Does anyone like CWD anymore?

EDIT: I just wanted to update this thread to say I am now in the process of fiding a USED CWD for my horse and am no longer going the custom route. I would still love to hear everyone’s opinions about the brand and other brands they have experience with themselves.

Also a BIG thank you to everyone who commented. Everyone’s advice has been helpful and I truly appreciate the time taken to offer it. :revolving_hearts:


I am worried I just made a mistake by ordering a custom CWD saddle for my horse and I am terrified it is not going to fit him. Does anyone have a single good experience? I keep reading about so many bad experiences.

I have dealt with saddle-fitting nightmares over the last year with Butet and I just want to do right by my horse.

I am in Canada and the rep seems good. My barn rides in CWD and my horse seemed to love my trainer’s CWD saddle - he goes best in it. I haven’t heard of any other horses in the barn having issues. I also asked my vet her opinion. She said if it is fitted well (as with every saddle) she hasn’t noticed or heard of any issues

Was burnt hard over the last year by a Butet rep. Sold me a VERY ill-fitting saddle that my horse hated the second we jumped in it. He then promised a custom that seemed to fit well (according to my bodyworker) but after a year, he suddenly started to get a heat lump on the right of his spine after we jumped. An independent fitter said the panels were not even. I sent the panels to get fixed and it caused an even bigger heat lump on his back but more centered this time. Obviously, that saddle is gone and I feel so guilty that my boy had to deal with this. Needless to say, now I am panicking over getting another custom saddle.

Independent fitter came out and told me she didn’t like any french saddles because they are foam. She also told me my “build” was wrong for my horse and that no saddle that fit me would fit my horse. So WTF do I do with that information? She tried to sell me on a Swedish saddle brand that makes the saddle fit the rider. I wasn’t sold on it especially since she also said it would need to be constantly adjusted and I’d have to ride with shims under my legs. How TF would I do that in the jumpers?

I just can’t believe all those high-level jumpers would use saddles that are so terrible and didn’t fit their horses. Or am I being naive?

At this point, I am ready to give up riding the jumpers altogether because I feel like no matter what I buy it won’t be the perfect fit for my boy and I don’t want to hurt him.

Is CWD just a no go and should I cancel my order now?

Please tell me about your recent experiences!

Nope, don’t like them. Never sat in one that I liked. We used to have at least a dozen of them at my barn, then slowly they fell out of favor. They needed repairs waaay too soon, IF the rep responded. Made backs sore, made riders sore. Got sold 2nd hand if the owners were lucky. Now I think there is 1 left, and it was donated to the lesson program. From my personal experience, I cannot recommend them, or Butet. I can and do recommend Antares or Devoucoux.


My experience with CWD & their reps taught me that CWD is not custom. It’s a bit of a racket. They measure, but then they send to you one of a few different available configurations; there’s nothing truly custom about it. And that would be fine if that’s what you were told to expect.

My specific need for a CWD was a wide tree, and when it arrived it was an average width. CWD told me that it would widen over time. Umm hmmm. That saddle got resold real fast after months of trying to make it fit. Our barn eventually got rid of all CWDs - lots of unhappy riders and too many back sore horses.

I do love Antares, like another poster.


All the high end saddles are semi custom. They will have a standard tree and then options for flaps seat etc. The panel flocking whether wool or foam is the one thing that can be custom fit. But you cant make up for a mismatch between tree and horse just with flocking.

I ride in a CWD barn. Three people just got new custom saddles, all satisfied customers. Three others bought theirs used from the rep. I bought mine used from Highline Tack. All happy horses and riders.

So much depends on your rep. We happen to have a good one. I hope your experience turns out to be a good one as well.


I like the eventing monoflap quite a bit. I think the main issue with CWD is that they come in one width and tree shape and are popular enough that people (and reps) keep trying to pad or shim or stretch that tree to fit a horse it just isn’t ever going to fit.


You have to understand what you are getting from any company selling you a saddle. As others have said, these saddles are not made to measure- they are made to order, using combinations of standard parts. If the parts are good for you and your horse and the rep knows how to put them together well, you will likely have a good experience. If the tree is not suitable for your horse, it is not the right product for you.

I like the balance of CWD saddles; I find them to be particularly comfortable for my build. The tree doesn’t suit my horse so I don’t own one, though my mother does. I would not buy one new at this point because I think the prices of most of the French brands have gotten obscene, considering that if you know what you’re looking for you can find a used model fairly readily and then at worst spend $500 and production wait time getting new panels on it.

I think the OP’s independent fitter, who said it would not be possible to find a saddle that fits both the horse and the OP, is either incredibly honest, lacks creativity, or possibly both. OP, a second opinion from another independent fitter would be a good idea. If you bought a saddle that has exactly the tree and panel setup of your trainer’s, then you have an example for the fitter and can get a professional opinion on the fit for the horse, to get confidence in whether you should cancel your order or proceed.


Thank you for your reply.

I agree. The prices are absolutely obscene and it feels a bit like daylight robbery. I don’t know what panels he would require. The rep said my trainer’s saddle fit him ok but had a very slight bridge in the center without a pad and she preferred panels for him that were a bit more cut away in the shoulder to allow more room for his scapula. We also want to maintain 3-4 fingers wither clearance and she said it would be best to go custom.

The independent fitter said my horse would fit a medium tree. From what I read online CWD is med-wide?

I just want you to know, the fitter was being incredibly honest yes. I wonder if she thinks I should get a new horse? I can’t sell this horse - he is my heart horse. But just in case you are wondering if she meant weight wise I am not a good fit (which I did think at first but asked her and she said that wasn’t what she meant). I am 147lbs (yes, I could stand to lose 10-12lbs), 5’6 and he is a 16’2 warmblood.

Yes, I think getting a second opinion would be good. Thank you

I don’t know that anyone ever did like CWD But they definitely don’t’s a truly horrid company.


How did the trainer’s saddle fit you? You could maybe find a used saddle with the panels you need. I can help you decipher some of the codes.

I love the way her saddle fits me. My leg is extremely secure in the saddle and I can actually be in both a light and deep seat as necessary. My butt is a little bigger than hers and she is a bit taller but I’d have to check out what her codes are and can send them to you. Thank you!

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Oh no. :pensive: That is what I keep hearing. Do you have any experience personally or in your barn?

I definitely know a lot of people that love their CWD saddles but have heard different experiences online for sure!

Had an SE02 for another horse that I was leasing bc that’s what pro had. He went great in it and it felt super comfortable. It also fit my other horse that was in training. Then I bought new horse. Didn’t fit her.
Had an older Butet that fit every horse… had chiro out and vet out. Didn’t fit her.
Went down to Wellington, met with rep, threw a bunch of saddles on her knowing that I was inevitably moving towards a custom route based on what the vet and chiro had insinuated after looking at her back (she’s already got some serious sensitivity and is on maintenance injections).
Found one that made her move even better than she typically moves, which is pretty lovely. Bought the demo despite the rep really wanting to order me a new one. My theory: why wait for something that could potentially be wrong or need breaking in, when her saddle that was only about a month old was fitting her perfectly. Took some negotiating and I had to forego the trade-in option, but it all worked out. Sold the other 2 saddles and made back half of the value.


What kind was the new one? CWD or??

Sorry… new one was a CWD. It’s the 2GS Mademoiselle Hunter with shoulder relief.

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A CWD fit me and fit my horse best out of all the saddles I tried. My trainer is sponsored by Voltaire. I couldn’t find one that I liked and for my horse.

My advice is try saddles and get what fits you and your horse best.


That was sort of a joke because obviously no one can speak for “everyone” but yes I did have a very bad experience with CWD personally. You really don’t need to look any further than any facebook tack group to see how many people are attempting to unload their practically new CWDs to see that something isn’t right however. Some people LOVE their saddles because they work for them and their horse, those people definitely seem to be the minority however and are likely east to fit themselves with an easy to fit horse.

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CWD had some truly awful reps and didn’t seem to care. The quality also left something to be desired. Their saddles work for some people/horses and not for others. Having a good rep and realistic expectations goes a long way. They’re customizable but not truly bespoke. They are only as good as the person measuring and ordering. But that is true for anything built to order.

Am I understanding the independent fitter right? She said YOU are the wrong shape for your horse? Too heavy or what? And shims would go under your leg between your leg and the top of the flap? Not in a shimmable pad between the saddle and the horse’s back but in the area where your leg generally is? Something seems to be getting lost in translation here.

I think your answers to this question will be completely relative to the persons/horses preference and fit.

It is like asking people what their favourite shoe and size is. It’s never going to be a consensus.

Yes, there are bad reps out there, yes I do think CWD is overpriced, yes some people and horses they won’t work for.

However, I’ve had several semi-custom saddles (which is what I consider most ‘custom’ saddles these days), over the years and nothing feels better and more secure to me and my body type as the CWD models.

I do appreciate my rep Vincent (Sophie was great too), he’s very understanding and great to deal with and there are a ton of different things they can do to help your saddle fit most horses. Even if this includes new panels.

I’ve had a tree crack once past warranty a couple years ago, it was a 2012 2gs. Repair was $600 for a new tree shipped back to my door. You would never know it happened.

I have had new panels made for also a reasonable price.

Overall, I paid a small fortune for my new one last year but I take good care of it and got grain leather for durability reasons.

I also never had wear issues on my 2012 calfskin.

I tried many other semi customs but it had to be CWD, not because the name but the feel and my horse has never been happier either.


Thanks for your reply!

Re. the fitter… she said my “build” because I think of the way my pelvis is positioned. She said an ErgoX2 would be a good saddle for me because they can fit it to how I am built. But then that no saddle that matches my build would work for my horse. Or maybe she didn’t want to say weight (147lbs, 5’6, horse is 16.2HH Hano), but she just said build instead. I can lose weight (and need to don’t get me wrong) but can’t do anything about my body structure. And I don’t want to get a saddle “fit for me” if it would impact how it fits my horse.

No, the shims were not in any pad. They were nothing to do with the saddle fit for the horse but for me. They were to be placed under my leg (under the flap) of the Ergo saddle to help it fit my build or something. I asked how it was that other people were able to ride in normal saddles without needing this special saddle or shims and she said “luck”. P.S I did not say to her that I had any issues with pelvic pain or lower back pain or anything of the sort. I don’t.

My coach has said there is nothing wrong with my “build” and that I have a good position. She is blunt and I think would tell me.

My horse also gets massaged 1x per month and bodywork 1x per month (sometimes twice if we’re showing) from different people and neither have said he has back pain under the saddle. He has no behavior issues. I just want to do right by my horse and this statement has honestly f’d me up and left me feeling pretty depressed and anxious that I am hurting my horse.