Saddle Help--Anyone had Voltaire issues?

I couldn’t find a super up-to-date thread and I figure that a lot of the companies I mention have changed designs and options available in the last 5 years, so I figured I would start this for input and for anyone else!

I am looking for a new saddle. I had/have a Voltaire and it really messed up my lower leg causing it to swing back and it would make my horse buck at every canter transition. My trainer got on and she can canter him in it, the fitter has come out multiple times to check the fit and given an all clear. He has had no back soreness so I do believe that he is comfortable in it. I have ridden in my trainers CWD and my leg is much better and I don’t have to fight for my position. It is not ideal IMO as I do find that CWD’s feel “thick.” Anywho, I am considering having the CWD rep out as well as Butet, Devocoux, and Voltaire to sit in some other models and see if they can change my saddle (I got it custom and only have had it 5 months).

I would really appreciate feedback if anyone has had similar issues with Voltaire and if anyone has had to send their saddle (any brand) back to factory for fit changes and if they had a good experience with it. Also, what has been some experiences with the other saddle brands I mentioned? I always shied away from CWD because of a reputation of having really hurt horses back and some questionable customer service but that may not be a prevalent as I have thought! I appreciate any and all feedback, THANK YOU!!

It sounds to me like the Voltaire doesn’t fit you so you are off balance, your leg is swinging and your horse is cranky.

Saddle fit matters for the rider as much as the horse, though pros are often better at coping with less than ideal fits. Most saddle fitters prioritize fit for horse, and leave it up to the rider and their coach to determine if the saddle fits the rider and improves their seat and position.

Many things combine to affect saddle fit for the rider. These include seat size, point of balance, stirrup bar placement, length of flap, angle of flap, and depth of seat. It can be hard for a beginner to evaluate saddle fit since they bounce around in everything. On the other hand intermediate riders can be very sensitive to saddle fit as their position can be messed up or improved so easily compared to a pro.

You need to start figuring out what works for you in a saddle including all the above. Realize that all the high end semi custom saddles have different configurations as put together for the original buyer, and can be ordered with different flaps etc so even two examples of the same brand and model can be quite different.

Once you know what you need in terms of seat size and depth and flap length and angle, you can figure out if your existing saddle can be tweaked or if you need a new one. It’s quite possible you could find a Voltaire configuration that gives you a stable seat.

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As above. Plus try shortening your stirrups. One hole too long and my lower leg gets a mind of its own…

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I tried to do a custom Voltaire but just couldn’t. Every one I tried put my leg behind me. Every Butet I’ve ever sat in put my leg where it should be. I am long from my knee to my ankle. Hope this is helpful somehow.

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I also have quite long legs. I think that it may come down to it just not working for me and my horse. From what I learned from an independent saddle fitter is that when the saddle was adjusted from the demo, they prioritized me over my horse. In an effort to get my leg forward and my upper body more upright they adjusted the saddle and it sits too far back for my horse now so it was a mistake as they tried to make it work and it made it worse now for my horse as well and no better for me. I guess they just work for some people/horses and not others🤷‍♀️

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The saddle technically fits me in that seat size, flap, and a level seat when on the horse all check out and I can use the saddle on other horses just fine with zero issues. I can ride in it, but it means a lot of force and muscle to keep my leg forward, it doesn’t allow me to sit naturally and relaxed when on my own horse. I had the fitting with a Voltaire rep, and rode in a few different models. We used the temporary fill/shims at fitting and with that it all felt good which is why I went ahead with the purchase.

Well, if you can ride ok in this saddle on other horses then it does not sit right on your horse and is likely pitching you forward. Did his topline change between measuring and delivery of saddle? Can you get a real independent saddle fitter out, not a brand Rep, to assess? Perhaps if you tried some shims you might be able to figure out where the fit issue is and have the panels tweaked.

Have you had the rep back out to compare why the setup at the fitting worked but this setup does not? Voltaire is actually good at modifying panels so if your rep can figure it out, they may be able to salvage it.

I had a CWD, and it made my horse back sore and was incredibly heavy. CWD tried to repanel and made it worse not better. Switched to a Voltaire and it put my leg in a solid position and made my horse so much happier. Bought a new horse, and repaneled with good results. I’ve had excellent customer service from Voltaire, so if you otherwise like the saddle, get with your rep and see what can be done.

I agree with others- it’s probably the balance of how it fits your horse AND yourself. It might fit both of you reasonably well, but something is off about the combination. I got my Voltaire custom to my horse and loved it. Great fit for both of us. When he was out of commission I started using it in other horses at my barn, and the balance was sooo different with each horse. I briefly leased a horse and although the fit was satisfactory on her, I STRUGGLED to maintain a half seat at the canter, which is something I haven’t struggled with since I was a teen. The balance was just off for me and that particular horse. Thankfully, it works great for both me and my new guy, but if it didn’t I definitely would have my rep out to see what could be done.

My Voltaire made most of my horses backs quite sore

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I have had both a custom CWD and custom Voltaire for my TB. The CWD never fit him, and neither saddle was ever properly balanced for me. The chafing was painful and I came to loathe both saddles. When I decided to switch brands, I told the Voltaire rep I needed a wider seat and a wider twist. I got neither. When I retired my TB, I had the panels swapped out for pro panels and rode school horses in it. Never could get the balance right, except on one horse I tried when I was shopping. The Voltaire is a decent fit on my WB, but needs 5 cm lift in back. It’s okay, but I still struggle with it.

It turns out CWD does make a saddle with wider seat and twist, and that’s the Mademoiselle, which is 7 or 8 thousand dollars. Why is it so much more to make a comfy saddle?

The other gripe I have about both companies is the reps told me the saddles hurt my lady parts because the seat needed breaking in and recommended daily slathering with conditioner and massaging of the seat. As a result, both saddles stained my breeches and the massaging did nothing to reduce the discomfort.

I will probably end up with a used Mademoiselle at some point. It is a really nice saddle to ride in.

I’m the opposite, long from knee to hip, and the Voltaire Palm Beach is a dream. The Stuttgart however does not work for me at all.

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That saddle feels like a dressage saddle to me. I couldn’t two point in it.

I have two I am potentially selling lol :slight_smile:

I sent my saddle back to Voltaire as my horse’s body changed and the balance was really off (throwing me forward). I could hardly two-point.

It took a few weeks but when it came back it was perfect.

Then after I lost my horse to colic, I sent it back again to swap the custom FIN panels for pro-panels. It first most horses quite well and I’m pretty happy with it.

The first time it went through the fitter. The second time I took it to them at WEF.

I just had mine fitted. The guys at Voltaire were excellent to deal with and I’ve always had great service; I have a young horse that is changing shape and the fitter and I worked together to make a plan for him. Turnaround was a couple of weeks and they even left me a loaner as I had a show coming up in case they got behind. Nothing but good to say about the Voltaire crew!

Feel free to PM me the details.