: each was family owned and on opposite coasts of Florida.) Personally, I hated every older-model Stubben I ever rode in: they are like sitting on a brick. So freaking hard I’d end up with bruised seat bones (I’m not exactly flat in that department either). The understanding is that they were equally unforgiving to the horse.

    I’m seconding Smith Worthington. They are not well-known because they are a small mom & pop saddlery in Connecticut that has been making their own line of tack for two centuries. https://www.smithworthington.com/ The tack shop I worked at sold their goods and OMG it was some of the nicest leather to come into that store. Super reasonably priced too given the quality. They will make a full custom saddle for you for ~$2500 but you can find tons of their saddles used online for less than $1000. If you can find any to try out, I recommend them.

    I read through the comments and am surprised no one has recommended the Duett saddles. They are *specifically* made for wide, hard-to-fit horses, and they are around your budget for new saddles. Stacey over at The Jumping Percheron (she was eventing at Training Level with her full-blooded Perchhttp://jumpingpercheron.blogspot.com/ ) had a set for Klein (both dressage and jump saddles). Their website: https://www.duettsaddles.com/

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    1. true the old stubbens i despised I used to run up the lane to the barn for my lessons just so i was not the last one there and hence have to use the old school stubben we had. it was like a two by four to sit on LOL.

      I think the newer ones are nice! But of course that is what i have 😉

      I did try the Kent and Masters (also built for larger ahem horses) on Remus and they fit him well but they were not comfy to me. Almost like i was sitting in a recliner (Comfy but not comfy if you know what i mean) I was going to try the Duetts but then found out my horse didn’t need as wide a tree as i thought and i ended up with the Zaria Optimum. Saiph has some good pointers there! I would def try either of those brands if you can or see if anyone has one you can try! Good luck again 🙂

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    2. My trainer feels that way about Devacoux (spelling is probably off but close enough) regarding making horses really sore, so that brand is out (not that anyone mentioned them anyway). I do love the zaldi line and had been lusting after one for Gem. I may have to relook there. I had never heard of Smith Worthington, so that is on my list to research. I tried Duetts for Gem but they did not work at all and the rep I was working with in WI at the time was awful. Sent me the wrong size saddle after sending pics and tracings, admitted she sent the wrong size and still made me pay for everything which was expensive and a total waste. I found the saddle to be very heavy which isn’t as big of a deal when I ride for short periods versus endurance conditioning. May be worth looking into again.

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      1. Yup, I’ve heard the same thing about Devocoux making horses sore. Zaldi does make some nice jumping saddles if you can find them used here. Viva Iberica sells them new online but I’ve heard dicey things about their customer service when it comes to saddle sales to the US (ie sending the wrong sized saddle and not taking it back!).

        In the high-end saddle range, Amerigos are not super popular but are really, really nice saddles and you can find them used within your budget. I’ve ridden in them and loved them. My trainer in Tampa owned a couple for her horses and she had them fitted to them. They are wool-flocked so the flocking can be adjusted, and they are well-balanced for the rider. (Aka they don’t tip you forward. This was my biggest fight with jump saddles. I like to feel centered on the horse, not like I’m being tipped forward into the hunter perch against my will. It made it really hard to sit back on my approach to fences otherwise. Personal preference, but this was a dealbreaker for me: the horses I rode tended to be really forward to fences and if you’re already perched forward, it’s going to be really hard to sit back and collect the horse before the fence. Forward tilt also makes it harder to sit back and drive a more reluctant horse on the approach to the fence.)

        Henri de Rivel also carries some decent mid-range saddles and are easy to find. They are about the same quality as the Toulouse saddles. The tack shop used to carry their full line so I got to sit in most of their models. The Advantage models are made with lower quality leather and tend to be slick so I’d stay away from those. But their higher end ones are within your budget new, have sticky leather seats, and several are currently on sale across the internet: https://www.breeches.com/horse/saddles/close-contact.html
        Another plus: they have an interchangeable gullet system. Not a guarantee of fit, because sometimes an XX wide plate on an interchangeable gullet saddle still won’t fit a specific back shape.
        Con: Foam panels, which can make them harder to adjust to the horse over time if H’Appy’s shape changes with fitness.
        If you can find any of their older Rivella saddles though, they are AWESOME. Many came wool-flocked and were made with the softest, sticky leather that holds up well over time. I wanted one so badly when I worked at the store! I just didn’t own a horse for the saddle back then!

        My own jump saddle was a Dover Circuit Close Contact. Saved up my money working one summer and ordered it. It was the first saddle I bought myself. Had it for 20 years and it served me well while riding an insane variety of horses over fences. Fit most of them (it was a regular tree so worked for most TB types) and it was well-balanced to my preferences. Note: Dover is not kidding about the lifetime warranty on the trees: I got to test it. The front corner of the tree broke on mine (probably when I had it shipped from PR to FL) and I contacted Dover for funsies, not expecting them to honor the warranty since I didn’t have the sale info on the saddle anymore. I mean, I had bought it 15 years prior! They had me ship the saddle to them…and once they inspected it sent me a brand new one in return. It was such an easy, smooth process. I couldn’t believe it. It’s the one time that I was beyond thrilled with Dover’s customer service! The only reason why I don’t own that saddle anymore is because I traded it in for my first dressage saddle. Their Circuit saddles tend to be slick nowadays but the Dover Pro line are made with soft, grippy leather. These are also easy to find used online.

        You may have used them in the past for Gem’s saddle hunt, but just in case: Trumbull Mountain Tack Shop has a huge selection of used saddles and will often have Duetts in the mix. (Of course right now they don’t have a single Duett jump model! Arrrgh I checked. Here are the used saddles they do have: http://www.trumbullmtn.com/store/demo-and-used-saddles/used-jump-saddles/ ) Shipping to you would be $55, so not insane but that still adds up, especially if you have to ship it back. :/ http://www.trumbullmtn.com/saddle-trials/ *However*, they specialize in helping you find a saddle that fits your horse: one of the owners is a certified saddle fitter. They have tons of info on getting tracings and measurements of your horse to determine what size saddle H’Appy would need. There are some links here: http://www.trumbullmtn.com/saddle-fitting/ Look at this one 🙂 : http://www.trumbullmtn.com/saddle-fitting/the-wide-horse-challenge/ You can also just go to their “Saddle fitting” tab at the top of the page and find a ton more links on the subject there. I’ve only ever heard good things about this company; their name consistently comes up in endurance, dressage and jumping circles.

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  19. I think I am alone in always having had fairly straightforward saddle shopping experiences?

    1. tracings – all of them – every possible angle, measurement, everything, then cut out in stiff cardboard
    2. brought those tracings to the consignment store. worked with the fitter to pull ~15 saddles that looked like they might work
    3. sat in every single saddle. dithered between two. took them both home. rode in them for a week. bought one of them. still own it.
    4. we don’t really have single-brand saddle fitters up here? all of the fitters I’ve ever worked with will work on anything. so I get my saddles reflocked occasionally.

    If you have a local consignment shop then you might start stalking their listings. At the very least you can go and sit in a wide variety to get a sense of what might work for you. Then you can start getting a broad sense of what might work for him. It might take a few trips back and forth.

    Time is really the most valuable thing in saddle fitting. If you can take your time and wait for the right saddle and not get stressed you’re in good shape. If you need something right away things start to get tough.

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  20. I also own a County. My rep doesn’t charge to come out and do a fitting for a new customer either. She came out and brought basically every saddle County makes and we played for weeks. She ended up leaving me a demo to ride in for a week until I made up my mind – and then found me a demo saddle that was my exact specs for sale. So I got a saddle with 20ish rides for the cost of a used one. Love that it’s wool flocked too.

    I also love Devoucoux and Antares, but the french saddles just didn’t fit my guy right. I love them for me though.

    Jen (CobJockey) and I have both worked with Ann Forrest of Equestrian Imports – both remotely and in person and she is FANTASTIC. Independent fitter, walks you through tracings, photos, etc. I highly recommend her. She fits most everyone at my barn.

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  21. Love my county eventer. Wasnt too expensive new, have had it for 15 years on two different horses and it still looks new. It can be custom fit within its tree range and is uber comfortable on long trails, jumping, etc.

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  22. I definitely don’t envy your position of saddle shopping. It’s just a terrible thing to have to do. I looked at the saddles a couple boarders with wider horses use and one is an Albion and the other is a County.

    Hope you find something soon!

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  23. I’ll throw in another vote for a County saddle. I saved up my baby sitting money for a year when I was in 7th grade and bought one used. I’m now 27 and it still is in awesome shape and I love riding in it. I have a close contact with a deep cantle. Even if my mount takes a flying leap at something, I still feel very secure in it. Good luck on your search!

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  24. Oh my goodness! There are so many great comments here! I love my Stubbens. I have an older Kerry and a Scandica, and they both fit my mare and rode well. As her balance has changed, and she’s become a line backer, we had to switch to something wider than anything Stubben offers. I started with a Wintec WIDE, and was honestly pleased with it. I had it shipped in from Dover. They will let you return a saddle at any time after any time of use…didn’t know that, and I have not returned mine. But it makes the concept of extended trials nice. Tricia outgrew the Wintec WIDE and we are now on a Balance Horizon. They only make the Horizon in an all purpose, but for what we want to do, I can ride that saddle through all of our levels. Best of luck! Saddling makes all the difference. Tricia will now tell me if she feels the saddle or padding need to be adjusted before we ride. She will no longer tollerate a saddle that pinches!

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