WOW Saddles and youngster

BlueSocks

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My youngster is 3, I will possibly be backing her this year, but most probably leaving her till next year now. She's WB x TB/Shire, currently around 16.1 but bum high, and with quite a lot of filling out left to do. I looked at WOW's at this years Badminton, have to say I didn't really know much about them until then, but I'm pretty interested by the concept. I've found quite a lot of older threads about WOW's, but not many current ones, as I know that they have changed the design, weight etc fairly recently. So who has a WOW, and what are your thoughts about them? Also, has anyone had a WOW for a youngster - will they be able to be adjusted enough to accommodate shape changes and growth? I am impressed by how much they can be adjusted, but obviously I really want to know how realistic this in in practice, as clearly on the stand they will tell you everything is possible to sell you one!! Thanks All! x
 

Dizzleton

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I love my Wow. It's been great for my 23 year old WB! I got it about 4 years ago and he's developed lovely topline and muscle along his back; so much so that we did have to change the headplate and adjust the air a lot in the first year. He was so much rounder and more expressive in all gaits and even took a better contact.

Due to a previous owner having him in badly fitting saddles, he always shook his head when saddled/girthed; but now he stands there, ears pricked!

I love how adjustable it is too. I'm currently using 17'' panels (for 17hh, he's incredibly short backed!) and an 18'' seat for my super long legs.

I really can't fault them and I'll be using it on my youngster when he's old enough to be backed :)



 

milliepops

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I don't think any saddler could ever promise that they could fit every horse in the world ;) but Wows really are incredibly adjustable. That's not to say that you wouldn't need to buy, say, new panels, if the horse changed dramatically, but you can pick them up second hand reasonably cheaply.
I've had a Wow for about 5 or 6 years now and am still as pleased with it today as I was when I bought it. I don't anticipate ever selling it, as the chances are it can be adjusted to fit my next horse(s). I've got a few headplates which I change throughout the season according to horse's condition, that's really easy to do. I also have a pump kit so I can adjust the flair myself.

Did you sit on one at Badminton? I think you need to know if you personally get on with them, though there are so many seat options it would be hard not to find something you found comfortable. I'm currently dreaming about the new dressage flaps they've made, as I had a test ride on them earlier this year.... I do think they are very innovative and on the whole, if you can imagine it, they will make it for you.

There is always the question of whether your unbacked horse will like the flair or not. I haeven't had a problem, but some people report that their horses didn't like it. You can get Wow panels with regular flocking, though this obviously reduces the ease of adjustment a little.
 

tase1965

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I love mine and I would never have anything else! My Welsh D is now 6 and has had the same Wow saddle since being backed at 4. He has changed shape massively in this time (as they do), has had a couple of gullet changes and the original panels which where tab and stitch line, have had the stitch line taken out when he didn't need it anymore. Then there have been slight alterations with the amount of air in panels.. I would have had a lot of saddle fitting headaches by now if I hadn't had this saddle. It is one of the newer ones so is not too heavy and is really secure and comfy for me to.. :)
 
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I have a Wow-it was for my last horse when he was 4, rode in it until he was 11 and he basically went up two headplate sizes in that time. He did find it a bit of a culture shock when I first tried one on though (he had been ridden in a well fitted wintec which he hated) and he's not the only one from what I've read on forums over the years (he bucked me off). He went well in it when it was tweaked and I got back on and for the rest of his life and I find it unpleasant to ride in much else. I have another 4yo now, went down a headplate and it fits him well (same breed) which is a relief frankly. Mine is quite old and it is heavy but I think they are great saddles if rider and horse like them (which sounds obvious but they are a bit marmite).
 

BlueSocks

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Dizzleton - your boy reminds me of my old lad, he's 23 too bless him! It's interesting that you can use different length panels to seat etc - that side on pic really shows how short backed your lad is for his size. He looks very smart!
Milliepops - yes I did sit on several different seat types, I thought they were all very comfy TBH, I've found it strange reading some of the reviews that say people have found them uncomfortable. Re the Flair, when I stuck my hand under it I thought it would be far more comfortable for the horse than normal saddle flocking, I was surprised at how little pressure there seems to be from it. I think a youngster would more likely accept it that a horse than has been used to regular flocking?

My main concern is not wasting my money on an expensive saddle that isn't as adjustable as it first seems. It's a toss up between taking the plunge on a WOW straight off or getting a cheaper saddle in the first place then selling it as my mare changes. My main concern is that she has a well fitting saddle from day 1 (and not costing myself £1000's on a saddle that only fits for 6 months!)
 

BlueSocks

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Tase - that's really helpful to know that you had yours from backing. Whats the thing about the stitch line mean?
MOC - what breed are yours?
 
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Hi
they are lusitanos-so quite compact, have a wither but also well sprung ribs. Can also change drastically between the ages of 4-8 lol! I think my current chap will be chunkier and bigger in the long run. I don't think they make the seat that I have on mine anymore but its a GP with moveable blocks,with sort of a half seat. I did trial a VSD for a couple of months (forgetful saddler!) but preferred the GP. I was excited to see they do relvas panels now-although I could probably do with stock saddle panels until he grows up lol!
 

Identityincrisis

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I have a Wow, I bought it approx 10 years ago for my old boy (TB) it transformed him!

I now use the same saddle for my 4yr old Anglo Arab, I have recently had to change the panels as the old ones stopped fitting (these are easily bought and sold second hand)

I have a friend who really dislikes Wows but this isn't based on personal experience, she sees me getting my saddle adjusted every 2-3 months and thinks this is the saddle at fault, i have tried to explain it is the horse who is changing shape (being 4 you would expect this) I like the fact they are adjusted there and then, not taken off site to adjust the flocking.

It has made me super critical of the balance of the saddle and of course, as with all saddles, the correct fitter is essential.
 

Switchthehorse

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I had two wows for years one stressage one jumping and thought i would never be without them, i loved the fact they were adjustable and thought i would keep them for life as could use them on other horses in the future. I even attended a saddle fitting course with them so i could adjust them. They were super comfy.

The only problem was I actually could never actually get them to fit, even though they would 'fit everything' and were 'fully adjustable' I tried pretty much every combination of girth strap alignment, panel etc. They weren't SO bad that they were causing a problem but they just niggled me that they slipped a bit and weren't quite right. I kept persevering as i was told by the saddler (not related to WOW i should add) said that nothing else would fit my mare, and he came highly recommended.

Roll forward a few years - we never got them to fit and I sold them on eBay for a lot less than they were really worth. I still miss them as they were SO comfy and i loved the fact they were adjustable, but I now have two saddles which aren't adjustable at all and they both fit her like a glove.

So whilst i highly recommend them and loved sitting on them they were like a sofa, i agree with the previous poster that in actual fact there is no saddle that fits everything

good luck!
 

BlueSocks

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Thanks everyone who has replied so far - some interesting points. It's good the hear from people who have good experiences of WOW's as you seem to get a lot of views from people who are critical of them when you search around. Identitycrisis you have a point there about your friend, perhaps a lot of people think this about them until they actually "get" them? Although of course like any saddle, they aren't going to suit everyone/horse.

It certainly makes me feel more confident that I could be spending hard earned dosh on a saddle with longevity. My old boys saddle is an Albion, which I have always loved for it's comfort, and has fitted him for years with no problems, but I got this for him at 7 years old, the saddle that he came with as a 5 year old just didn't fit at all any more, he had changed that much, like they do.

MOC, why did you prefer the GP to the VSD? I like the idea of the VSD as I ride fairly long and often find that thing where your boots get caught on the flap, but of course when backing may be riding a bit shorter than usual.

I am in South Yorks - does anyone have any fitter advice for around my area?
 

BlueSocks

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Roll forward a few years - we never got them to fit and I sold them on eBay for a lot less than they were really worth. I still miss them as they were SO comfy and i loved the fact they were adjustable, but I now have two saddles which aren't adjustable at all and they both fit her like a glove.

So whilst i highly recommend them and loved sitting on them they were like a sofa, i agree with the previous poster that in actual fact there is no saddle that fits everything

good luck!
Thanks Switch, that's the thing isn't it, when your horse is fully mature, even though there are still subtle changes going on, it's a lot easier to get the saddle fit correct, therefore the adjustability is not quite as important. It's such a big decision as they are £1000's of pounds and you want to get it right for the horse!!!
 
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I am (mostly) a happy hacker that plays around schooling and summoning the courage to jump tiny jumps. My old horse was very sharp when he was younger and I liked the knee rolls on the GP. tbh the seat is too deep to jump much in and I always rode on the set back bars. So in an ideal world, I would go for a flatter seat but keep the knee rolls. I got lucky, found the GP for sale at a show, 50% off due to being a display model so couldnt be too fussy! Love it though, two tone havanna and very dark brown, fabulous leather that still looks new.
 

Identityincrisis

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Switch how did you go about going on a fitting course? My usual fitter is in semi retirement and extremely difficult to get hold of, I've always been very interested in saddle fitting and think this would be very useful
 
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I originally bought my WOW saddle when I wanted a dressage saddle for my older horse in 2007. I was lucky that my saddle fitter had been part exchanged a WOW saddle just the previous day! I absolutely adore my WOW saddle and really hate riding in anything else! When my older horse sustained an injury and became semi-retired I still cherished riding in it twice a week out hacking!

When I began backing my youngster, I initially used a light synthetic saddle that I had. About a month down the line I decided to see if it was possible for my WOW saddle to be fitted to her as she was going to be ridden a lot more than my older guy. I was unsure if this was possible as they are very different shapes. However my saddle fitter simply changed headplates and adjusted the flair. My youngster didn't seem to mind the change and infact the WOW saddle, I felt, gave her more freedom to move in her shoulders. My saddle fitter also mentioned that I could easily buy different panels should I decide I wanted to do more jumping etc in the future so hopefully I will never have to part with my WOW!

It is all personal preference OP but if you like the WOW saddles, I believe they are worth every penny!
 

Rhodders

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I've got a youngster in one, he's grown considerably I've had to buy a few head plates and a second set of panels but I can't fault it horse loves it and it's very comfy for me too
 

kassieg

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This is really bizarre, i have just bought 1 2nd hand & waiting for it to arrive. Was excited before but now can't wait! Great to see all these good reviews :)
 

Dusty85

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How much are they new out of interest? (I also have a youngster, currently have a close contact wintec I'm hoping will do for the time being).
 

ihatework

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My WOW fitter helped me build one from second hand parts, so a vgc saddle, including fitting, came in under £1500.

I'm a convert!
 

Rhodders

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I bought mine second hand, had to buy new panels (twice) but it's not got A mark on it, it was 850, best to see a fitter, find out what bits you need and wait on them coming up for sale really
 

ycbm

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I have saved a fortune in saddle changes on young horses since I bought WOWs. I would advise you to have a panel a size smaller than your seat unless you are very heavy. The reason is that they cover such a large area anyway, that there is nothing to gain by having the bigger panel, and at some stage in the future you may want to put it on a shorter backed horse.

You asked a question about stitch lines. They are the lines in the panel that sit at the bottom of the air bag on the shoulders, keeping it up. Apparently some horses can feel this, but I have never had one that does. There appears to be no drawback to using a panel with no stitch line on any horse. The airbags are kept in place with extra stuffing.

Some very sensitive horses can feel the overlap between the front and back airbags. Because of this I always use either a very thin gel or a wool lined cloth.

Someone talked about long legs. You can have the flaps made either one or two inches longer if you buy new.


They are very heavy, there's no getting away from it. If you are anywhere near top weight for a young horse, I would be wary.

I love them and so do my horses. I lent one to a friend and her horse put on well over half an inch of width on his profile in two weeks. I could not believe it when she bought a fixed tree, her horse was clearly adoring the freedom of the carbon fibre front arch which moves with the shoulders.
 
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