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Recommended Saddles: Manufacturers and Makers

By: Galadriel Billington

6:03PM Dec 21, 2006


I don't recommend any particular saddle brand. A good saddle is dependent upon three factors: the quality of the materials, the quality of the design, and the quality of the assembly. Even saddles which are normally good can turn out a bad saddle on occasion, if the person doing the saddle assembly wasn't paying attention well enough.

An otherwise good saddle is absolutely ruined by poor assembly. Here's an example (click the link):
Stubben Edelweiss in for repair

That saddle was made of lovely materials and made by a manufacturer with a very good reputation. Yet that saddle was put together in a way that made it terribly uncomfortable for the horse, and made the rider sit off-center. Typically such assembly flaws also lead to eventual twisting of the tree; the rider sits off center, pulls heavily on one stirrup, and warps the tree. In this case, the owner was lucky. She hadn't yet used it enough to twist the tree. It was nearly new!

Any saddle company can put out a poor saddle. It's impossible to make an all-encompassing recommendation of any saddle company. Even a skilled saddler can have an off day; even in companies where the employees are all attentive and responsible, it's possible to produce saddles that won't do your horse any favors.

Instead, examine each saddle independently. Ignore the name of the manufacturer; that may not matter. Check any saddle, used or new, to make sure that it's well-put together and that the right materials and design went into the saddle. For more discussion of evaluating the quality of the materials, design, and assembly, see chapter 2 of Saddle Fitting Essentials.
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2006 Galadriel Billington. All rights reserved.