I have a 5 year old warmblood that I need to find a saddle for, to be blunt, he is built like a couch which has caused me to have some problems finding a saddle that fits. He is very wide and doesn’t have much whither height. I currently have a cwd that I enjoy riding in (not on him - it doesn’t fit) but I’m looking for recommendations for saddles that are wool flocked, and have a very wide gullet as he’s a big boy, both in height and width. Ideally I’d like to have a fitter come out and look at him so that I could try different saddles on him, so if anyone knows of any independent (or otherwise) saddle fitter located around southern BC please let me know. I haven’t been saddle shopping since 2014 so I’m feeling a little overwhelmed at where to start so any brand recommendations or stories fitting a similar horse are appreciated! Also please do not recommend saddle brands that have blocks, just a personal preference! Thank you in advance!
My first thought is Black Country for wool flocked and wide; I believe they even offer a hoop tree.
If you like the feel of/how you ride CWD/French saddles in general, maybe look at Amerigo or Equipe. Amerigo is wool and Equipe is foam, I believe, but they have a range of trees.
Nothing against Black Country—but what I will say is that English made saddles have a different ride than the French or Swiss made saddles. Some people love it, some people don’t.
I personally like the balance of County vs Black Country, if we’re talking only British made saddles.
I will also say—saddles are a deeply personal choice. For every story of “BLANK is the absolute best” there will be an absolute worst story to balance
Interesting, I found my friends BC to be every bit as comfortable and soft as my CWD, and it fit my horse better lol. But, you are right that there are differences, and some adjustment should be expected.
@shoal, if you are in Canada, I would check out Shleese. They are based in Canada and have wide gullet saddles and are very focused on fit for both horses and riders.
@Pokerface yeah I should clarify: when I say “feel,” I mean the balance point and twist I found to be different. Even though the saddle I tried fit my horse great, I was struggling so much that it was a moot point. But I know lots of folks who feel differently about BC!
It sounds like he needs a hoop tree. There’s a lot of good threads on here about hoop tree brands. Sadly there are pretty much no French saddle brands who make hoop tree saddles. (CWD used to offer a XXW tree that was a hoop tree, but I don’t know if they still do).
English saddle brands (like previously mentioned Black Country) are probably your best bet.
Another option is to try the Tad Coffin saddles; they are pretty wide and sometimes will fit horses with no withers.
Thank you everyone! I hadn’t ever heard of a hoop tree so I’m off to check them out! He’s currently going in an intrepid with an adjustable tree but it doesn’t look like it’s going to work long term for him unfortunately.
Alright so it looks like he’ll be able to go in a wide tree if the channel is wide enough, and it has an over 5" gullet. Are there any French Brands that make saddles like that? I’ve found equipe can work but I’m not finding anything used that could fit, it seems like all the french saddles I’m finding are medium or medium/wide with 4.5" gullets. Any advice on where to look? TIA
There are some Butets w a 5” gullet. Try Highline Tack, Double Oak Tack and Redwood Tack. They are all helpful over the phone.
I did end up checking them out and they do have a nice selection, the equipe at highline is the one I’m currently eyeing, however, I’m in Canada so I wouldn’t be able to take them on trial unfortunately.
I think there is a used saddle dealer in Canada with a lot of Equipes (saw online when I was looking for a specific model). They tend to run a bit roomier in the trees than French brands, and you could look for a +1 or +2 tree for MW-W.
If he doesn’t have much in the way of withers, then that fit should be easier, and you’ll need to determine what kind of curve he’s got to his back if any. Equipe models run from very flat to very curvy. My guess is your couch fella (having a couch with high withers of my own) might do better with a flatter tree, in which case you’d probably do better with the carbon line models.
I ended up finding an equipe that hopefully will work! It does have a wide tree and gullet so fingers crossed! Luckily my guy doesn’t have much for withers so I’m hoping that will help us out!
If that doesn’t work (though I’ve heard great things about the brand) I would try a newer Tad Coffin with the SmartRide tree, the A5 model. They seem to fit that build very well - but they don’t work for every rider.
I really like my custom Ideal saddle (made in England). It wasn’t overly expensive ($3500 or so cnd), has great quality leather, and I find it very comfortable. I bought it to fit my big shouldered, sausage shaped saddlebred.
Mini-hijack, how far does $2k take you in the saddle market today? Specifically on the used side of things.
Last time I saddle shopped I was on a $1k at best college student budget and Facebook steals were my cup of tea. About to start looking for something now for my new long term half lease, riding her in my trainer’s CWD for now but I probably need to find my own eventually, and I can afford to spend a little more - don’t know where to start!
Take a look at Meyer saddles. A trainer friend of mine said that her wide-backed horses have gone absolutely night and day (better) in those versus her CWDs.
I ended up buying 2, and like them on my horses, but all of my horses are relatively narrow and I have felt little difference between my CWD and my Meyers from the horse’s reaction perspective. The reason I switched is because my CWD suddenly started shifting sideways and slipping back and after already having the tree replaced once and having the CWD rep tell me it was AOK, I had to find an alternative. I still absolutely adore it (even more than the Meyers from a comfort-for-me level).
But as much as I adore my CWD, I refuse to buy another because I am utterly and completely offended by the pricing. So on another good point, my Meyers were in the $2500-$3k range used (and basically new-used), and are not as horrifically overpriced as some of the other rip-off…err…I mean brands…
What does a brand new CWD cost? (Range)
I haven’t looked in a few years, and CWD is one that every little thing is an “upgrade” so the base price is never what you spend. That said, I LOVED my early 2000’s CWD.
I believe they start around $6500 USD, but most people I know (barn was sponsored, most riders had a new one) spent around $9k, depending on the model and leather.
Thanks for the info. Need a new show saddle, trainer recommending a custom CWD. I don’t even jump
Nope nope nope. Even if CWD consistently fit horses well (they don’t) or came as ordered (also no), the price tag alone isn’t worth it. Used, or something less astronomical will be just as nice and much better fitting!