Saddle company or Matty Marlow Heritage?

Cragrat

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I didn't want to end up here....but my instructor and I have come to the reluctant conclusion that made to measure is going to be the best way to get a saddle that properly fits:(

We have tried a number of saddle fitters, and a huge number of saddles. He has a high, shark fun wither, a big active shoulder, and a ridiculously short narrow back. Everything that is an almost fit either pinches under the stirrup bars, moves back, lifts at the back, sinks at the front etc.

I can't afford a brand new 'named' saddle, but I have tried 2nd hand versions of all the usual names, albion/ideal etc etc, and they are all a long way from fitting. I don't know any other saddlers that we haven't already tried who will come out to my area to fit a 2nd hand saddle.

So with my budget of about £800-£1000, I can get a made to measure matty marlow heritage or a saddle company. Which would you go for??

thank you
 

Holly Hocks

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Matt Marlow did two lovely m2m ones for my TBs - both had shark fin withers. Unfortunately I had to sell them as one horse died and then the other one I had made ended up too narrow as the horse outgrew it and filled out. I now have a Bates which is fabulous as not only does it have the changeable gullet, but the newer one have the inserts as well, so the front or back can be lifted by just putting the inserts in. I love it and it's fab for my current shark fin withered TB. I got the Bates dressage and it was about £1100 but the GPs and VSDs are cheaper and in your budget.
 

Cragrat

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Thank you for all you replies:)

IHW-can I ask why please?
Highlands- tried an ideal- wrong shape tree sadly:(
HH - it is a dressage I'm looking for. I'd discounted the Bates because I'd heard the bates/Wintec tree could cause pinching? Maybe I should reconsider! Good to hear you were pleased with your MM ones though:)
 

khalswitz

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I have a Saddle Company Event which is the best fitting saddle I could find for my shark fin withered, big shouldered, short coupled TB. Plenty of shoulder room, I could jump and do dressage in it, loved that the width was adjustable too. Had lots of compliments on it as it's a nice smart saddle that has lasted well. My lad also loves the serge panels, they are super comfy.

However I find that it doesn't really have enough room for my leg. I have a long hip-to-knee and its just fractionally not forward enough for me. I'm compromising right now it a more forward cut saddle, but it doesn't fit him quite as well as needs padding. So whilst they are great, I'd try one and see how comfy you find it to ride in before going for one.
 

Elsiecat

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I'd go with Heritage, myself. I own one and have ridden in 3/4 that I can recall and all have been lovely comfortable and well put together saddles.
 

Cragrat

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Elsiecat - was your saddle m to m or off the peg?

Suzy- that sort of of thing is exactly why I have tried so hard to avoid having to get a made to measure :( I have contacted Matty, and he has said he will come out to measure and template my horse - but it's the aftercare or lack of that worries me. He said the saddle can be adjusted back in his workshop if my horse changes shape at a later date, but what if the saddle is just wrong from the start?

I do have a couple of off the peg saddle company saddles for another horse. They are light and comfy, but getting hold of a saddle fitter to come out to us is a nightmare :( Another fitter recommended by Dave won't come out my way at all.

Frumpoon - could you say why please?

Thank you:)
 

EllieBeast

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As above, it is possible to get a brand new ideal made for around £800- the ideal 'Deal' saddle is their budget range and a lovely saddle just without some of the extras. They dont put the same tree in every saddle! I had a lovely ideal made to measure for my girl and we tried all the different trees (there are loads!! They dont just cater for one shape of horse!!) to see which conformed to her shape best and then had it placed in the saddle of my choice. Worth a try if you have a good ideal fitter near you?
 

millitiger

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Thank you for all you replies:)
Highlands- tried an ideal- wrong shape tree sadly:(

Just a quick point- Ideal use different shaped trees in the different models of saddle.

My 15.3hh flat backed tb who was exceptionally short too, had an Impala.
My 18hh huge moving horse with enormous shoulders and a sharks fin wither, is in the Ideal Patriot.

Both have 17.5" medium fits but no way on earth could I interchange their Ideal saddles between them.

I would have another look at Ideal if I were you, over the other 2 brands.
 

DJ

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Saddle co saddle definitely, I have one for my extremely fussy chap, and a great fitter who travels nationwide and is truly amazing. I can send you his number if you like, a lot of my friends use him all over the UK for their Saddle co saddles and there has never been a bad word said about him .... He`s currently in Africa fitting saddles out there lol ....

Saddle co saddle are light, the serge panels and flocking are very comfortable for the horse and they really can be changed to fit extremely well :)
 

pansymouse

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I would go to Kay Humphreys - she won't be able to do you a new saddle for your budget but she will find a used one and adjust it so it fits better than a made to measure. In my opinion if you have a horse with non standard saddle needs, Kay or someone trained by her has to be your first choice. The saddles she fits are made by Barrie Swain and absolutely lovely for both horse and rider. Her company is Norton and Newby.

Just to add Kay's saddles also have serge panels like the Saddle Company ones.
 

Cragrat

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I thought Kay Humphries was down south - oxfordshire? Would she travel up north for one 2nd hand saddle?
DJACE - I would love the name of your fitter please! ( he doesnt have the online initials PM does he? I know of someone with those initials who also goes to Africa, but when I contacted him a few years ago he wasnt able to come to my area for just one saddle )
millitiger - worth another look perhaps - but there aren't any fitters that cover my area :(
 
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chestnut cob

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Saddle Company are horrible saddles. And I don't like the Heritage ones either, personally.

I have a Barrie Swain, though it is badged as Mondial which is the Kay Humphries brand I think. I love it, it is a fabulous saddle. I had it M2M with special short flaps as I have short legs, and short girth straps. Might be worth ringing them to ask if they have any reconditioned or second hand.
 

Cragrat

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3 people so far have said they don't like Saddle Company saddles, but no-one has explained why!

I already have 2, and don't have a problem with them - admittedly the cheapest Verona has issues with the leather outer layer eventually delaminating and coming away from the synthetic layer, but I dont think that is a massive expense to fix, even it it means replacing the flaps with solid leather ones.

If there are more serious issues, I'd love to know please :)

Ditto for the Heritage!
 

Brightbay

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3 people so far have said they don't like Saddle Company saddles, but no-one has explained why!

I've had 3, fitted by the saddle fitter mentioned above. I can conclude that just because they're adjustable, doesn't mean they will fit your horse. My lad ended up with bridging and pressure problems. I tried three in the hopes that it was the style rather than the SC design, but neither GP, GP with Owen panels nor Heather Moffat Dressage (Saddle Company Easisit) worked for him.

On the advice of the fitter, we then switched to an Ideal Jessica which worked better but still not 100%.

We're on treeless at the moment in the hope we can get a better fit across seasons. The horse is very large (17hh) but has a very short but flat and muscular back and medium withers.

I also found the SC saddles didn't wear well - as per comments above, the leather would start to detach from the synthetic lining.
 

suestowford

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I have a Saddle Company saddle for my pony. I had it adjusted by a fitter (I bought it 2nd hand) and noticed a difference in how my pony went almost straight away. Previously to that I had a treeless saddle which I liked a lot. But my pony likes the SC saddle better so that's what I ride him in now.
But then I am a happy hacker so it doesn't matter that the saddle doesn't look great, it's comfy for me and for my pony and that's all that I care about.
 

JCW

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I bought an ex demonstration saddle from Matty Marlow and it is the most comfortable saddle I have ever ridden in. I took a template of my horses back and Matty matched the saddle to that. I have been very pleased with this saddle and have had lots of compliments. However as mentioned above, if your horse changes shape and you need a new saddle although he can adjust it to a certain extent, he doesn't exchange them. I am in the northwest and I have since been recommended to use Emma from Calton Saddlery. I have been told she is very good and is reasonably priced.
 

Hippona

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I have a m2m heritage saddle.....the quality is great, the fit is excellent....I've had it widened and bigger knee rolls put on. No problems.

Only thing....it's seems heavy, but that's in comparison to synthetic saddles, so I guess it would be.
 

pansymouse

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Rachel Bayliss in Cheshire fits Barrie Swain saddles and Nick Dolman in Staffordshire makes very similar saddles (which Kay also fits) - if Kay is too far away from you they are both worth trying; very much out of the same stable.
 

suzysparkle

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My saddle co saddle has full leather flaps and a serge panel. I've never had an issue with the quality of the leather on that model, but, I agree the verona one isn't great. I've jumped up to 3'6" in mine (sj and xc) and done endurance rides up to 60km so far. No problems at all with the design and the Horses back is checked at every vet gate. Endurance riding is far from 'happy hacking' and if anything the saddle fit is even more crucial given the amount of time the Horse is carrying you for and how long you are sitting in it!
The fitter mentioned above (who I have also used and rate highly but he doesn't come up here anymore) is here http://www.equinebowensouthafrica.com/. Thankfully I have found a good local fitter now. Getting a good fitter for these saddles is imperative as for every good one there seems to be at least one rubbish one! They also don't suit every Horse, same as any other make.
 

Palindrome

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Have you tried a Thorowgood saddle?

I have had a dressage Thorowgood for 2-3 years and it's holding up well, was £400 new. My horse has gone from medium wide to X wide in it. I am now thinking of getting an Albion so I can have a deeper seat but the Thorowgood has been a good buy so far. Wool flocked panels means the flocking can be adjusted to fit your horse's back, even when it changes shape (and it will!).

My fitter adjusted it before I tried it on for the 1st time by adding wool at the back of the panels and putting in the correct gullet width and it was instant sheer pleasure and a lovely balanced canter from my mare who was previously struggling with canter transitions. The trick is that she needed a higher gullet at the back and fitter said she has a typical thoroughbred back with high wither and a back that slops upward as you go toward the croup. He is very experienced and from the saddles that he sells only the Thorowgood or the Ideal would have a high enough gullet at the back and be in my budget (similar to yours). Mare is also short coupled but will just take the 17"5 that I need and the wool panels are large and springy, wool has a very good shock absorption capacity.

Sorry it sounds like a sales pitch but have no vested interest really and after trying very expensive saddles (Kay Humphries/Nick Dolman, Reactor Panel, Heather Moffett, etc... all fitted by the corresponding pro), it's amazing that my mare went her best in a £400 well fitted synthetic from a recommended SMS saddle fitter! You do need to have the flocking adjusted BEFORE you try the saddle, otherwise you can't know if it will work. Good luck :)
 
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