CWD Mademoiselle vs. Voltaire

Hi, I am trying to decide on a new saddle and wanted to see if I could get some opinions. This question has been asked before, but not since CWD came out with their Mademoiselle model. My old trainer was CWD all the way, but my new trainers are Voltaire. I have an old injury to my pelvis that has me leaning toward the CWD Mademoiselle, but the Voltaire Palm Beach is quite comfortable as well. Opinions please!

Frankly a saddle is a very personal thing and you should get what works for you (and your horse). I had a Voltaire and it tipped me forward way too much. Other people love them and they work great for them. I tried the Mademoiselle when looking at CWD and hated it. I felt like I was sitting on top of the saddle and couldn’t seem to get wrapped around my horse. But again, these work great for some people. I tried the 2Gs and it felt like home and it worked for my horse so that’s what I bought.

My advice is to try everything you can get your hands on and get what works FOR YOU. After all, you’ll be the one riding in it!


I have a mademoiselle. I don’t treasure it dearly, but I will say my horse loves it. He jumps like an absolute freak in it.

The price is absolutely heart stopping so I would find one used if you can. The new price is not justified, IMO.

I’m with Stacey above… I have loved several CWDs (largely the SE01), but when I rode in a friend’s Mademoiselle it was… well meh, for me. I also felt like I was on top of the saddle vs. in it, if that makes sense.

Ride in several saddles and decide what works for you and your horse.

I got a custom CWD as CWD fit my horse best and she loves it and move and jumps so much better. Try them and see what you and your horse like best. I went with what my horse went best in. I liked both kind of the same.

Thanks, all. I can’t seem to find much information about the technology in Voltaire’s trees (other than the Blue Wing of course). I have a very sensitive chestnut so I’m leaning toward a flexible tree. Honestly, he seems to go well in both saddles. I wish he could talk!

This is why it’s so important to try them. When I did the CWD 2GS I felt like I couldn’t get down and around the horse at all. That completely went away for me in the Mademoiselle. It’s just so personal. Being pregnant now, I’m realizing our pelvises are all very different and that’s probably why saddles feel so different from one rider to another.

if anyone considers CWDs, you should ask to try the Classic. reps don’t always show this model and it’s my personal favorite. i don’t like the 2Gs.

Slightly off topic, but for those of you who have bought a foam panelled saddle second hand, are there any options for tweaking the panel fit like you can in wool flocked, or is it just go with saddle as is? Would you say foam saddles have a wider range of tolerance for fit than wool?

I think the seat of the Mlle and the Palm Beach are similar. I like both, except for the padded skirt on the Mlle which is just awful for me (too much friction?). So my vote really would be for the new 2Gs that has the non-carbon flap option. I also tend to like a flatter seat but I can ride in the half deep seat of the Mlle and Voltaire as they feel (especially the CWD) more like my old Childeric. I can’t say the same about the other half deep CWDs.

As for buying used, you can get panels remade. How long that takes depend on if you need some 5mm tweaks or a whole new panel. For CWD, it’s $600 to make tweaks to the panels. I don’t know what it is to have new panels made in France and put on. Also not sure on Voltaire costs. From a rep perspective, you may be more likely to get help with this if you buy used from them or one of their customers vs random seller on the internet.

For example, my friend wanted to buy a used 2Gs and went through the rep at the end of the day. The saddle that fit her with pro panels that they had had an awful squeak to it. Of course, my friend was concerned about the tree. She talked to me about it to see if my saddle ever squeaked (no). CWD sent it to their workshop, took it apart and did a full inspection and said it was ok. Should something go wrong, this seems like a good paper trail to have. And, as these 2 brands often get swapped for each other, you may be able to find used Voltaire from CWD or vice versa. They should inspect all the used saddles they take on trades. As for panels, it would be helpful to know what panels you need because then you can try find something fairly similar.

With wool flocked saddles, the tree shape determines the basic bsck to front rocker curve and drape of the panels, and you can tweak a very little bridging with stuffing. But usually one brand uses one basic tree for all its styles, so your horse either tends to fit that brand or not. Obviously they will have n m w for wither gullet but the rocker curve will be the same.

For instance my horse seems to fit County and Passier saddles in general, but the Stubben Roxanne was way too curvy and rolled on her back. I’m assuming it’s the same for the foam saddles, they are built on the same basic tree. So you’d need to find a brand that was a good match for your horse.

How do they tweak the foam panels? I guess they could open them up and shave away, or add a layer of foam?

$600 is pricey, compared to getting a wool saddle completely reflocked, but I guess everything from purchase price on up is about double for these saddles!

I have a Palm Beach for the high withered, narrow Oldenburg/TB cross that I currently lease. His build is definitely more TB than WB, and the Palm Beach fits him beautifully. I recently had the Voltaire rep out to the farm to check the fit for both of us, and now I understand why I like the saddle so much, and why he goes so great it it. I don’t know a ton about saddle design in general, but what the rep said made sense to me - the tree doesn’t extend down the shoulder - that part is more foam, so it allows for greater movement. Also, the billets (there are only 2, vs 3) attach directly to the tree, vs another strap that is attached to the tree. And the second skin panel puts less material between your leg and the horse, so better contact and less bulk. Who knows - I’m probably just buying in to the marketing hype, but I really LOVE this saddle. It’s comfortable without being a couch, and I feel really secure in it. :slight_smile:


Yeah everyone seems to be marketing either short tree points or swept back tree points these days :slight_smile:

Try Try Try. Try them all. Sit in every model (you may find that you love a classic and dislike everything else).

CWD Madem & a Voltaire PB are actually vastly different in the way they are made and the tree shape. A PB is a semi-deep saddle vs the Madem is a flat. The PB is on a classic wooden french tree, the Madem is on the flexible carbon fiber and kevlar tree. The Madem has a U shaped pommel for the females pelvis (the biggest reason some people love or hate this saddle), and the PB is a traditional type tree with more of a V shape. Onto the paneling, you’ve got integrated, anatomical panels vs non-integrated nor anatomical. The billet placement/systems are also different.

You have to ride in them and jump. Not just sit in them on a fake horse. It makes a huge difference in actually trying the saddle. Generally, a rider that has ridden for a while, will know which saddle they like or dislike within a little trot and canter. As a rider myself (and rep), I only like riding in the SE03 and Madem. They are the right twist for me (the madem took me a ride to get used to with the pommel) and they are flat. The Madem also really helped my bad back and has saved me from disaster a few times with the grippy leather. However, I’m a sucker for tradition, and there is nothing better to me than a SE03 with tiny blocks. I just generally ride in the Madem because of the tree technology (and I have one in my size in my car).

You just have to try the saddles you’re interested in. Everyone has different tastes and all of our bodies and riding styles are different. We could all debate all day which saddle is better and why, but you will ultimately be the chooser because you’re going to sit in on and go “oh. ok. this is it.”


I have a Voltaire dressage saddle and a Prestige Meredith jumping saddle with foam. The Prestige is my favorite saddle I have owned and seems to fit a wide variety of horses. More so than a flocked that is very specific to one horse. I have used it on TB and warmbloods.

I don’t think you would tweak a panel. If you go with Voltaire, they can replace panels to make the saddle fit wider or narrower to some degree, but I warn you it is very expensive and not something you would want to do every six months. Adjusting flocking is significantly less then having them re-panel a saddle. My Prestige tree can actually be heat? adjusted (you have to use a Prestige fitter–it’s not just a changeable gullet). I’ve gone wider a couple times over the years. At the moment my Voltaire is too narrow and they offered to repanel and I’d rather just sell it and avoid that cost. If I remember right they get $750 now to do it (someone correct me if I’m wrong). Plus I have mixed feelings about making the padding thinner. I’d rather go up a tree size and pad up the saddle a bit then take padding away. YMMV.

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If you like the madem, you may like the Delgrange Athena which, after a long search is my saddle of choice. I hated the PB.

Just got a new Voltaire Palm Beach a month ago after trying CWD and Butet as well. It is 100% personal choice. CWDs and Butets are both very nice saddles but the Voltaire seemed to fit my horse best right from the get go, and I felt most “at home” in it. The CWD fit my horse well too, but it felt too bulky under my leg. The SE03 was my favorite of the different seats, but it felt too, pardon me saying so, up in my business :lol:. The Butet fit me quite well, but didn’t fit my horse AT ALL, and I was not reassured that they could make it fit. Just me 2 cents, good luck and keep up updated!

Totally personal. I have a 2GS and a Palm Beach. I like them both and they fit different horses. I find the Palm Beach a little easier to fit a variety as the CWD does tend to bridge a little due to the integrated flap. (The reps say this doesn’t matter once the horse is moving… I think it does. And I love that saddle otherwise.)

I will say that buying the 2GS new was not worth the extra money vs used. I got the Palm Beach used for less than half the price. No break in time, it still has plenty of life in it, and it has the nicer buffalo leather I wouldn’t spring for if I bought new.

I’d say CWD. I’ve heard so many horror stories of people with Voltaire saddles having them fall apart after a year. To the complaints about the mademoiselle, you could try the 2GS and the other CWD models. All of them are a dream. To me, Voltaire saddles seem more of a trend. They aren’t anything special to sit in, for me at least. If you don’t like the Mademoiselle, it doesn’t mean avoid CWD. Base your opinion of what saddle you want after you’ve sat in several models. I have a CWD and will never go with anything else! The mademoiselle and 2Gs have more leg security, but I don’t have problems keeping my leg solid in mine. (The regular model, idk what else to call it haha)