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Experience with Stubben saddle fitting?

As many have before me, I am turning to the forums for advice on saddle fitting. I am currently riding in an SE01 CWD with 2L flaps, and my trainer would like me in a more forward flap. I had CWD come out this spring, and was fitted into an SE01 with 3C flaps. I wasn’t financially ready to purchase at that point (needed to sell the 2L first) so in the meantime I looked on the used market. I ended up finding a flatter SE02 model with 3C flaps that was barely used and at the right price so I took it for a trial. Loved it, but sadly for some reason the 3C with the SE02 was too long/forward for my leg, so back it went.

My trainer suggested I look into Stubben as she recently had one made for one of her jumpers and was very happy with it (one of the Portos types). I emailed the rep in my area, and the way he explained the process is not what I expected. This may be due to the way I explained my situation to him, but I was curious as to whether any of you have ever had a Stubben saddle fitter out, and what the process was like? He quoted me for a custom saddle which I don’t know that I necessarily need, nor could I afford the price point he mentioned. I guess I thought he would come out and fit us into the best option from their “stock” saddles. I thought that the Stubben would be great option to get a high quality saddle without the CWD price tag (even used!). But maybe I just misunderstood the way Stubben fittings are designed.

Any insight or Stubben fittings would be great! Or if anyone has ideas/reccomendations for where to go next in my saddle search for a forward flap that fits short-legged riders (especially from hip to knee), and big shouldered Appendix horses, would be so appreciated!

I had a Stubben Edelweiss CS for a while, sadly the tree wasn’t a good shape for my mare and I HATED it at the time. Then I was lucky enough to sit in it on a different horse, and oh my goodness, I LOVED it. Put my short little legs in just the right spot, nice open seat. As I recall the horse had fairly big shoulders and the Edelweiss fit him quite nicely.

My local Stubben rep is amazing, not pushy at all. I first had him come out to fit an older Stubben I got used. He told me frankly that he didn’t think it was the best fit and I would be better off using my other saddle (not a Stubben). He showed me a few models and talked about fit at length even though I told him I was probably going to let me then-3 year old grow a little more before investing in a saddle.
When my horse was 4 I called the Stubben rep out again, and I ended up buying a Portos demo model. Again he was not at all pushy and didn’t try to talk me into buying a custom saddle as he agreed the Portos fit both the horse and myself nicely.
I love my Portos and had a great experience with Stubben and am sorry to hear you didn’t experience the same.

Training Cupid, your description sounds more like what I envisioned a fitting to be like. I’d rather have him assess me and my horse, and then recommend a stock Stubben that would work well for us. Unfortunately what he quoted for a custom is a full 1k out of my price range. I haven’t had the fitting yet, so I don’t want to say I haven’t experienced a positive outcome from Stubben, i think it sounds more like maybe there is a misunderstanding/miscommunication about what I’m looking for. I’ll try to clarify in my response to him. Thanks for your insight!

My Stubben fitting was almost exactly the same as my CWD fitting as far as the process goes. The reps were very different, but I’m not sure I can chalk that up to the brands. Of course, they’re different saddles and preference is individual. Both reps were open to looking for used models, though it sounds like there aren’t quite as many of the recent Stubbens circulating the used market.

Stubben is currently at the end of their August Sales. Some great prices on saddles right now on their website. I’d start by looking there and talking to them about what might work for you. I was tempted to buy a saddle and I don’t even need one!

My fitter was wonderful. I already knew which models I was interested in, so he started with those, but he actually had a whole truck full of stock Stubben models to try. He was very low-pressure, very well-informed about Stubben’s history and the different models, and was excellent about answering my questions. He told me up front before he even came to the farm what his fitting fee would be, and he absolutely did not pressure me to make a purchase (though I didn’t call him until I was sure I was ready to buy). Nothing was ever said about a custom Stubben. My horse fitted perfectly into a stock size, so there was no need.

OP, is there anything about what you said about you and your horse that would have led the fitter to believe you were interested in/might need a custom saddle?

I think the confusion here is a common misconception. Many people think that stock saddles are cheaper than custom saddles, but for quality saddle-makers, they are not. In general, the only benefit to buying a stock saddle over custom is that the stock saddle is available right away, whereas the custom may take 4-6 weeks.

Custom saddles, on the other hand, have many benefits. Usually at no extra charge, you can get it personalized exactly to your needs. I measured a horse today for a saddle and found he was exactly between a wide and a MW. I’ll send his tracings with the order so when his saddle is made, it will not be a standard MW or W, it will be his size. He’ll also get dropped panels and shoulder gussets and the exact billet configuration that suits his conformation. His rider will get a seat webbed such that it puts her in a forward position (at her request) and knee and thigh blocks positioned just for her conformation. She’ll get to choose her color and might add extra D-rings for when she trail rides.

And she won’t pay any extra.

The only time stock saddles are usually cheaper is when there are demos or older models to be clearanced out. Even then, it is rarely more than a few hundred dollars discount.

So the Stuebben rep was talking about custom saddles because if you are buying new, that really is almost always your best bet. If it isn’t in your price range I’d suggest you still hear him out. You will probably at least learn what features your horse needs so you know specifically what to look for in the used saddle market or from among the clearance stock. Look at it as an educational opportunity. :slight_smile:

OP, is there anything about what you said about you and your horse that would have led the fitter to believe you were interested in/might need a custom saddle?[/QUOTE]

I don’t think so, which is why I was so confused with his initial response. I said I had been given his contact info from my trainer and explained that I had been having some difficulty finding a saddle that fits. He then replied by quoting me a price range for a custom and said he would be happy to come out and fit me for a custom.

So the Stuebben rep was talking about custom saddles because if you are buying new, that really is almost always your best bet. If it isn’t in your price range I’d suggest you still hear him out. You will probably at least learn what features your horse needs so you know specifically what to look for in the used saddle market or from among the clearance stock. Look at it as an educational opportunity.

I do agree with you on the pros/cons of custom vs stock. However, in this case he quoted me $3700-$4500 for a custom saddle when generally “stock” portos saddles are in the 3k range (which is the top of my budget). I am more than happy to get a used saddle - in fact I’d prefer it. I am just going to go with that he misunderstood what I am looking for, or that I said something that sounded like I wanted a custom.

I will definitely still hear him out, I learned a lot from my CWD fitting for the same reasons, I just didn’t want to waste anyone’s time if they only did custom saddle fittings.

I…explained that I had been having some difficulty finding a saddle that fits.[/QUOTE]

My guess is that when the fitter heard this, he assumed that you would need a custom saddle. It just sounds like a misunderstanding to me.

My advice is to tell him up front that you cannot afford his quoted price and to tell him you’d prefer a used or demo saddle. As someone else mentioned, it will be an educational experience at the very least, and you may end up with the perfect saddle.

I had the Stubben rep out in July for a fitting but because of how I am built and how my horse is built we were pretty sure it would be custom. She brought a SUV full of saddles out and I tried 5, deciding flaps and seat depth etc. The price was still considerably cheaper than CWD and the other french style saddles. She did go back and check thru the Stubben inventory to see if they already had something close which would have been substantially cheaper ( and she came close).

There was no pressure to buy and it was actually a fun experience and I rode in some very lovely saddles which made it somewhat difficult to decide what I wanted.

Does this person represent only Stubben, or is he an independent operator that sells many brands? If he is not solely Stubben, perhaps you could ask him if he has some demos/used stock that you could try before committing to buy anything, in addition to evaluating your current saddle?

I haven’t worked with Stubben, but that is how my discussion went with my saddle fitter, who sells a variety of new saddle brands. I emailed her my fit issues, asked if she could evaluate my saddle to see if we could make it work, and if she could bring demos/used saddles for me to try if my current saddle wouldn’t work, as well as the price range I was working in.

She gave me some shim suggestions/options to use with my current saddle. I tried some of the saddles she brought from other brands. I ended up loving one of her demos, but it didn’t have the exact specs I was looking for, so I did end up ordering a new “custom” saddle. For about 300 more dollars, I got exactly what I wanted in color and leather, and it fit the horse well. The price difference, by the way, was due to the fact it was a new saddle versus a demo.

Thanks all, for your very helpful input and guidance! I think it was a misunderstanding/assumption from my unclear wording choice in my initial email to him. He assured me in my response to him, that we could certainly look for a used or pre-made saddle in Stubben’s inventory, but that he could not guarantee one would be immediately available at the time of my fitting. I think that’s obviously very reasonable. Should we be unable to find something that works within my budget, it’ll be a learning experience as others have mentioned upthread. Thanks again for all the advice!

Just wanted to follow up after how helpful everyone was.

I had my Stubben fitting today, and I was SO impressed and happy with the experience. In contrast to my CWD fitting earlier this spring, Stubben was clearly very educated in truly fitting a saddle rather than just altering components of the saddle for “big shoulders”. My fitter took so much time measuring, watching me ride, and explaining how the different components of the saddle impacted my horse based on his anatomy (and mine!). He worked with my budget and I was able to order a brand new custom Portos S. I don’t think I could have asked for anything to be handled differently. The hardest part will be waiting the 12 weeks for the saddle to arrive! I highly recommend Stubben for anyone looking to get a “high-end” saddle on the lower end of the “high-end” budget!

I’m so glad! I had to wait for mine, too, since the exact model I ordered was not in the warehouse in Stubben NA–it had to be shipped from Switzerland. However, it was well worth the wait!

Thanks for updating us. Now you’ll have to update us again when it arrives with a picture of your beautiful new saddle!

My custom Portos arrived today, just over 8 weeks from the date of my fitting. It is BEAUTIFUL. I seriously could not be more happy with how gorgeous it is. I’m a little worried it is narrower than we had discussed, but I’m in touch with my rep/fitter and expect he will be able to come out and we can go from there.

I rode in it briefly today, and it is so comfortable and soft. I’m glad I went with the grain leather and not the calfskin - the grain is still super soft and sticky, I can’t imagine paying the extra $$ for the calfskin when the grain is already so lovely.

I highly recommend anyone looking for an alternative to the high end French brands to consider Stübben, my Portos is amazing!


Yep. that is exactly how I feel about my Edelweiss. I wished that I hadn’t waited so long and bothered with so many other saddles. Plus I just saw on Facebook that they are having another used saddle sale starting Nov 16.