Amerigo saddles, experiences?

Welll the saddle saga continues. This will be the 6th saddle in 4 years. Never mind others I’ve tried but not kept/bought.

A lot can change from age 5 to 9 but most of it has been incompetence by “saddle fitters”

I waited almost 8 months for a custom saddle that arrived and didn’t even remotely fit. Even with adjustments. Company gave me another one from their stock which seemed a bit better, but now horse is sore so…nope! This was after a fitter looked at it again in the last weeks. Physio and different fitter both agreed recent minor performance issues are from the saddle.

This led me to an Amerigo saddle that seems to be best for the horse. Usually Italian brands (Equipe, Erreplus, Prestige) do not work because the panels are too slim and the saddle sits low in the back (tall, long, and broad withers). Which makes me cry inside because I love Prestige saddles. The Amerigo didn’t have this issue.

So those of you who have had them, how did you get along with them? The quality, the wear, etc. What type of horse was it on, and what did you notice.

I’ve never owned one nor have I ridden in one prior. Seems the philosophy behind them is decent. The cost is, well, high-ish. Although I sort of want the plain cowskin leather because I hate sticky or grippy stuff.

Hoping this can be our final saddle :woman_facepalming:

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I had one years ago. I loved it for me, the forward balance made it easy to sit a big stride, my legs naturally fell into the correct position. That said the horse I bought it for hated it as did another horse I tried it on so I sold it (with regret). That is not to say that would be your experience. See if you can get a decent (i.e. long) trial for one and ride it. Equestrian Imports is very nice to work with, they carry Amerigo.

Remind us which 6 saddles you have tried? I’m hearing a fair bit of discussion about the versatility of the Bates Artiste and how it seems to fit Iberian builds quite well. I have an Iberian too and am also wondering if my saddle is contributing to some performance issues.

Had a discussion with my saddle fitter about Amerigo a couple of days ago and she said the trees were somewhat flatter than their sister Equipes and she had me sit in one. It wasn’t super comfortable for me but the quality is good. I’m not sure it jumps out at me as being particularly good for a generous wither though.

At this point I will never consider a made-to-order saddle ever again. Too many things can and do go wrong. I’d rather pay all the postage in the world to just keep trying existing saddles. Lord knows there are plenty of them out there.

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First he had a Schumacher, then Prestige Lucky, Fairfax Gareth, Albion Fabrento, Sommer Esprit Athens, Sommer/Iberosattel Amazona Dressage Comfort 2000. Tried a Niedersüß, Equipe, Kentaur, Hennig (most channels are too narrow and our area rep is terrible), Prestige Venus K, Prestige Helen, Sankey, Black Country Vinici, Erreplus, Passier, and Stübben. Multiple models of each brand usually. Some I literally cannot sit in due to the twist being so wide.

I did call the local-ish County rep. No word yet.

With Amerigo they have different trees and styles (as many brands do) and the specific Cortina the fitter had worked for a prominent and long withers. I was surprised at the room it had since I thought it wouldn’t have enough (like the Equipe). So there are a few options in that brand, not all of their trees would be so flat.

I’ve thought about a Bates a few times, just would have to get one flocked and have no way of trying without buying.

The thing with Iberians is that they’re not all the same. Mine has a prominent and long withers with a short broad back. Others have a more propane tank build (would need a hoop tree). Some are in the middle or actually have length to their back.

I noticed my horse not bending as well lately and we were sort of losing the half pass to the right. The quality, anyway. He was a bit hesitant or croup high in the flying changes, and would sometimes feel stiff, which is very unlike him (he’s like buttah).

Partially convinced it was my mediocre riding (but I trained this horse so it’d be weird to undo my own training and make things worse) my trainer said, hold up, let’s see what the physio says. He had pain where the stirrup bars are/base of the withers, and muscles in his lower lower back were uneven. But how could it be, 2 fitters just looked at this eye roll but I had my suspicions even before the physio confirmed (she works with my vet and both are good- I trust her assessment).

So here we are missing more competitions when we already missed out all of last year (thanks Covid).

I’m in Germany (counting down the days until I’m outta here!) So US shop recommendations are fairly useless. It’s been a shitshow of incompetence and money wasted. I will never order made to measure again. There are so many saddles out there, hard to believe there would be one for my horse and I already in existence.

I did chuckle a bit, ordering an Amerigo would take a few months, would be here in Sept/October, since Italy closes in August. Meanwhile most German manufacturers are quoting 1 year wait time. You know you’ve got problems when the Italians are doing it faster :rofl: jokes aside, I wouldn’t order anyway.

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Just a thought, as you are looking at a saddle for an Iberian, but have you considered Zaldi? Spanish company should do Spanish-shaped horses well.

What a saga! I do get that it’s super hard. You’d think with all the horses over there you’d have consignment shops or a robust used market. My Iberian is shaped somewhat like yours is- a definite wither that has some length to it.

Have you tried Kieffer? Tons of wither room (height & length), wide channel, compact panels for a shorter back, flatter tree. I’m trying a Kieffer Orphee this week. The Bates discussion I had was because some Iberian farms near me are using them nearly exclusively. I personally am suspicious of the CAIR panel but apparently they have improved over time. I will be trying one next week. I also threw one of those strange Devoucoux Makila Harmonies on him. It has very good wither clearance. The used one I tried was too narrow for him but the tree shape was a decent match and the panels very short.

I hear you on thinking it’s one’s own riding. We are programmed to think that and in most cases it is correct. But sometimes, as we are finding, it is discomfort that makes them not be able to do their best. For these horses with such work ethics, I truly think it’s frustrating for them.

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I don’t think even the Spanish would buy a Zaldi nowadays :sweat_smile:

No reps here. Could buy one used, but most I have looked at have been too long for his back or curvy. I also need a but of a flat spot in my seat, so have to not get a deep/bowl shaped sear. Would have to scan the market again though.

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I am intrigued by the Artiste and have seen some flocked Innova’s for sale (used). It’s not so difficult to have the panels changed over to flocking, just an investment. Would be still interested to try one.

I’ve looked at Kieffer and still think about them. Definitely an option as well. A lot of reasonably priced used ones out there. Was just skimming through some last night.

There are used saddles but prices are still a bit high and no one really offers trials. No Saddle Bank or Saddles Direct services like in the UK. There is one place I know of but their saddles are always overpriced by 100’s and the service is so-so. She doesn’t have anything thst I’d be interested in at the moment anyway.

The Amerigo has been the best thus far. Just too sticky in the calf skin but I could get over that!

I think I can order new Kieffers from one place and still return them after I put them on the horse. Did this years ago with my WB. Will look again. Oddly, no local reps, but should be one a bit further out that may come.

What about a Balance International saddle or a Frank Baines saddle (Baines mostly makes the Balance saddles, or they used to, anyway).

If you’re looking for a saddle for a broad-withered horse, one of these might be a good option.

I have never ridden in an Amerigo, but I suspect that they’d be quite different from the ones I’m suggesting, so the Balance and/or Baines may not be your cup of tea. But I just thought I’d make the suggestions.

The Baines Pirouette fit my horse but he hated the balance point. As to the Kieffers- be a little careful. The shop I went to had a bunch of different models but the only one that she recommended based on my horse’s shape (which sounds very much like your horse’s shape) was the Orphee. She is not a Kieffer rep so they might be able to give you more information.

I also have a bias towards wool flocking (vs Cair) but the truth is that my horse has never shown a particular preference towards/ against any flocking and all this bit about being wool making saddles more adjustable has never made a difference other than it compressing and having to get fixed. It’s not like adjusting the flocking can help a tree shape that doesn’t match the shape of the horse.

The closest Baines fitter/seller is quite far away. So I’d have to see if I could meet her half way and haul somewhere. Not ideal, but not impossible. Used market for Baines here isn’t huge. I would love a Baines or Jeremy Rudge. It would be a 4 hour round trip for hauling. Not a huge deal with this horse, but will look at closer options first.

I was looking at the Orphee, actually :sweat_smile:

The Amerigo seems promising but expensive. I am arranging them to come out again though to confirm if it is our choice. Reached out to another fitter with some used inventory.

So hard because I don’t trust anyone now :woman_facepalming:

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Rode in the Orphee today. Didn’t fit me at all so it’s a no. I did really enjoy my ride in the Devoucoux Makila Harmonie. I wasn’t expecting to because it looks like a $$$$$ toy saddle but go figure. My horse seemed to really like it as well. Very good wither clearance, short panels, room for big shoulders (“SB” fit). But oh boy is it expensive.

Unfortunately I’d never buy or put a Devoucoux on my horse. So it’s easy to me to rule that out for us.

I feel like it’s so difficult with dressage saddles. I wasn’t so picky with jump saddles. There have been many dressage saddles that have looked ok, but I’ve gotten on the horse and they’ve felt terrible. Twist too wide, saddle in general too wide, twist too narrow, not right for my seat bones, not right for my leg, seat too deep, and so on.

For several reasons I regret even embarking on this dressage adventure :rofl:

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I love Equipes and tried some Amerigos. I think the Amerigos were so uncomfortable, and while my horse didn’t outright object, it kept sliding backwards (more often things that don’t fit slide forward on this horse). Plus, the customization isn’t there for me. I thought one of the jump models would be better, and it seemed like a good shape, but horse was so sore. I think the quality of leather on Equipe is better, and they will custom make me a flap, which I need.

I have used Equipe on a old type Hanoverian (broad spine, long withers, needs lift in the back, straigher back, wider in the tree). For him too he loved the carbon tree options and his super sensitive area was the shoulder panels. The foam panels allowed for a shorter, more sculpted front panel. Had plenty of lift in the back. And a Holsteiner (more shark fin type, not as broad at the tree points but broad shelf-like ribs, more curve to back). Different tree and panel configuration, actually he’s in the more “Iberian type” saddle with spring tree.

I am super confused now :sweat_smile:

I have tried Equipes and my trainer also has them. The panels are even slimmer than what is available with Amerigo. I would be interested to see how one could work. They sit too low in the back, even when the front fits reasonably well. Is there a certain model that you had?

Amerigo does offer customization? I want a different flap configuration than what is standard, and there would be no problem with this according to the saddler. She also directly spoke with Amerigo about it. I didn’t see that the options with Equipe were any greater aside from them offering different tree materials (outside of wood and plastic). The leathers seem comparable.

Does Equipe offer different level of foam panels? I don’t recall anything about this. Amerigo has different fill volumes, for example. That and the Amerigo model I tried just had more room for the withers and spine. Hm. Trainer said her Equipe rep can also come again with more saddles, he had quite a bit already though that we tried. Maybe I’ll give them another look.

At this point I think I’ll just sell the horse. Saddle stuff is too difficult. :rofl:

Sounds like you didn’t have the right model for your horse.

I have three Amerigos, on three very different horses. All were fit by a fitter who is an expert on amerigo models and can change them wider or more narrow if needed. We have had more for other horses in the past.

I’m shocked to read about issues. Each of mine after being fit fit perfect and have never caused issues or slid. The balance is perfect and they have held up beautifully. All bought used and one is at least 9 years that I have had it. They are the MOST comfortable saddles and like riding on a cloud.

My coach recommended the fitter and she fits you to whatever saddle works for you and the horse and majority work out to be Amerigo. Most her students ride in them and all are successful riders.

The thing with Amerigo is to get the model and size correct for your horse. Most people have no clue what model they have. Each model is designed to fit a certain shape topline. Without the matching shape to your horse the balance will be thrown off entirely.

I can recommend the fitter if you like, she does virtual fittings and could help you see what model and size is right for you.

To add - they have been fit for me on all types of Thoroughbreds from QH shaped ones to talk big shoulder and wither ones. My friend has one for her Fresian, another for her pony, another for a warmblood and another with a PRE.

Not to hijack but… could you PM me the name of the fitter too, please? Thanks.

That was my experience in that you’ve got to have the right tree shape. The Cortina fits really well on my horse. I read up on their different trees for different toplines a bit.

When I first was trotting around in the Cortina (and the other we tried that I cannot recall) I was sort of impartial about it. The I cantered and it felt amazing. It gives me the right place to sit and just go with the horse. My current saddle is a bit too deep with no flat spot really which doesn’t work for me so well.

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Yes the panels can be made with different fill volumes. I have a little more panel on current horse to help with wither clearance. On the other horse (who in my jump saddle had -10mm panel in front and +10 in the back), he went great in a standard MW Viktoria. The Viktoria is a bit too straight for current horse and the rear panel puts too much pressure on him. So he has an Elegance that is custom for me plus the thicker panel for him. You can also change where the panel is lifted if you need more in the back. You would see this on the stamp as a different + number than the tree number.

I was given one option for a forward flap for Amerigo which was not forward at all, and minimal block options. And it would not stay in the right position I think mostly because of shoulder fit. And the tree points are in the wrong place. I was told I’d have to get the taller head iron, but this horse is so sensitive next to his withers that wasn’t going to work (the wrong tree point pressure makes him head bobbing lame and so he tends to do better with more flexible setups). Although my biggest complaint when trying saddles with the horse who is more curvy backed is that I always feel like I’m in the backseat, I haven’t had that issue with either brand except for some jump saddles with too big seat sizes. His balance point for the rider is very small and forward. Based on the Amerigo fit guides, some of them should have worked great. But I always had the head iron issue, balance and stability issue, and his lower back would get so sore after one ride if you shimmed to correct the balance. I was also told that while the panels have different fill volume and densities, adjusting Amerigos like a normal wool flocked saddle doesn’t really happen. So I didn’t see any benefit over custom foam in that regard.

Despite being different shapes both horses had big shoulders and well sprung ribs. I think the Equipe trees and panel shapes sit well on them. Both horses have tried a lot of saddle brands. I have the same flap shape and block (although material on the Elegance is less fancy).

Same rep does both in my area so I don’t think it’s a rep problem, although finding a variety of demo saddles was a challenge. It’s hard for these brands where the rep has to buy their own demos. For Amerigo, we talked to the main office and they couldn’t come up with any other demos for me so that was frustrating.

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My current fitter doesn’t like the Swiss panels on my Amerigo and complains the whole time she is working on it, but they can be adjusted a bit. The original fitter who recommended it for me (and who was widely regarded as the best fitter in our area before she retired) never seemed to have issues making minor adjustments to the flocking.