Reactor panel saddles

tinkerflight

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19 December 2013
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I am buying a new horse that is coming with 2 reactor panel saddles, one dressage and one jumping. They were fitted to him when his current owner bought him, but, for various reasons, he has recently lost a bit of his top line so I am not sure if they still fit well (although I don't pretend to be a saddler in any way shape or form)
I have phoned a couple of local saddles and they won't come out to check these saddles as they are not trained to. I have found the details of some people who fit them on the internet but haven't managed to talk to them yet.
anyway, I am sure these saddles will cause mixed opinions and I am not sure if I will keep them or not, or see if I can sell them and buy a nice gp saddle instead. Is there a second hand market for these saddles as it seems like it is hard to find someone who can fit them? I would appreciate some advice regarding them. I am also not intending to do a lot of either dressage or jumping so don't need specific saddles for these jobs. I would prefer to have a nice comfy gp saddle ideally.
Thank you
 

pistolpete

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They are excellent saddles. You will have no problem selling them if they are not for you. Be worth getting the RP rep out though as they are very adjustable and re-fitting shouldn't be a problem.
 

sbloom

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I used to fit them but even if you find someone trained to fit them they need to be able to supply accessories as changing the fit can mean changing the velcro blocks etc. Do Google about the reputation of the company who fit them in Europe and decide whether you want to deal with them, I used to work with them in another company. I have a dressage RP but no horse - it's a great saddle but if I got another horse that it didn't fit without needing accessories I would sell it and get a traditional saddle which I also fit. Carmi in the US who owned the brand in Europe for many years and still runs it in the US can be very helpful if you can get hold of her.

There are a handful of fitters around who fitted them YEARS ago, I've seen some of their fittings and they were awful, ignoring all the basic guidelines.

From your Google search you may realise there are some customer service issues and, from what I've heard, being tied to the one agent, this has affected resale values sadly.
 

cundlegreen

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I have an RP, lovely saddle, and a very good finished leather BUT... the weight of it is a nuisance. Combined with my weight, its too much for my lighter horses to carry. I do think horses go a lot freer in it. I'm lucky that I have a saddler locally who used to do work on these saddles when they were Roe Richardson, so he has all the different shims for them. Otherwise I wouldn't have bought it.
 

emmylouhorses

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13 September 2012
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I would BEWARE of Reactor Panel saddles: the company which makes them & fits them (Saddle Exchange Solutions is one trade name) is A. very difficult to get hold of B. Not really interested in fittings & visits unless they are going to flog you a new saddle. C. VERY EXPENSIVE. They tell you they offer a 6 week trial on any new saddle: Buyer Beware. I recently returned a jumping saddle which I'd just paid them just under £1000 for (it wasn't even manufactured by them; was a VERY old Roe Richardson), because my vet, who is highly qualified (flies all over the world treating horses to Olympic standard), told me the reason my horse had a bad back was because of the RP's I'd been using on her....the refund value they gave me back, was, wait for it, £739! So: £261 for the 'visit'. My vet, with all his years of training & experience, doesn't charge that much for a visit! I've since heard several other accounts of RP's causing bad backs; they apparently move too much which I can vouch for. Since I've stopped using them, using Albions instead, I feel so much more secure, so much more 'with' the horse & she is going better, after treatments & physio & a long rest. I had a Dressage RP & lately a jump version. You will struggle to sell them on ebay; but I would for whatever you can get: you'll prob find the Saddle Exchange ends up buying them off you. It's all smoke & mirrors: they are NOT WORTH THE AGRO
 

sbloom

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Such a shame, they are a great product and when well fitted on MOST (but not all as some would have you believe) horses they are fabulous saddles, my dressage RP is what got me into saddle fitting as a profession. But...they can only be fitted by one company, are a very technical product (which you CAN learn to fit yourself but I believe the self fit videos have been "banned" in Europe) that needs spare parts occasionally, so you are tied, also with saddle pads. If anyone needs help and doesn't want to deal with the UK company, they can try contacting the US company, Carmi Weininger owns it, the UK company used to work as her agent in this country, and she tries to help where she can.
 

Flame_

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I have one and I love it, though like everything it has its pros and cons. IIWY I'd keep them, ride in them, see how you get on with them and if you decide you don't like them, then sell. Someone would buy them, they are a genuine different alternative to traditional saddles that can be "the solution" for some horses.

By using them you are signing up to dealing with the one and only fitter and distributer of parts if you need anything doing with them, which holds the inevitable worry of ever falling out with them or being dissatisfied with their service and being left with a saddle no one else can work with, but the same is true with most specialist saddles tbh.
 

oakash

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27 July 2007
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Yes,Jules, I second your comment. Have had my horse in an RP for some 9 years or so now. It is a great saddle spoiled by the crap and expensive service provided by the makers in the UK. I was hoping Carmi Weininger would take it over, but so far no luck.

The other point to remember is that in the UK the RP company do their utmost to persuade you to use their fitting service, whereas in the states they are sold as a 'fit it yourself' saddle which is easily adjusted. I can second that because having had the saddle initially fitted all those years ago, I have done all adjustments to that fit ever since with no problems. If you have any general knowledge of mechanics and the way in which the horse deals with back pressure then you should have no problems.
 

MiJodsR2BlinkinTite

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I am merely echoing what "emmylouhorses" says above........

I can't/won't go into any more specific detail on here but as "sbloom" says DO make sure you do adequate research about the company who currently fit and adjust these saddles. They are apparently the only one's in the UK that do it now - so you are therefore putting all your eggs in a very fragile basket as they have the monopoly for the whole of the UK and you will have endless problems getting hold of them, and when they do they'll charge you an arm and a leg for the "fitting" (and they've got diddly squat qualifications as far as I know). My experience with this company is exactly what "emmylouhorses" says........ they are only interested in flogging you a new saddle and couldn't give a ***** about you once they have done that. Should the saddle later develop a problem, they don't want to know, and/or they'll offer to "buy it back" at a grossly reduced price, e.g. my saddle I bought cost £995; after just two years and the saddle being very lightly used, they bought it back for £400 :( Its very easy to boast that you have "celebrity" clients (whether or not that claim can be justified is debateable, actually) and then give a very slipshod service once the sale has been completed: with the particular saddle I had (not RP but another of theirs), it was actually reflocked unevenly - even I could see it!

And no, sorry to disillusion you, but the saddle will not sell well on second-hand sites but will stay there hanging around like a dead mackerel for ages........... a good reputation is earned by a company looking after its loyal customers and if the opposite happens then any "reputation" goes down the plughole I'm afraid, and as word gets around (as it is obviously doing from the feedback on here and in other places) then people get cagey.

PM me if you like OP.
 
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Annagain

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10 December 2008
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I can be of no help at all, am just tickled that I thought I read "rectum panel saddle" and clicked on it expecting to read about someone having solved the saddle sores issue! I'm reading all sorts wrongly today I thought the "Sales livery" thread was "Satan's livery" !
 

MiJodsR2BlinkinTite

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Slopping along on a loose rein somewhere in Devon
I can be of no help at all, am just tickled that I thought I read "rectum panel saddle" and clicked on it expecting to read about someone having solved the saddle sores issue! I'm reading all sorts wrongly today I thought the "Sales livery" thread was "Satan's livery" !

Haa haa! LOL

Just tek more water with it hunni!
 

chahala

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6 April 2013
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I had an Arab with back issues and a heavyish rider who competed at advanced level endurance for nearly 20 years in a properly fitted reactorpanel.

Say no more.
 

PucciNPoni

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23 March 2009
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I had a pb arab with a short back and me too big for the size he needed - my RP was fitted beautifully and the horse loved it (judging by the way he went in it).

I have never had anything but excellent service from Saddle Exchange, they've always got back to me whenever I've phoned, they've always been incredibly fair. They can and do fit ordinary saddles, they have flocked saddles on site for other liveries on my yard (even though they didn't sell them). I have mine still, despite no longer the horse - I'm loathe to part with it because it is such a beautiful saddle. Yes, it weighs a ton but if I ever go back to riding, it's possible to fit to nearly any shape horse (apart from a very wide barrel shape apparently).
 

Jaffa

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3 November 2010
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RP saddles (correctly fitted) are fabulous saddles.

It is exactly as sbloom says the Saddle Exchange leave a LOT to be desired on customer service and are very expensive to boot.

I was fortunate enough to get in touch with Carmi in the states and she was brilliant about offering advice, search her website to as she does various saddle fitting videos as a lot of their clients in the states live remotely so these videos can help. Amanda Sutton (physio to the Olympic Team a few years ago and widely recognised and respected) has recommended these in the past as well so they well regarded.

Personally I would keep them and either try find an old fitter or get in touch with Carmi, they are incredibly easy to fit and easy to change.
 
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