Saturday, February 14, 2015

saddle shopping summary

I really want to thank you all so very very much for helping me through this process. This probably feels like the never-ending story - but it IS over now. Phew!


'finally' - isabel

Since I wrote about it extensively, tho, I'm tying the whole process up into one neat and tidy summary for my own future reference - and perhaps for anyone else looking for help.


But again - your insights and comments have been invaluable. Thank you!!


To find posts related to saddle shopping, click here. (be sure to check out the comment threads too for insights from other bloggers)


Resources

-General Info
Beval Saddle Fitting Guide
Google is your friend - google literally every single thing. Forums discussing that exact thing abound!! 

-Sales Sites

All the Best Used Saddles
CWD Sellier
eBay (I only considered options where a trial was available. also good for price comparisons)
Equine Now
Farmhouse Tack
Fine Used Saddles
I Sell Tack
MD Saddlery Butler**
MD Saddlery Crofton
MD Saddlery Hockessin
MD Tack Exchange
Middleburg Tack**
Pelham Saddlery** (ultimately purchased from this shop)
Redwood Tack
Rick's Heritage Saddle Source
The Horse of Course
VTO Saddlery**
Your Saddles

**denotes shops where I spoke with a representative. Without exception, everyone I spoke to was incredibly helpful and friendly - and I would recommend these businesses.


Expenses


This is some real talk here. Because this is essentially a very important piece of equipment and there are a few auxiliary costs along the way to finding the perfect fit. 


To start, my planned budget maxed out around $1,800. That's a lot of $$$. But I *hoped* to spend about half that (and my saddle fitter seemed confident that I would find something nice in the $800-$1,200 range). I looked exclusively at used saddles.




That brings me to the fitter, who gave us a free consultation with some trial saddles we picked up. The expectation was that we'd bring her back for a true fitting/reflocking once we found our saddles - for a cost of $150. This amount was therefore included in all further calculations.


Trial Saddles


My criteria was: 17" seat, narrow tree, wool flocked, and minimal gusseting. True narrow trees seemed surprisingly elusive, and many saddle makers (including most french companies... le sigh) were excluded right off the bat bc they don't use wool flocking. 


#1 - Bates Caprilli
Shipping/Trial Cost: Free from a local consignment shop
Sticker Price: $905 (negotiable)
Auxiliary Costs
-$150 reflock (included for all trial saddles - but definitely needed for this one)
-$75-$150 for front/rear blocks
-many hours dedicated to the improvement of this long-neglected saddle's leather
Likes:
-adjustable gullet
-fit on horse (expected to improve after reflock)
-improvement in rider position
Dislikes:
-saddle condition
-wasn't very inspiring to sit in

#2 - Stubben Edelweiss CS
Shipping/Trial Cost: $25 flat rate + $15 return (using a friend's Fed Ex business account)
Sticker Price: $700 (negotiable)
Auxiliary Costs
-$150 reflock (included for all trial saddles)
Likes:
-leather quality - which promised to only improve with care
-comfortable
-saddle was in excellent condition
Dislikes:
-didn't fit Isabel; there was movement over fences
-billet straps were sooooo short
-the saddle geometry was reminiscent of the wintec that doesn't do my eq any favors

 #3 - Bates Caprilli (the winner)
Shipping/Trial Cost: $49.95 flat rate 
Sticker Price: $795
Auxiliary Costs
-$150 reflock x2 bc the newly converted wool flocked panels will need follow-up attention
-$40-45 for left side head nail replacement (optional but likely to happen)
Likes:
-adjustable gullet
-OMG so comfortable - angels sing when I sit in this saddle
-I feel incredibly secure over fences 
Dislikes:
-N/A :)
-(if we're nitpicking - the saddle length is pushing the acceptable boundaries for Izzy's back)


So there ya have it. My saddle shopping experience! It was kind of fun in some respects - and is SUPER exciting to have found something I love... but I'll also be ok if I don't have to repeat the process for a while :)

26 comments:

  1. Totally understand the thrill yet lack of desire to repeat ;-)
    I am so delighted you found one that is heaven to sit in. Onwards to moar adventures ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yay thanks! i'm pretty delighted too :) hopefully this one should last me a while too :) (tho isabel may or may not have dumped it onto a gravel road today... grr naughty mare!)

      Delete
    2. Ruh roh!
      My first time cleaning my new saddle (back when it was new in 2011) i scratched it with my claws. No one to blame but myself - talk about decreasing value lolz, lucky I haven't wanted to sell it ;-)

      Delete
    3. lol what a bummer!! i'm hoping these new scratches will just buff out... but yea, definitely not a fun thing to do with a new saddle!

      Delete
  2. I love the break-down you made of everything - thank you!! I'm glad you two have found a useable saddle at a pretty decent price-point!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! the price point definitely made me happy - esp given how well this saddle works for both of us. if i ever do decide to go crazy on saddle shopping, it'll have to wait until i have a horse of my own lol

      Delete
  3. Love the list of sale sites! Thanks for that

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh great!! many of them were recommendations gleaned from comments or other blogs, and it's by no means comprehensive... but at least it's a starting point!

      Delete
  4. That went smoother than it could have all in all. Good break down. I still dread when I have to get my new used saddle next tho... Iz is happy, you're happy, hurray!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yea... looking back on it, everything seems fairly painless (esp considering the perfect outcome!)... but i'm in no rush to do it again! hopefully your process (whenever you begin) will be equally smooth!

      Delete
  5. Great to know some good used saddles can be had for a reasonable price!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that's what i thought too!! i kept on thinking that 'if i just upped my budget, something will pop up' - but i literally considered every single narrow 17" wool flocked saddle i could find and these three were the best of that bunch

      Delete
  6. I'm really surprised you found the stubben comfortable - I have yet to sit in one that I like! It's a great idea to keep track of your saddle fitting notes. You had a happy ending for sure :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i heard that stubbens really inspire a love/hate reaction from most riders. i actually liked it - except it tipped me forward a bit... but i didn't love it enough to invest in adjusting it for isabel!!

      Delete
  7. So happy your saddle journey was quick and semi-painless!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great recap... so happy you found a saddle you love!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! i'm certainly happy to have the saddle now too :)

      Delete
  9. Excellent summary! Congrats again on finding "the one" AND staying under budget!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks - i'm pretty pleased with how it turned out budget-wise too... as there honestly wasn't really much at the higher end of the scale that met my criteria!

      Delete
  10. Fantastic and thorough post! Glad you found the keeper saddle :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! i'm glad too - it's everything i hoped for :)

      Delete
  11. ...and they lived happily ever after!

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is a great recap! And I felt the same way about saddle shopping, happy when it was over and praying I didn't have to repeat the process anytime soon, lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha seriously!!! i'm hoping that by choosing an adjustable saddle that works on a short-backed horse, that it'll work for me for a long while on a wide variety of horses :)

      Delete