Stubben Quality/Supply Chain Issues?

Edit 11/19: the tree size appears correct, but the panels are not. Stubben is ordering new panels, which will hopefully resolve our fit issue. I’m pleasantly surprised by how helpful they’ve been and am hoping — but pessimistic, ‘cause that’s how I roll — everything will work out.

Has anyone purchased a custom Stubben during the pandemic and had issues with materials or fit? I recently received a long-awaited saddle, and am pretty underwhelmed.

I opted for standard leather, assuming the deluxe option would be too high maintenance. I anticipated something along the lines of old Stubben or Crosby leather — or even current Collegiate/Toulouse leather. The leather, however, has a decidedly plastic feel. I’m curious whether this is due to supply shortages or just how it’s supposed to be.

(I didn’t ask for swatches, so that’s on me.)

My saddle is also too wide, which makes me suspect it was mis-stamped. The fitter is coming out soon to figure out what’s going on.

Possibly a silly question, but has anyone received a mis-stamped saddle? I know the factories are swamped.

Not a saddle, but I am extremely underwhelmed with Stubben leather goods in general. I had a bridge breastplate where the buckles turned green and the leather has never felt “right”.

The saddles that I have sat in were pretty… meh as well. Even with the premium leather.

It is not related to the pandemic. I had this issue back in 2016/2017 and the problem spanned until 2019 when I finally retired the saddle. Their quality control is not that great in custom work and by most accounts I’ve seen online, their custom work rarely fits… Which falls in line with my experience also. Don’t mistake your rep for a qualified (knowledgeable) fitter - even if they have some sort of “fitting” experience. They take a 2 week course to learn how to fit a saddle to clients. They’re really not knowledgeable and by no means should be advising clients on the purchase and fit of saddles that cost in excess of $4,500…

I have a custom Stubben saddle that:
A. Never fit my horse
B. the stitching lacing the panels to the monoflap disintegrated within the first three months of it being made.

I gave up trying to get Stubben NA to make it right. The rep said it was okay the saddle bridged, and Stubben NA defended the rep. The rep somehow didn’t notice the panel was unstitched from the flap too.

I used to be more mum about my poor experience, thinking it was a one off, but I found out a lot of other people in my area (Area 1) have been in the same boat. FYI – the Stubben rep advised this particular horse needed a narrow tree… he is in a MW Black Country. He has never been – and never will be – a narrow horse through his shoulders and back.

You couldn’t pay me to do business with Stubben NA after this. I do love the saddle - it fits me well and I think the leather itself is durable… it just doesn’t fit my horse.

I tried a second hand almost new Stubben Roxanne about 6 or 7 years ago. After mad cow messed up the leather supply in Europe. The saddle leather was OK but the billets were wierd coated leather. Saddle didn’t fit my horse so I never went forward with modern Stubbens.

I have a couple of second hand Stubben bridles that I love and have better leather than any other black strap goods I’ve seen but they are not current vintage.

I follow an American East Coast Stubben dealer who offers online fitting tips which is sometimes useful and sonetimes wrong. I would not work with her based on her online presence.

That’s just awful. Did they even offer to repair the stitching?

The saddle leather definitely has an odd, coated feel, as do the billets. Hopefully that will equate to durability, at least.

No. Once the rep had my money it was very hard to get in contact with her. I brought my horse an hour out of my way to her farm in a different state to have her fix the bridging. She shrugged it off and blamed the girth. I stupidly bought the girth she said would fix the issue and his symptoms of back soreness got worse.

I hope you can get the saddle to fit your horse. I’m surprised you mentioned it is too wide – I’ve heard that Stubben “fitters” tend to want the tree to fit more closely/narrow than traditional, and have seen a lot of people selling their custom saddles because they are way too narrow for the horse.

I have a few Stubben bridles I love as well - it was part of the reason I went for a custom Stubben saddle. My faith in that company was that it could make a quality, long-lasting product – as that’s how my older saddles and bridles from the company have been.

P.S My billets came coated as well but they have broken in and look fantastic. I think it’s just a protective sealant since that part of the leather gets the most stress and wear.

Thank you.

The saddle is supposed to be narrow, which is why I’m wondering about a mis-stamping at the factory. My horse is a County N and a Black Country M, so a narrow shouldn’t be sitting on his withers.

@BootsAndCoffee

I dont like coated leather because it can hide all kinds of sins underneath. And it’s done on crap leather. And it doesn’t age nicely. I have a lot of leather shoes, and I’ve learned that once coated leather shoes scuff you can never polish them up nice. Whereas proper tanned leather, you can buff out scuffs. Usually it’s ladies shoes in fun colors that are coated because you can’t get true bright colors in tanned leather. My black and brown shoes tend to be tanned not coated.

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I have never met someone who has had a good experience with stubben. Me included. It’s too bad because I think they are fabulous looking saddles when you don’t really want to buy a couch for your horses back, but I had such a poor experience that I don’t even trust their used saddles.

I’m honestly shocked the brand is still around.

Whenever someone says they were looking into stubben, I tell them to get a passier instead.

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According to Stubben’s website, “We start with the selecting of the finest full grain, vegetable tanned, analine dyed, German cowhide. Full grain for longevity and durability. Vegetable tanned and analine dyed for retention of suppleness and natural qualities.”

I know a handful of people IRL who have custom ordered Stubbens in the last handful of years and had no complaints.

I had a fitting with a Stubben rep/fitter last week. I rode in the 1894, which comes standard with the deluxe leather and I didn’t note any peculiarities in it or any of the other saddles I saw. My pony went fabulously in the demo, and I’m preparing to put in an order for a new one this week.

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Is this rep also a certified fitter? Can you get any second opinions on what is suggested before you pull the trigger? I wouldn’t trust the fit off of a single demo ride. Any way you can go for a trial for a month? Just don’t want you to end up with a saddle you can’t ride in like the rest of us.

My horse (17.2, 1300lb, 84 blanket, yuge and wide) went spectacularly in a MN tree, demo Stubben Zaria. I thought it was strange because he’d always been a MW in any brand I tried him in, but he seemed to go great in this saddle… I let the Stubben “fitter” talk me out of what my common sense knew: there was no way a MN could fit my horse… she said it was because Stubbens “run wider” and have a different fit, yada yada…

Turns out that single ride in the demo-saddle was just a honeymoon phase; the demo saddle fit differently enough it wasn’t bothering hotspots on his back from his old saddle so he felt much better… but once I rode him in the custom saddle that I ordered off of that demo for 2 weeks he was so violently sore over his shoulders (a new area for him) and back it was clear the saddle had never fit and never would.

Just my mileage.

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I appreciate that! I honestly don’t know if she’s certified, but at this point I’ve run through the available independent fitters that come here, and (tangent) I’m fed up with the poor customer service. I don’t think there is any trial option available. Pony has an old Prestige that fits relatively well right now, but I won’t give their rep/fitter here any more business and I don’t love the saddle for myself. He went similarly in both the Prestige and the 1894, doesn’t have any current saddle-related soreness (confirmed by his body worker) and is as fit as he has ever been so isn’t likely to change shape much in the near future. This rep has been in this area for years and has a good reputation, so I feel like I’ve covered as many bases as I reasonably can (given what’s available). What the rep recommended is in line with what other fitters have advised for him, so I am hopeful that it won’t be another one of these disaster saddle stories!

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:wave:
Here I am.
Bought a Portos new through Dover in 1985.
It fit everything I rode for the next 25yrs:
A variety of schoolies (bought the saddle before I got a horse) Schoolbus QH I leased & my own cobby TB, DH’s compact TWH & later my ginormous - 17h+ - TWH.
Did not fit my 17’3 WB - he of Mount Withers, objected to fit, even with a lift back pad.
So in 2011 I contacted a Stubben Rep from a state over, referred through Stubben NA.
She came to me with at least a dozen saddles to try.
I rode in 4 or 5 before settling on the Maestoso model that was comfortable for me & made an immediate difference in the way my horse rode.
Made it semi-custom by eliminating the modest thigh blocks & knee rolls it came with.
Pencil rolls & no thigh blocks for me.
Saddle came 6wks later, exactly as ridden, with my changes.
Bonus extras of full-size Stubben saddle soap & Hamanol conditioner.

Fit horse from Day One.
I lost him 4yrs later & saddle now fits my 16H TWH w/o modification.
He is gaited, but does trot & won his Intro test 4yrs ago.

Leather is lovely & has stood up to living in my unheated, open-to-elements home barn with only occasional cleaning, usually after a sweaty ride.

Sorry to hear others’ bad experiences with Stubben NA.

Here we are this May in the Maestoso:
(yes, I know :roll_eyes: No helmet - left on a fencepost at home :persevere:)

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Among other things my fitter did, they said the same thing.
17.2h 1400lb OTTB. He’s got a big wither but is one wide dude. He was going in a MW Pessoa. Stubben fitter came out, claimed he was a MN (with no measurements taken, mind you). I said there was no way, and she gave me the same “they run wide” explanation.
Let’s just say my horse told me in no uncertain terms that the saddle did not fit.
I trotted around the arena once and got off. She asked ‘didn’t I want to jump something?’ I said no, the saddle didn’t fit.
She claimed she didn’t have anything else in stock and left. And then billed me $175 for the privilege.

This was one of the lesser things she did that really pissed me off.

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That’s just bizarre. Why wouldn’t a fitter have a few tree sizes available? My fitter had multiple sizes, and we shimmed up since my horse is only big where the tree doesn’t factor in.

I really don’t know. At the time I took it as that she was mad at me that I had disagreed with her on the saddle fitting my horse, so she left.

But there were some other weird things she did. She liked to tell her clients that the used saddle they were trying out/purchasing belonged to a BNT previously. Which was stupid, because you could spend about 30 seconds googling to know said BNT was sponsored by a completely different company.
She had advertised a really good deal on used demo saddles online. I called and specifically asked if she had the ones in my size left. She said yes, and I booked her to come out. When she arrived she had no demo saddles because she had ‘forgotten them at home’ (yeah right) but did have a few used (said BNT saddle) and of course her demos for custom saddles, which I tried but she claimed she only had in MN.

I didn’t purchase from her. But I knew others who did and others who purchased from other Stubben reps and the saddles came with serious quality control issues. Terrible irregular stitching, huge leather color variations, flaps that were different sizes, Etc. I heard of one person, who on their third ride in their new saddle had the whole billet just rip out with their girth. The quality of Stubbens of the past is no more.

About a week later a passier rep came out. Leather quality was lovely, the rep took astute measurements, and even loaned me a saddle for free to try it. I didn’t end up getting one (sadly that horse decided to have a series of unfortunate events for about 2 years) but in the future they are definitely high up there on my list.

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Just to chime in with a good experience, I have a newer Portos Elite (5 or 6 years old) with the deluxe leather. Bought it direct from Stubben’s website on the recommendation of a friend who is a rep, though she made nothing off the sale. It has fit an amazing variety of horses over the years and is holding up beautifully. I’ve just noticed a tiny bit of separation at the very bottom of the flap where my stirrup leathers lie, so I think I will get a panel placed there to reinforce it by my local tack repair spot. But honestly… besides that it’s in fantastic condition and I don’t baby it. I’m sad to hear they’re having quality control issues because I’d buy another again in a heartbeat!

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The nice thing about the 1894 is it’s a stock saddle- they don’t make custom versions, which keeps the price much lower. If you want a few more rides in the saddle to see if it really works, SmartPak offers a trial in their “Test Ride” program.

Add me to the list of people who had fit and repair issues with our local “recommended by a lot of people” Stubben sales rep.

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Right, it’s basically just choosing a tree size, seat size and flap size from the offered configurations. The rest is cosmetic choices - and of course then having someone that is competent to adjust the flocking as needed.

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