Problems with Saddler - what to do?

Angelbones

Well-Known Member
Joined
6 April 2008
Messages
2,295
Location
East Sussex
to cut a very long story shortish - I have had my saddles fitted by someone (qualified / registered etc) and am not happy. My own horse's saddle - supplied by him - has been sent back to have the tree narrowed, it has been restuffed at least once, poss twice, and is still not right. My groom took my horse hunting on Christmas Eve and today told me that the horse had lumps either side of his withers afterwards - this is where he already has some new grey hairs from presumably where the saddle sat too low and tight before it was sent back last time. I am mortified that he has an 'injury' due to bad saddle fitting after having spent so much time and money on saddles/ pads / visits etc.

My daughter's pony's saddle was also bought from the same saddler, and has been refitted once, padding fiddled with etc, and recently had a balancing strap put on which resulted after only a couple of outings in a big (size of half an avocado) sore on his saddle patch where the hair fell out and the skin was raised and swollen, hence two weeks unridded. The saddler has been out to fit yet another saddle but nothing he brought with him was any good so we decided he would go back and source a particular one for us and ring that day with an update. Well I haven't heard from him and have now left two messages.

Obviously I have lost all faith in this man, and want to see the back of him, but I do need the saddles sorting out and I think he should be made to do it - although once he had I would then go and get another opinion. He has said he will swap pony's saddle for a replacement without any cost to me (the current saddle is only a few months old, and that itself is the 2nd one I've had for the pony from this man) so i don't want to ball him out and be left with a saddle I can't use.

Another complication is that he has at least 4 excellent used saddles of mine to sell which obviously I want back before I send him packing.

So what to do? Are there people I can complain to? A sort of ombudsman for saddlers?

I know I've got to get tough, and I'm not very good at that, and I should have kept detailed notes in the diary as I went along but each time he came and supplied a saddle (I've spent a fortune) I had then proceeded with things assuming all was well until it obviously wasn't.

So any ideas / similar experiences that may help me? How should I proceed and how tough should I be? I'm a wimp when it comes down to it.

thanks guys x
 

alwaysbroke

Well-Known Member
Joined
6 July 2008
Messages
4,561
Sorry to hear this, had problems years ago with a "made to measure " saddle, ended up going through Master Saddlers to try and sort the problem, but it took ages 6-8 mths to really get nowhere. I was told the saddle was worthless and wouldnt fit anything, but it then became a closed shop when I tried to take it futher.
Bare in mind its your horses that are suffering so you have every right to "get tough"
Cant suggest anything sorry, but hope you have better luck than me.
 

teddyt

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Joined
21 January 2009
Messages
4,786
You must complain to the SMS. It might not get you anywhere but complain anyway, it is important that they know.

Firstly though i would call in to the saddlery or get hold of the man on the phone and explain about the horses physical problems. Ask for your saddles back and ask for him to come out and see both your pony and horse so you can explain your issues. If he is not prepared to do this then ask for a refund. If he doesnt sort the saddles out to your satisfaction then ask for a refund.

TBH i would pay for a second opinion as well. Horses can change shape quickly, which isnt anyones fault but 2 horses with big lumps/white hairs rings alarm bells.

Stay polite, state your problems, get your money back and then go elsewhere. Then complain to the SMS.

Good luck
 

rlhnlk

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 January 2009
Messages
484
I once had massive problems with a qualified SMS registered saddler - he'd sold me a saddle that didn't really fit and once I got a proper look it wasn't the brand he had said it was. He arranged 2 visits and first apparently had his van stolen then broke his arm - both on the exact same days he was due to come out. He then wouldn't take calls from me. I spoke to the citizens advice bureua (SP?) and they said to write a letter sent recorded delivery with a time limit on stating that if we hadn't reached a satisfactory conclusion by the set date I would be involving trading standards. I got a call from him just over a week later to arrange a visit and I got a lovely barnsby saddle that fit at no extra cost.

Obviously this was the heavy handed approach but we had tried to be nice and it didn't work. Try phoning him, explain your concern, ask for your saddles to be returned and for a refund. If he messes about then speak to citizens advice and see what they say.
 

Dovorian

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Joined
1 December 2003
Messages
1,368
Location
under my umbrella
It sounds an awful situation for the horses and you!
I would take the letter approach, it seems that he either isn't committed to giving a good service to you, or he is just the most awful businessman! A carefully worded letter should help with either scenario. If you can get a second opinion that may help but it is hard to get anything in writing - I know, I've been there.
As for the SMS, when a member of the family had issues they were no help at all -I think we only received a holding letter. In that case the saddler retailer was sent a Solicitors letter because he had claimed to be supplying an Ideal when in fact it was a copy, made goodness knows whered.
Good luck - there are ways to get tough without being too hands on!
 

Nosey

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 June 2007
Messages
1,630
When i had a prob with a master saddler (which was identified by my horses physio so I had independent proof as it were) I rang the legal helpline on my horse insurance and followed their advice which initially was to make a formal complaint to the MD of the saddlery company. That might not work in your case if he is a one man band. It worked for me - got very good outcome.
Friend had a similar problem with fitting of an Amerigo saddle and went to Amerigo direct as couldn't get a satisfactory answer/service from the supplier. That could be an option as whoever manufactured your saddle probably wouldn't want to know that they were being sold / fitted incorrectly.
Good luck - what a worry for you.
confused.gif
 

Alec Swan

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Joined
20 October 2009
Messages
21,080
Location
Norfolk.
angelbones,

I really haven't the faintest idea how I found your query! I started off on the breeders forum, looked at who was reading what on line, and here we are.

Anyway, for 20 years I ran my own business as a manufacturing saddler, and no it isn't what I do any more, and no I don't want to either! I may, however be able to help you.

Firstly, assuming that your saddle is of English manufacture, and made of leather, then for anyone to suggest that they can "narrow" a tree, is simply not feasible. By the time that the whole thing has been stripped out, the head of the saddle tree crushed and then the body of the seat and panel put back together, it would be highly unlikely that the tree will still fit the panel. It simply wont fit, and the work involved will be equal to the cost of a new saddle.

A saddle tree when put, as the basic wood and steel structure, onto a horses back should be a perfect fit. If it fits perfectly through the complete arch, MAKING A COMPLETE CONTACT WITH THE HORSES BACK, then when the panel is fitted, all that it does is raise the tree up to an acceptable level above the horses back. There's little point in discussing the seat or the skirts, because they don't seem to be a problem.

If the front of a saddle is over stuffed, and it sounds as if yours has been, then it will probably have stretched the leather on the front points, and shouldn't be removed. The only answer is to re flock the whole panel, though it really isn't the answer.

If you would like to look at my sig, you will find my e/mail address. Take your saddle, put it on to the horse's back, with no sheet or numnah. Place the saddle in the position where you would have it sit. DON'T USE THE FRONT POINT FOR THE GIRTH STRAP. Photograph it, and then e/mail the pics to me.

I suspect that the saddle TREE was to narrow to start with, though I could be wrong. If you reply by using the forum from which you started this thread, I'll lose it. E/mail me!

Alec.
 

JulesT

Member
Joined
13 April 2015
Messages
19
angelbones,

I really haven't the faintest idea how I found your query! I started off on the breeders forum, looked at who was reading what on line, and here we are.

Anyway, for 20 years I ran my own business as a manufacturing saddler, and no it isn't what I do any more, and no I don't want to either! I may, however be able to help you.

Firstly, assuming that your saddle is of English manufacture, and made of leather, then for anyone to suggest that they can "narrow" a tree, is simply not feasible. By the time that the whole thing has been stripped out, the head of the saddle tree crushed and then the body of the seat and panel put back together, it would be highly unlikely that the tree will still fit the panel. It simply wont fit, and the work involved will be equal to the cost of a new saddle.

A saddle tree when put, as the basic wood and steel structure, onto a horses back should be a perfect fit. If it fits perfectly through the complete arch, MAKING A COMPLETE CONTACT WITH THE HORSES BACK, then when the panel is fitted, all that it does is raise the tree up to an acceptable level above the horses back. There's little point in discussing the seat or the skirts, because they don't seem to be a problem.

If the front of a saddle is over stuffed, and it sounds as if yours has been, then it will probably have stretched the leather on the front points, and shouldn't be removed. The only answer is to re flock the whole panel, though it really isn't the answer.

If you would like to look at my sig, you will find my e/mail address. Take your saddle, put it on to the horse's back, with no sheet or numnah. Place the saddle in the position where you would have it sit. DON'T USE THE FRONT POINT FOR THE GIRTH STRAP. Photograph it, and then e/mail the pics to me.

I suspect that the saddle TREE was to narrow to start with, though I could be wrong. If you reply by using the forum from which you started this thread, I'll lose it. E/mail me!

Alec.

Alec, sorry to jump a very old thread, but can I gain your assistance please?
I cannot find the link to send you an email or message.

Thank you
 

Alec Swan

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 October 2009
Messages
21,080
Location
Norfolk.
JulesT,

I've tried to send you a PM and give you an e/mail address, but you have 'Chosen not to accept Private Messages'!! Not much help! :)

Alec.
 

ester

Not slacking multitasking
Joined
31 December 2008
Messages
60,064
Location
Cambridge
Jules hasn't posted enough to accept PMs Alec, not their fault ;). I'm not sure what the min. is though.
 

applecart14

Well-Known Member
Joined
12 March 2010
Messages
6,269
Location
Solihull, West Mids
to cut a very long story shortish - I have had my saddles fitted by someone (qualified / registered etc) and am not happy. My own horse's saddle - supplied by him - has been sent back to have the tree narrowed, it has been restuffed at least once, poss twice, and is still not right. My groom took my horse hunting on Christmas Eve and today told me that the horse had lumps either side of his withers afterwards - this is where he already has some new grey hairs from presumably where the saddle sat too low and tight before it was sent back last time. I am mortified that he has an 'injury' due to bad saddle fitting after having spent so much time and money on saddles/ pads / visits etc.

My daughter's pony's saddle was also bought from the same saddler, and has been refitted once, padding fiddled with etc, and recently had a balancing strap put on which resulted after only a couple of outings in a big (size of half an avocado) sore on his saddle patch where the hair fell out and the skin was raised and swollen, hence two weeks unridded. The saddler has been out to fit yet another saddle but nothing he brought with him was any good so we decided he would go back and source a particular one for us and ring that day with an update. Well I haven't heard from him and have now left two messages.

Obviously I have lost all faith in this man, and want to see the back of him, but I do need the saddles sorting out and I think he should be made to do it - although once he had I would then go and get another opinion. He has said he will swap pony's saddle for a replacement without any cost to me (the current saddle is only a few months old, and that itself is the 2nd one I've had for the pony from this man) so i don't want to ball him out and be left with a saddle I can't use.

Another complication is that he has at least 4 excellent used saddles of mine to sell which obviously I want back before I send him packing.

So what to do? Are there people I can complain to? A sort of ombudsman for saddlers?

I know I've got to get tough, and I'm not very good at that, and I should have kept detailed notes in the diary as I went along but each time he came and supplied a saddle (I've spent a fortune) I had then proceeded with things assuming all was well until it obviously wasn't.

So any ideas / similar experiences that may help me? How should I proceed and how tough should I be? I'm a wimp when it comes down to it.

thanks guys x

I won a £2K saddle in a competition and had nothing but problems with it, with it not fitting correctly. I ended up in A&E with a nasty fall as a result of my horse being in pain, although I was assured the saddle had been altered accordingly. It went back and forward to the people who had made it to measure my horse, and was reflocked a number of times. Although it had a 'revolutionary' tree that could be altered and then moulded to fit the horse this was never done on my saddle - I was later told by a number of people it was because the saddles were faulty and had an attempt been made to alter the fit of the saddle it would have ruined the saddle inside the tree (I can't go into more specifics as i do not want to name and shame as I have been threatened by the saddle maker with legal action if I do).

The company finally went into administration although it has been alleged that the trees may be used in the future (the prototype won awards). I contacted the administrators as I wanted the money for the saddle (although it was won in a comp I still have the same rights as someone who had purchased it) and was told they couldn't pay out as there were too many creditors to pay off.

I contacted trading standards (the saddle was not fit for purpose after all) but they did not return any of my calls and I got no where with them. I contacted someone of worth who is very experienced with such matters and is a master saddler and has been for many years and his response implied that the Society of Master Saddlers were allegedly corrupt and there was no point going to them. I do not know if this is the case, I am only repeating what I was told (before I get done for slander) lol.

I went to Your Horse Live and tried to shift the saddle there to one of the saddlery shops but none were intersted because of the specialist equipment needed to alter the saddle. In the end I approached a saddle fitter I was recommended by a physio and they swapped the saddle for another make of dressage saddle giving me around about £1000 less than the saddle was worth. When I said I was suprised the saddle hadn't been altered she confirmed what I had already been told, saying there was a rumour in the trade that the prototype saddles/early saddles were faulty if the fit was altered.

I was very grateful I had got rid of the saddle to be honest with you. This may be the only chance you have to get shot of it, by selling it on. Although in my particular case the saddle didn't fit my horse there was no reason it wouldn't fit another. I really would get rid, I would sell it and cut your losses. It could end up costing youmore in the long run with a sore back for the horse and you on the fall because it is uncomfortable foryour horse.
 
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