Yet Another Saddle Choice Question - Delgrange, Antares, CWD

I’ll start off by apologizing for bringing this topic up again. I have sifted through all of the other related forums on here and haven’t quite found an answer.

TL;DR - Was convinced to buy a Butet saddle that didn’t fit my horse (AT ALL), trying to find a new one that will fit a warmblood with WIDE shoulders with a convex (I think) and a short but wide wither. Any advice appreciated!


I have always ridden in Butet saddles. Recently my horse’s body worker/massage therapist said my saddle was starting to get a bit tight behind my horse’s shoulders. I have also been wanting a new one for myself for some time as this one just hasn’t felt right with this horse. So I immediately called the rep out.

I purchased a new Butet, trusting the rep. that it fit my horse. We weren’t able to test it over jumps because my trainer was away. In the meantime I paid for the saddle because it felt good for me.

When my trainer got back we had a jumping lesson that went terribly. My horse was a tad wild - spooking at nothing, stopping mid canted and doing these weird spin bucks which he had never done before. We just thought maybe it was because he hadn’t jumped in a few weeks and was fresh. The second lesson a few days later was worse. He was upset and doing more spins and being backed off of jumped - not like him at all. He’s a sensitive horse and let’s you know when something hurts so I figured it must be the saddle. My trainer checked it and sure enough, it was digging in to my poor boy’s shoulders. :frowning: A few days later I tried my trainer’s saddle (Antares) over jumps and had ZERO issues. In fact, he felt the best he’d felt in a while. Although it wasn’t the best fit for me.

I was so upset I did this to him and should have known better to question the rep more. I now see how much of a pushover I am.

From what I am reading online no Butet saddle will fit him because of his build. And I don’t think I can trust the rep now.

I tried some CWD’s and I don’t know how I feel about them. The rep said I couldn’t trial them either because they were the only ones he had for testing. He did agree to come back with them when I had my jumping lesson. But I am very nervous that I am just going to get sold a bill of goods again and buy an ill-fitting saddle.

In my area saddle fitters are being booked 2+ months in advance so I can’t coordinate a time to have one come out at the same time as trialling saddles.

I am going to try Antares and Delgrange as well but just don’t know what I should be looking at for fit behind the shoulder. I know there should be some contact but how much is too much?

Sorry for the semi-rant. I am very frustrated.

Any help or advice is greatly appreciated!!

First, if your trainer’s Antares fits him (and ask your trainer if he/she thinks it actually fits, or is just ok), that gives you good information to go on. Find out what the panel configuration is and that’s a good starting point. Also ask your trainer if there are other saddles in your barn that might fit your horse that you could sit on him, or test out, to further narrow down the options. Your trainer may not be a saddle fitter but they should at least be able to help you better zero in on what might work.

If you get at least some idea of what might work, you could also try some of the good used saddle places like Highline Tack - they can tell you what might work from their inventory, and you can take them on trial and then you would know exactly what you are getting and that it would work. Jump Saddles | Highline Tack Personally, if I needed a fairly common configuration, I would much rather buy a used one that I know fits than have to roll the dice on a custom order. As you’ve learned, whether the rep is good or not makes a huge difference on how those custom orders turn out.


One problem with this is that you don’t yet know of the Antares actually fits well, or if it just fit better enough that it felt good, for now. It’s like moving from shoes that are too tight due to 2 socks, which is painful, but if you remove pair and just have one, but it’s still too small, it still feels really good relative to the old fit, at least for a while.

Your best option is finding an independent saddle fitter who is familiar with a LOT of brands. Some tack shops have good fitters, not all do.

Your trainer knowing the Butet is a poor fit, isn’t the same skill as knowing the Antares is or isn’t a great fit. I have no idea your trainer’s qualifications, don’t take that wrong, just know that knowing something obviously doesn’t fit, isn’t the same as knowing when something is a great fit.

If you are a good enough rider to continue riding in your trainer’s saddle AND that’s an option, keep doing that for now

Short wide withers, and wide shoulders, sounds like you should be looking at the likes of an open A tree- Prestige, Black Country, mayyybe County, are some examples. Are any of those around you could try?


Redwood Tack is another really helpful store w lots of inventory. Agree with those saying buy used - if your horse hates it in 6 months (or changes shape) it’s much less painful.

IMEX the CWD panel seems to come up high around the wither, which may be an issue for you. If your horse liked the Antares for one ride, try finding a different seat shape that works for you and ride a few times.

If you have access to an independent saddle fitter, or can buy or rent a Port Lewis Impression Pad, try those.

1 Like

Thank you for your reply!

Blockquote One problem with this is that you don’t yet know of the Antares actually fits well, or if it just fit better enough that it felt good, for now.

No, my trainer isn’t an expert saddle fitter or anything like that. It just appeared to fit better as in it wasn’t digging into the back of his shoulders after riding around. But I definitely agree that I don’t think it was a perfect fit, just fit better than the Butet (anything probably would have been).

The trouble with independent saddle fitters where I am is that none look at the horse while in motion. They just come out, do some measurements and say if it fits/ if it doesn’t or if a pad will help kind of thing. I have yet to meet someone who can measure a horse taking into account how the saddle fit might change when they move.

They also don’t seem to have a wide range of good quality saddles (if they do they sell quickly). All the reliable or well-known ones that hold their value are sold by independent reps.

Just to be clear I am not looking for brand name only but feel if I am spending $6K-8K on a saddle I would like it to fit my horse, me, and hold its value in case things change.

I did have a CWD rep out and he seemed more knowledgeable. From what I have read and heard it is the only french saddle that helps the fit of broad-shouldered horses but that’s according to sites on google so who knows.

I will definitely look into Prestige. I don’t think we have Black Country in Ontario but can ask around.

Thank you again!

1 Like

Thank you for the info! I will look into the Impression Pad for sure! That seems like a fantastic tool to have and worth the investment. Thank you!


it’s a no for me on the CWD. Did not fit my horse after I paid almost $7000 for it. of course the rep told me it did fit. now we have sore back issues so I got a Prestige from Redwood Tack & it fits great!

1 Like

If your horse isn’t board-flat in his back but also not a banana, I would try Prestige. Even if his back is shorter, their panels are upswept so stay out of the way. The bigger reason that brand might not fit is if his back muscling falls of into an A frame from his spine (not poor muscle, just his confo). But if he’s broader across his back, this works for that. I have no idea their used availability these days, but usually they aren’t toooo hard to find, and might be even easier to find now with all the FB tack groups. They are good quality, and hold resale value well.

t’s a no for me on the CWD. Did not fit my horse after I paid almost $7000 for it. of course the rep told me it did fit. now we have sore back issues so I got a Prestige from Redwood Tack & it fits great!

Good to know! Thank you!

1 Like

In my limited experience with Prestige, the width of the spine may be a problem from your description. But they can fit wide shoulders well.

With lower withers, I’d consider Voltaire as well. My broad shouldered horses have done fine in CWD (some of the models), but it’s so important to have a really good rep and to try out all the models.

If horse has curve to his back (which he might if the only problem with the Butet was the shoulder), consider Meyer. If you need a wider tree, also consider Equipe; I think their panels and tree points are pretty large shoulder friendly.

1 Like

My daughters horse has huge shoulders and is round and hard to fit. We got a CWD but the Madamoiselle Hunter (even though the horse is a jumper, this tree is wider) with really cut out panels. I could send you the serial number. It fits great, but was custom.

If you’re in so cal there’s a great independent saddle fitter.

Really? All the ones I’ve ridden in, both CC and Dressage, have had nice wide channels.

My last horse had a super wide spine, and the Prestige saddles I sat on him did not work in the channel especially toward the base of the withers (and were also too curved). He had very long withers unlike OP’s horse but a wide spine everywhere.

Butet C seat seems to follow a curved back. The paneling that works on my big shouldered horse is D,T, F I think. Double Oak Tack in Texas is also very good and really knowledgeable. I had very good luck w her long distance fitting; WAY better than the rep who did an in person fit…that didn’t. Hope this helps…good luck!

Thank you! :slight_smile:

I can confirm nothing but positive things to say about my experience with Bruno Delgrange. My gelding has a large shoulder, tall withers, and a bit of a divot/concavity behind the wither and the Virtuouse model fits him well.

There seems to be more used Bruno’s coming up now that they’ve been more popular again for a few years - you could probably find a good deal if it fits right

Thank you! I have contacted the Delgrange rep here with hopes of trying a few out soon. :slight_smile:

I hope you keep this updated! I have a leased TB, who was not liking his left lead. He would swap off it, and after putting several riders on him, I figured the common denominator was my Tad Coffin saddle. I was surprised because every other horse I’ve had seems to love my TC. In any event, I’ve been trying a graciously lent Antares for a week and problem is GONE.

Like you, I do not love the Antares for myself. It has a much wider twist than my TC or probably your Butet. But horse’s comfort is going to have to prevail.

Please let me know if you find any saddle alternatives to the Antares that your horse likes. I’m also wondering about a different Antares with a flatter seat. I don’t know if a narrower twist (the E seat on the Antares) will change the fit for him. My Antares tree is an M20 so I may need to stick with that. All I know is he loves this saddle, which is an Antares Classic (2006 year) with an M20 tree and L (medium) twist.

My horse’s conformation sounds perhaps like yours. However, he also has mild to moderate kissing spine right under the saddle. His back was injected about 3 weeks ago, which may be contributing to the fix. But putting him in the Antares was a night and day change, whereas the injections were not.