Kent and Masters Saddles

Olly's crew

Well-Known Member
Joined
21 July 2012
Messages
78
Location
west midlands
Okay thank you everyone. Unfortunately not the responses I was hoping for, I think I may scrap them off the list and hope that my Ideal can maybe be salvaged somehow! I really didn’t like Thorowgoods but that was years ago, they tipped me forward. I was thinking the K&M pony club saddle may have suited us- pony can only take 16/16.5” seat.
I have 2 ponies in Kent and Masters Pony club saddles, one 16'' the other 16.5''... I personally like them (my daughter originally used the 16.5'' on her cob and competed in dressage, show jumping and cross country with it. Only changed from the saddle because horse changed shape (Has another Kent and Masters haha). My husband has a 17'' Kent and Masters saddle S series. I can't get on with this one, and a number of my female friends have also said how uncomfortable it is :)
 

Tiddlypom

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 July 2013
Messages
17,623
Location
In between the Midlands and the North
Fairfax saddles are a massive improvement from K&M. I've had both. They are the top of the range and use the same interchangeable gullet plates.

Much closer fit and you sit 'in' a Fairfax, rather than 'on' a K&M. Oh, and the horse loves them too :).

Mine are Fairfax Classic saddles, so they are the entry level Fairfaxes.
 

poiuytrewq

Well-Known Member
Joined
3 April 2008
Messages
12,995
Location
Cotswolds
Okay thank you everyone. Unfortunately not the responses I was hoping for, I think I may scrap them off the list and hope that my Ideal can maybe be salvaged somehow! I really didn’t like Thorowgoods but that was years ago, they tipped me forward. I was thinking the K&M pony club saddle may have suited us- pony can only take 16/16.5” seat.
I have had K and M, Thorowgood and now an Ideal.
I liked the TG at the time and thought I was “upgrading” with the Kant and Masters. Hated it. I always felt tilted forward and out of balance.
My Ideal is an ancient Impala monoflap and I just love it. The other 2 just can’t compare.
 

Olly's crew

Well-Known Member
Joined
21 July 2012
Messages
78
Location
west midlands
I think that of you are after 16'' and 16.5'' you will have the added complication that many saddles start at 17''. I know ideal do some in 16.5 but smaller than that is a challenge in our experience
 

McFluff

Well-Known Member
Joined
19 April 2014
Messages
1,581
It’s fascinating (in a rather expensive way!) how saddles can suit different people.

I tried a K&M - thought it looked nice, horse was a bit meh about it, I hated it. It put me in a chair seat (dressage saddle) and I was sore fighting it.
My friend has one on her pony. she and her pony both suit it. I didnt get on with it when I rode her pony (even though it fits him). Others on the yard find it ok. So I must be a weird shape!

I got an ideal made to measure for a previous horse. It was a different league, and a very nice saddle. Sadly it didn’t fit my new horse so I sold it. The quality was lovely.

Saddle fitting really is an art as there are so many variables to consider. It takes a bit of luck to get something that fits horse, rider AND budget.
 

Pinkvboots

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 August 2010
Messages
15,245
Location
Hertfordshire
Thanks everyone. I've read through the thread again and there seems to be a really mixed bag of answers. I think I may un-score them out, worth a try. They do seem to have a good re-sell price too so I suppose that's a bonus if it didn't work out.
Ideal do an adjustable saddle now but it's a new model and you probably won't see any second hand yet.

What sort of horse do you have?
 

ElleSkywalker

Well-Known Member
Joined
9 March 2011
Messages
10,334
Location
Tiny farm some where in UK
Not read all the replies, and the main caveat is that most brands and models have horses they work for, and fitters that make them work well. In quality terms they're not like Ideal, completely different, mainly produced abroad and assembled here and certainly used to have batches with quality issues, though I've not heard of any for a while. Ideal are a bench made saddle and should be (not been to the workshop!) assembled by one person, K&M are generally assembled on more of a production line. Doesn't mean they're not decent value, but be aware of what you're buying.

They are partly popular because they are the main brand for training SMS fitters, to be an SMS fitter you have to stock a wide range of English brand (not necessarily genuinely English made) saddles. The SMS has been a body for saddle MAKERS for a long time, they added fitters on, and it is used to support English saddle making. If you've been trained on them, you'll want to fit them.

I fit very differently and am not a fan (but then I only fit two brands, brands I love!).
Has something changed recently then because when I worked for them ALL TG, K&M and Fairfax saddles were bench made in England? Yes even the synthetic ones. Apologies if that has changed.
 

Fjord

Well-Known Member
Joined
19 July 2009
Messages
1,066
I've got a K&M cob GP, it suits my girl well. She can only take a 17" and I'm 5'7", so it's not perfect for me but I find it comfortable enough. The leather still looks pretty good and I've had it a few years. They are well worth a try, they aren't fancy but they are functional and good quality for the price.
 

sbloom

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 September 2011
Messages
6,816
Location
Suffolk
I think that of you are after 16'' and 16.5'' you will have the added complication that many saddles start at 17''. I know ideal do some in 16.5 but smaller than that is a challenge in our experience
I think that's true of many saddle fitters too, it's a no mans land for so many brands it makes it difficult to carry stock. I fit more 16.5"s than any other size, by far - short backs for the native brand I fit, and short pelvises for the rider focused brand.

Has something changed recently then because when I worked for them ALL TG, K&M and Fairfax saddles were bench made in England? Yes even the synthetic ones. Apologies if that has changed.
This has come from any/every contact I have in Walsall where the saddles have been mentioned, I have not been to the factory to know from direct experience.
 

ElleSkywalker

Well-Known Member
Joined
9 March 2011
Messages
10,334
Location
Tiny farm some where in UK
This has come from any/every contact I have in Walsall where the saddles have been mentioned, I have not been to the factory to know from direct experience.
The website still says made in England, and unless they have changed the process, which I have seen many times, including the cutting of all parts of the saddle in the factory, I think you are mistaken. Happy to be corrected by someone who has been there lately.
 

sbloom

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 September 2011
Messages
6,816
Location
Suffolk
The website still says made in England, and unless they have changed the process, which I have seen many times, including the cutting of all parts of the saddle in the factory, I think you are mistaken. Happy to be corrected by someone who has been there lately.
You could well be right, as I say it wasn't from just one person, and was from people knowledgeable of the industry otherwise I'd have not stuck my neck out.

There are definitely saddles that are made abroad and have just enough done to them here to qualify as English made.
 

holeymoley

Well-Known Member
Joined
18 November 2012
Messages
3,736
Olly's crew said:[/URL said:
I think that of you are after 16'' and 16.5'' you will have the added complication that many saddles start at 17''. I know ideal do some in 16.5 but smaller than that is a challenge in our experience
It's the Pony Club saddle I'm after which starts at 15"- 16.5" I think. Pony is 14hh, I'm 5ft 1 size 8-10 so luck is on our side with that.

I've discovered another livery has the Thorowgood version of the Pony club saddle and has offered me to try it so that's really kind if for any reason saddle fitter doesn't have one to try on fitting.
 

ElleSkywalker

Well-Known Member
Joined
9 March 2011
Messages
10,334
Location
Tiny farm some where in UK
From their website. This was the case when I worked there and I have seen the whole process, for TG saddles as well. The staff are all SMS qualified. I suspect as one of the biggest rivals of the saddles you fit there is a degree from your contacts of wanting to play the quality down. This was true when I worked there too and many many times had to explain that yes the saddles were UK made, as the myth they were imported was prevelent then too. I can assure you at that time they very much were not.

Again happy to be corrected by someone who has been to the factory lately. I have not spoken to anyone there for a very long time, and have no current contact with them, but I don't like seeing incorrect information about English company being stated as fact. Screenshot_20220117-095804.png
 

sbloom

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 September 2011
Messages
6,816
Location
Suffolk
If it had only been from one person I'd have dismissed it, but am more than happy that I have been correctly corrected!
 
Last edited:
Joined
24 November 2010
Messages
24,675
Location
The yard, home or coal face.....
From their website. This was the case when I worked there and I have seen the whole process, for TG saddles as well. The staff are all SMS qualified. I suspect as one of the biggest rivals of the saddles you fit there is a degree from your contacts of wanting to play the quality down. This was true when I worked there too and many many times had to explain that yes the saddles were UK made, as the myth they were imported was prevelent then too. I can assure you at that time they very much were not.

Again happy to be corrected by someone who has been to the factory lately. I have not spoken to anyone there for a very long time, and have no current contact with them, but I don't like seeing incorrect information about English company being stated as fact. View attachment 85990
The SMS qualified fitter who is also a master saddler that i had last summer assured me they were then still UK made, and he was getting a trifle annoyed about ill-truths being bandied around stating they were foreign, so ESW you are correct to that date which was last August :)
They are a reasonable budget saddle, marmite as love them or hate them (IMHO)
 

sbloom

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 September 2011
Messages
6,816
Location
Suffolk
The SMS qualified fitter who is also a master saddler that i had last summer assured me they were then still UK made, and he was getting a trifle annoyed about ill-truths being bandied around stating they were foreign, so ESW you are correct to that date which was last August :)
They are a reasonable budget saddle, marmite as love them or hate them (IMHO)
Don't worry, I won't be saying it again, I had it from multiple good authorities. I would edit my post if I could, though it's been quoted so wouldn't do much good anyway. And I will add that they're absolutely not a competitor (to @ElleSkywalker), not in any way shape or form, or no more than any other random saddle brand. I have no skin in the game.

Otherwise I hope I have been very fair to them and know plenty that get on very well with them.
 
Last edited:

bubsqueaks

Well-Known Member
Joined
16 July 2015
Messages
607
We had one so called fitted by local saddler - rubbish fit - tipped forward - trouble is changing headplate doesnt adjust the gullet which is far too narrow to fit the back correctly - cheap & imo a con sorry
 
Top