Opinions on the following saddles: Adam Ellis, Ideal, Jeffries

Both my horse and I are hard to fit a saddle to. He is quite round and wide but short backed, I have a VBB (very bad back). Working with a quite good saddle fitter and knowledgeable tack shop we went through over 15 different makes of dressage saddles before finding a Hastilow which seems to work for both of us. But I really want an A/P or jump saddle to hack in. Note: I do not jump anymore.

I am told that French, German, Swiss and Italian saddles just won’t fit his shape. Albion, Kent and Masters and many others don’t fit me. So we are looking for English made saddles. However, my knowledge of many of the makers (and there seem to be hundreds) is very limited and I will likely have to buy in GB as they are thin on the ground here and it’ll be used to be in my budget.

Anyone have any knowledge of Adam Ellis, Ideal and/ or Jeffries saddles? Overall comfort, durability, horse happiness, whatever you’ve got.

Thanks in advance.

I had an Adam Ellis dressage saddle that was custom made for my horse and his previous owner. Fit the horse well enough, but I did not find it the slightest bit comfortable nor did the person who originally had it made. The leather was nice quality, and it held up well, but selling it was one of the first things I did when I bought the horse. I found it sat very high on the horse and never put me in the right position. My back and hips were always sore after riding in it.

Ideal is one of the largest manufacturer in the uk. However they contract out and make over 50 plus brands. Adam can make nice saddles, but I do not like working with him. Jefferies is a good solid choice.

All your comments are very helpful. Thank you!

You might look at the Smith-Worthington Stellar Altair CC saddle. It’s what I use mostly as an AP saddle, since I don’t jump very much. It’s available in a semi-hoop tree. And my mare is an Irish Draught, so wide is an understatement. I’ve had it for three years, and it basically looks just broken-in.

Smith-Worthington Stellar Altair CC Saddle

Alas I tried a Smith-Worthington and my back was not happy at all.

I’m super happy with my Jeffries Elite saddle, which is actually my second one. I happened to buy a used one, which I really liked. But, as a medium, it was just a little too narrow for my hard to fit horse (wide back with a flat profile front to back, and small). Most trees are too curvy for her. The Jeffries was perfect, just a little narrow. I wasn’t sure if I needed to get a MW or W and asked the British saddler. They said “why don’t you just send us tracings and we’ll make it to order”. FOR THE SAME PRICE, which was about $1500 3 or 4 years ago. The only catches were that it would take longer, and that it would not be returnable.

I have a 4yo ISH gelding that looks like a horse-sized Thelwell (wide and short backed). I got him a Jeffries Liberty XP and he’s so happy! The leather isn’t luxurious, but the seat is cushy enough and we’re both happy.

I also scored a wide Adam Ellis Jupia off ebay at a great price. Didn’t fit my horse as well as the Jeffries, but I loaned it to my friend for the summer to use on her QH and she loved it. Twist was pretty narrow on this model, if you like that type.

I just went through a saddle search for my round one too and ended up with a stubben that fits her really well so I wouldn’t rule out all German/ Swiss made saddles.

Other brands that came up in my search that had a more “hoopier” tree were Lovatt and rickets, duett, Black Country, bliss of London, and some county saddles.

I had a custom Adam Ellis saddle that landed me in the arms of an attorney to get my money back as it fundamentally did not fit.

Adam was a huge jerk through it all, as was his local to me fitter.

I’m not the only one with this experience with him, and/or his fitters. Cross that one off your list.

(Yes, I got my money back in full. I still dont have the tracings of my mares back, as the fitter ultimately held them hostage.)

One of the best things about buying a saddle made in England is that you can pick up a phone and speak directly to the manufacturer. They are small businesses. Explain your problem, see what they say. Ideal and Jefferies both make good, popular saddles. Ellis, I don’t know anything about.

I love my Jeffries JMX monoflap. I don’t think they are made any more but it is a very balanced saddle that my horses love too.

I really like the Adam ellis jump saddles. Don’t like the dressage saddles at all. County is another British saddle that would fit a wide horse well.

I’ve been reading all the responses and have to jump in to say thank you. I knew you all would be an excellent source!

I have an Adam Ellis wide close contact saddle on a hoop tree. I bought it used through Pelham saddlery. It fits my horse REALLY well. I have lower back issues from an injury in 2003 and it is fine for my lower back, but it does have a pretty wide twist. My hips sometimes ache. It is debatable whether this could be solved with a different saddle that still fit my horse, or if this is a consequence of owning a horse with a shape like a wine cask.

I believe Hastilow, Kent and Masters and Fairfax are all made by the same company? And they do make jump saddles that are fairly priced.

I will also add that my wine cask, no actually, more like a wine bottle- he’s just wide in the shoulder and wide in the barrel- looked pretty good in a Stubben as well. I REALLY liked a Stubben Edelweiss NT that I rode in with a Biomex seat. The biomex is supposed to be great for YOUR back, and the NT (for narrow twist) was good for me also. Honestly, I should’ve just bought that one, but it was the first one I tried so I kept looking. I still keep my eyes peeled for a deal on one in the right color, especially when my hips are aching.

Fairfax owns kent and masters, however they are not the same saddles.

Hastilow buys the trees from fairfax, but really feel different for the riders and horses.

I’m not helpful in this, but I found a beautiful Jeffries Saddle at an estate sale years ago and bought it for $250…lol. It wasn’t a typical estate sale(or what I think of as a typical one), as the owner was still present but needed to move in a hurry and couldn’t take anything with him. He said he had traveled to europe and thought it was cool, so he brought it home and put it in his house. :joy: someone had used it at some point because there are girth marks on the billets, but otherwise, it was/is in pristine condition. Totally lucky find. It’s a medium tree, and probably needs some adjusting for my new guy, but I haven’t had someone out yet to look at it. It is a petite looking saddle and doesn’t overwhelm his back. It’s smaller than my half pad which only slightly annoys my ‘it must fit perfectly’ personality.

I’ve tried to look the stamps up to see when it was made, but never made any progress.

Thank you all for your thoughts. Ebay UK has become my new favorite site as I look at possibilities bolstered by your recommendations.

I have two Hastilow saddles and I love them!

I have an Ideal jump saddle for my flat-backed and round mare. I really like it. It’s definitely not secure enough for big jumps or to run XC beyond maybe novice, but for hacking and popping around small courses it’s perfect.

I find it very comfortable and good quality leather. I bought it directly from an Irish saddle dealer and had it shipped to me in the US. Arrived in perfect condition and paid <1K including shipping for a saddle that my fitter has commented is “a really neat little saddle”

Bonus is that I love black jump saddles and it’s black with light grey piping - looks great on my dark bay mare!