Voltaire / WOW / Ideal Saddles

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5 July 2016
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I need help - head or heart? I'm looking for a saddle for my new horse, she is young and has some muscle to build so i am expecting her to change shape so i set my sights on what i believe is most practical - an adjustable saddle.

Having in ridden in one before i instantly thought WOW saddles. I really like them, obviously if its not right for my horse then they're out the window, but i really like that they're so adjustable while shes still changing. I contacted Louise Howsen from Shere saddles as she's previously been mentioned on the forum as a good fitter (which i read is KEY). If anyone has any up to date reviews on her that would be great as have been quoted £100 for the initial fitting (it can be taken off the price of the saddle when purchased) but it is a little steep to feel disappointed at the end and leave empty handed!

I had a saddle fitter come to see if any of my old saddles fit her (they don't) and she showed me some Ideal saddles. They're still quite pricey (a jump she showed me was £1300 but cheaper than a WOW or Voltaire) but she said the tree of the ideals was a better shape for my horse than my Stubben saddles. Any reviews on these would be great, I'm sure she told me it was adjustable, but on a quick google i can't see it obviously mentioned anywhere? Will i just end up having to buy a new one in a years time ?!

And Voltaire - a little guilty pleasure I stumbled upon whilst at Barbury this year. I was instantly in love with their look and I have Matthieu from Voltaire coming out in a weeks time to do a fitting. But before I was distracted by their beauty I was looking for an adjustable saddle to save me changing it in a years time, from what I can see online Voltaire aren't Adjustable(let me know if you know otherwise). I was hoping someone else might have had experience with them as I found it quite hard to find reviews.

Thanks in advance for the help!
 

pansymouse

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I came across Voltaire at Barbary too and spend a dreamy 15 minutes fondling lush leather and listening his lovely French accent. Sorry I have no idea about the fit but he was most instant I sat on one which was good for me ;D
 

LouisCat

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I don't know anything about Voltaire apart from them being beautiful!

I've got 2 WOWs and love them. We've adjusted them many times. The XC saddle our ex racer wears used to be on our Connemara so very versatile.
Also, you can pick them up on ebay once you know what you need

I've ridden in lots of different Ideal saddles, GP, Jump and Dressage and always found them very comfy although I have no idea on adjustability.
 

Wheels

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What type of horse do you have?

I've never seen the Voltaire saddles in person, they do look lovely but they all look quite similar with a curvy tree and panels (unless they have others that aren't on the website) so will only fit a certain type of horse I would think.

I love Wows

I haven't heard that Ideals are adjustable but they are nice saddles too as are a lot of the English makes.

Do you have pics of your horse? Would be easier to know what might / might not work
 

sbloom

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French saddles tend to be designed for narrower TB style horses, as has been said with curvier tree, and are focused way more on rider comfort than on a range of trees and fittings for the horse.

Ideal are a fairly standard English design saddle, if they fit then it's over to you whether you find them comfy and value for money. They will sell used pretty well. Wow seems to depend a lot on how good your fitter is. Like most wooden treed saddles they can be adjusted a handful of times just a smallish amount, but not all fitters are prepared to do it.

There are so many saddle brands, a lot of it is about finding a really good fitter and a brand that suits your horse, so hopefully a fitter that stocks that brand!
 

Mamamia

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I have a Voltaire. It's beautiful. My favourite saddle.

They are not adjustable per se, but they can totally re panel it. Mine was sent to France to have the gullet widen and new panels fitted to fit a different horse. Cost £300. They're not quick though, with new saddles or adjusting. I also don't think the leather has worn as well as some of my other saddles (but it sat in my tack room unused for a while so maybe just lacking in love).
 

Mamamia

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French saddles tend to be designed for narrower TB style horses, as has been said with curvier tree, and are focused way more on rider comfort than on a range of trees and fittings for the horse.
I agree with that. My TB x WB simply grew too wide for it and I had it refitted to my TB mare.
 
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What type of horse do you have? ... Do you have pics of your horse? Would be easier to know what might / might not work
I'm not sure how to post a picture, I can't see I have an option to. She is a 16hh Irish sport horse, she's certainly not fine, but not a chunk either. i know that doesnt help much!.
 

milliepops

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Thanks for your response. If you don't mind me asking how much does it cost to have them adjusted regularly?
Best to ask your fitter as it will partly depend on how far they have to travel to do it. Some will show you how to adjust them yourself, if you buy the fit-kit from Wow then it's not difficult, and changing the headplate only takes a few minutes.

I love my Wows, they suit me down to the ground and my horses are happy in them.
I have ridden in a couple of Ideal saddles and both were wonky - one I had from new and it was never right despite multiple refittings etc. The other clearly had a twisted tree. Put me off for life, though I'm sure it can't be that common, as they seem very popular.
 

ihatework

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Id say if you are going to buy new then go WOW.
But in all honesty Id just try and source yourself a decent second hand saddle to tide you over for a year or two before splashing out.
Ideals are what they are, a nice reasonable value English saddle. They aren't 'adjustable' in the WOW sense of the word but easily altered for minor changes via flocking and stretching.
Agree the French type saddles are a work of beauty but generally are suited to fit blood competition horses only
 

only_me

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I've an ideal jumping and an ideal dressage saddle. I love them! Super comfy and good leather. Have had both for at least 6 years and are still in great condition.
 

LouiseG

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I have 2 Wow saddles and love them both. Although expensive to buy they will save you money in the long term due to the adjust-ability factor and can be fitted to any horse or rider.
 

CMcC

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I bought a WOW saddle last year because my pony is xx wide and could'nt find anything to fit her "off the peg", I love the WOW it is beautiful, lovely to have a saddle that really fits her at last and the confidence that it can be adjusted if she changes shape.
Then bought another pony and bought his tack as well, he came with an Ideal Grandee saddle and I must say for comfort, seat, leg position it is as good as the WOW. But not as nice to look at and not adjustable.
So if price is key the Ideal might be good but if you can afford more and think adjustability might be needed in future investigate a WOW. I think you could probably get a nice second hand WOW for price of Ideal.
 
Joined
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I bought a WOW saddle last year because my pony is xx wide and could'nt find anything to fit her "off the peg", I love the WOW it is beautiful, lovely to have a saddle that really fits her at last and the confidence that it can be adjusted if she changes shape.
Then bought another pony and bought his tack as well, he came with an Ideal Grandee saddle and I must say for comfort, seat, leg position it is as good as the WOW. But not as nice to look at and not adjustable.
So if price is key the Ideal might be good but if you can afford more and think adjustability might be needed in future investigate a WOW. I think you could probably get a nice second hand WOW for price of Ideal.
I have had a quick look for second hand wow's but they all sem to be disassembled which i feel like is a bit of a minefield. Are they often sold whole
 

milliepops

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many people sell whole saddles, but because of the numerous combinations of seats, panels and flaps available some people choose to split theirs up to get to a wider market. If you know exactly what you are looking for then it's fairly easy to pick up the pieces individually if you don't mind waiting a bit.
I've bought a whole saddle that would 'do' for now in the past, and then replaced various bits as I spotted them second hand.
 

CMcC

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I bought a complete one from a WOW saddle fitter, I bought it for another horse and didn't use it, then fitted it to my mare but despite being wide and the fitter doing he could to adjust it wouldn't fit her, which is why I then bought a new one. It is currently sitting in my tack room not used but I am keeping it because I think I will need it someday!
A friend bought a complete one on EBay which was successfully fitted by Louise at Shere, I know Louise does sell secondhand ones as she offered to buy my friend's if she ever wanted to sell.
 
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