November 25, 2019

Saddle Fitting #7: Custom Saddlery

Brand: Custom
Cost for Fitting: $100 trip fee + $40 to try the saddles
Number of Saddles Tried at the Fitting: 4
Number of Saddles Trialed: 0

Having already more or less decided on the flapless, I thought about canceling this fitting with Custom.  I didn't in the end - it's a very popular brand I wanted to be familiar with,  friends I respect are happy with their Customs, and the fitting fee wasn't ridiculous.

Also, I wanted to thoroughly round out my blog series on the saddle fittings for this blog and for you guys, and I'm glad I did.  This is a great follow-up to my rant post and gives me hope for the saddle industry.

Custom has done their best to solve a lot of the problems I ranted about.  They have over 30 fitters covering the US.  This fitter could get to me as often as once a month if I needed her even though she lives 6 hours away.  Their trees are very adjustable, and have a five year warranty that they honor even if they suspect the saddle has been damaged by the user.  Their new saddle prices were well below CWD and Patrick, and on par with WOW and Stubben.

Best of all, their custom saddle ordering process does a lot to put my mind at ease.  When you place your order, you put $500 down if it's a non-blingy saddle, or $1k down if it's a blingy saddle.  When it gets here, you get a 10 day trial.  If you don't like it, they make you a new one, and in the meantime you're allowed to keep the first one.  You don't pay in full until you're happy.

I like this pattern.  But without the patent, or rhinestones, or contrasting color stitching.
This fitter was a great fitter.  Not a biomechanics person really, which is fine, but a great fitter.  And she's been doing this for 20 years, so you know she's doing something right.  Even though I told her I had the budget for new, she offered to consult with me over text if I found a Custom I liked on eBay, and then come back to fit it!  She's the only one I've talked to that has offered that, and some have straight up told me they don't work on anything they don't sell.

She travels with a trailer full of usually 80 demo, new and used saddles, although she apologized because her inventory is low (50) right now as they prepare to launch some new models in January.

The fitter was also very honest, she and I are so similar in the way we sell.  I described my preferences to her and she said, "I've got saddles for you, but I also have a lot of saddles that are NOT for you, I won't waste either of our time by bringing them out.  Their seats are like soup bowls, and if you like a flatter seat you'll hate them."

Her easy-going nature, deep knowledge of the product line and straight-talking attitude helped me immediately hone in on what I liked, and I tried four saddles - Wolfgang Gemini, Santa Cruz Monoflap, Icon Flight, and an older Wolfgang Omni they don't make anymore.

Of those, I liked the open and wide seat and twist of the Gemini, the size and material of the blocks on the Santa Cruz, nothing about the Icon flight, and everything about the older model Wolfgang Omni.

It's a used saddle taken back from one of her sponsored trainers, and as such would be quite a bit cheaper than buying new, and I almost liked it that much.  It would need some adjustments to fit Connor, but it was doable, and well below my price range (Is this starting to feel like House Hunters to anyone else?)

(Side note, all the good fitters have called Connor quite easy to fit. Hmmm.)

It's one of those things where maybe if she'd let me take it on trial (she couldn't) I might have given it some serious thought, but I couldn't make a decision that fast during the fitting. 

In the end, Custom has a lot of nice saddles that are on par with the Patrick, but with both brands, I'm more in love with the fitters and policies than I am the saddles.  If I could get the flapless with Custom's return policies and Kate's biomechanics skills, I'd be in business.


  1. She sounds like a super reasonable person to deal with which is awesome. The saddle search can be such a crap shoot with very poor quality reps out there.

    1. That's a very good way to put it, and you are so right. I would buy a saddle from this woman in a heartbeat.

  2. Sounds like maybe there IS hope for the saddle business. Too bad Custom only makes dressage saddles, lol

  3. I had to giggle a little because I think of all the stuff I buy to feature on the blog, and realized I'm not alone when you pretty much did this fitting for the blog. Thanks for shelling out for us!
    Sounds like a good experience overall, even if not the direction you're going to go.

    1. Oh you are so not alone. I've bought stuff, or sometimes more expensive versions of stuff than I'd otherwise buy, with the sole intention of reviewing it. My review posts are always the most heavily trafficked so I assume people enjoy them!