Welcome to all of you from!  I haven't been a member there all that long, but I have loved connecting with new equestrian bloggers through it.  Through this blog I have met so many awesome people that have been there for me with advice and support both when things are going great and when things are not going so great.  Ah, the life of an adult amateur!  This brings me to today's post, which I am looking for some of that advice and support on:

I found this on eBay:

16.5" County Competitor, Connor's tree size, short flap, includes $200 of accessories, cases and fittings, free shipping, $1,000.  Needs billets replaced soonish, otherwise great condition.  I know that I am at the poitn that I need a Dressage saddle, after seeing how much better Connor went in Austen's Competitor (a LOT better).  And yet, I just can't pull the trigger.  How will I afford showing this year?  But is showing worth it when I'm doing Dressage in jump tack and knowing how much better he moves in the flat flap of a Dressage saddle?

Talk me on or off the ledge!


  1. Depending on what year it is, the tree might be narrower than expected. Get the serial number off the tree, and give Sara Ivie a shout. I would also shout at her prior to ANY purchase so you can ride with the models to see which fits you best.

    Personally, if Austen (my former saddle) fits, offer payments.

  2. Kelly, good idea to contact Sara. Austen's/your County does't fit me, unfortunately, too long in the seat and flaps. It was also a hair wide on him, though nothing terrible. This is a 1997 model.

  3. I would say maybe keep looking. I have found TONS of Competitors online. Which of course wasn't a model that worked for me as I found it really uncomfortable. I would think that for in that range you could find another Competitor that is newer and doesn't need billets replaced (how much does that cost?) 97 is pretty dang old... My Perfection that I just bought is an '08 and I paid 50% less than what it's worth new... What tree size do you need? Ill keep my eyes open :)

  4. You guys are just talking to my husband! Kidding, I really appreciate it. He's a M-MW. My Stackhouse is a generous M.

  5. I agree with Kelly - good idea to talk with Sara Ivie before you leap! If you try all the County models, you might find one you like better.

    And with Hillary - there are a lot for sale out there...3 alone at our barn - but I know all three are 17.5 - 18 seats.

    Not trying to talk you out of it - Countys are so nice :)

  6. Kelly, that's a big reason why it's hard to pass up. Unlike jump saddles, it's really hard to find a 16 or 16.5" seat in Dressage saddles, and it's even harder to find that seat size with a short flap.

  7. Hi! I recently went through a dilemma like this - The saddle I had for my horse didn't fit him super well (I had bought it because it was such an amazing deal!) and I tried out several different saddles - all to no avail. I had to finally have a saddle fitter come out with saddles for me to try. She fitted them to him right then and there and I was finally able to make a purchase I was really comfortable with. Way too much money, but it fits my horse and me like a dream. My suggestion is if you're going to be putting a lot of money into something, you need to trial-run it first. And, ultimately, skipping out on a few shows to afford a nice saddle is worth it in the long run (imo) because your horse is going to move/perform better at the shows you do go to since he'll be equipped with a saddle better suited to him/the craft.

    Good luck!

  8. Jen, after dealing with Comrade you may want to wait to make a big purchase. Comrade changed a lot saddle fit wise last year due to growth and training. Peggy got a semi custom Black Country and it did not fit by time it came in. I loved the County we had for a little while, but both Sherman and Barry out grew it. Tough decision.
    I would talk to the County rep first. If they are anything like Black Country's, they will work with you to find what you need. Comrade's saddle for fitted and sent back twice before we gave up hope.
    Maybe see about doing a tracing of his withers to send to the seller. Not a guarenteed way to check fit but could save some heartache. That is what we did when I bought Barry's Thornhill Germania, a similarly priced saddle. Good luck.

  9. Ah, I thought you were a 17.5 like the rest of us. You actually might get lucky with the 16.5's they're a little rarer, thus a harder sell. I know county had a few on demo days.

    Saddles are like tools, you need them to get to the point in you and your horse's development, you'll phase out old models for something that allows you to do the job better/more refined. Work with a fitter from day one, save yourself a few grand and a lot of headaches.

  10. Does anyone have something you can borrow? Cuna and I have been playing dressage and we borrow his old owner's saddle once a week or so. I can't afford to buy right now and I'm not convinced it's worth it for us to own one since we aspire to first level and no more. It does make a difference, but no way can you jump well and securely in one.

    If it really is saddle or shows, I'd say shows. You need to get out there and have some fun.

  11. Agree with Hillary. I saddle shopped on ebay last year and there are a ton of County Competitors for sale... makes you wonder.

    Also - take advantage of a good saddle fitter. Saves $$$ in the long run. Lastly - Neidersuss Symphonies are a lovely option that hold their value. Good luck!

  12. I can lament that most saddles out there seem to be 17.5 or larger. When I was looking I found a lot of 16.5 and 17.5 not 17 which was frustrating. I also had a harder time because my tree, seat, flap combo was pretty rare. That said if you wait and maybe save up slowly what you are looking for could turn up! I wasn't expecting a used 17 inch Perfection with Skid Row Panels and a Medium Narrow tree or a 17 Fusion with SR and MN and short flaps to show up used for under 3k but it did. Sometimes the harder to find saddles are also harder to sell because there aren't as many people that need/ want that? Just speculating.

    Also having sat in an older County... I think it was a 90 or something they are NOT the same. Not nearly as comfortable. The one I sat in was a jump saddle but it was awful. Not sure if that is true of the dressage saddles too though.

  13. I spent some time looking for my dressage saddle since I also needed a 16.5 I lucked out because not many people use that size so while it was harder to find it was much cheaper because nobody else with skinny butts was bidding against me. I think you can go much cheaper but you might spend some time looking.
    I talk about my saddle steal here

  14. I've also lucked out by waiting and have a 16.5" MW Niedersuss for my curvy backed pony and a 17" W Thornhill Danube for my flat backed pony. They are both excellent saddles and were very affordable. I'm hoping that they both fit for awhile because I hate saddle shopping but they are both wool flocked so there is some ability to adjust :-)


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