Foam panels on used saddles

I’m looking at various brands of foam panel saddles to buy used for a youngster. Some of them seem kinda hard, and with them being around 2012-2017 model saddles I am guessing the foam is kaput.

I’ve heard replacing the foam is about $900 (California prices)?

Do people chuck a sheepskin or other pad underneath and call it good because horse is going to outgrow this anyway? Or is it like buying a used car that needs a new timing belt… an unfortunate big charge you just have to pay?

It’s making foam saddles even less attractive to me…

Take a look at Brittany Bird Saddle Fitting FB. https://www.facebook.com/page/1652616124767479/search/?q=foam

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Hm link goes to the page of a saddle fitter on the East coast. Was there a post about replacing foam saddles on her feed or something?

She writes a lot about foam saddles and what she sees when she opens up used or older foam saddles to do work on them or convert them to wool. She’s very knowledgeable and shows a fair number of pictures. Since you indicated you were a little skeptical about how foam does over time, I figured her page would be interesting.

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My understanding is that you can replace the foam, you can only replace the panels. That’s for higher end saddles and probably would run more than $900. My saddle fitter told me that a saddle that fits well with a good pad (sheepskin or other) would work as an interim solutions.

Personally, I’ve opened up some older foam paneled saddles and the foam had degraded down to crumbles. The newer foam panels last longer.

My own saddles have wool panels although I also have a Wintec with CAIR and a couple of treeless saddles.

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I cannot answer your questions but I bet Shams, the maker at Gravity Saddles in Aptos, can. He certainly has the experience. He was able to discuss repairs with me via email/photos, and I sent my saddle to him. He does travel a bit; he’s about two hours from my town but comes up for custom fittings.

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I would not buy a foam saddle knowing I had to get new panels on it. What are you paying for, otherwise? If you had a local knowledgeable person that does this kind of work, it’s make more sense to me, but it sounds like that is not the case.

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The cost really depends on the saddle. Some of the saddles had the foam panels glued into the leather, and if so the entire panel needs to be dropped and replaced. Others just had the foam put in there, and with those a local saddle fitter can just pull them out and restuff with wool. The re-stuffing is much cheaper and I was quoted starting at $200, with extra for any ‘extra’ wool she would need to use past the usual amount.
What kind of saddle is it?

Also, I’d expect a foam saddle that’s not even 10 years old yet to be perfectly fine for years to go. I have one from 2002, and another from 2006, neither of which need to have anything replaced.

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I would think you could buy a very nice used saddle with wool flocking for nearly the same price as one flocked in foam. Is there a reason you’re looking at foam?

I’ve seen foam flocked saddles opened up - it isn’t pretty. As others have said, you could have crumbles; it might be rock-hard panels glued to the leather. The saddler I used wouldn’t even attempt to reflock them. He said it wasn’t worth the effort.

If only it was that easy. I don’t have local tack shops or fitters with a big stock of any kind of used saddles. The model here is high end foam French hunter saddle brands with trainer relationships, sold by brand reps, new, to the trainers clientele. We have one place with dozens of used ones of the same French type (that I visited once so far - it’s an hour and a half each way)

I did have two wool flocked brands out - saddles didn’t work. Then County weren’t able to come out for just one person, and Prestige didn’t respond.

Outside that, I’d need to buy saddles online and often with $100 shipping per pop it’s a last resort - not to mention the risk of restocking fees or having to keep the saddle if it gets damaged.

No wait - the actual last resort is buying no trial saddles on Facebook from random people… :scream:

I wouldn’t let foam scare you away. I currently own a CWD (dressage saddle) foam panels, I bought it used. The tack shop that I bought it from also does panel conversion. I’ve not used this service but I did buy my saddle from them. Very nice shop to work with.

Panel Conversion Service | Highline Tack.

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Agree on dealing with High Line/Fine Line tack. Free shipping at least one way (I got a label for return shipping and don’t remember paying for it but maybe I did? My memory is not what it once was.) and super professional and easy communication. Highly recommended.

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Wish she would have responded to me. I emailed and FB messaged her weeks ago!