Manufacturer: Black Country
Model: Tex Eventer
Category: Jumping Saddles
Purchase: Purchased used via Trumbull Mountain, as a used saddle. Paid $1500 for it. I was looking for a saddle that would allow me to get my stirrups up for cross country, and let me get further back in the saddle for drops. I was thinking seriously about spending the cash (cough, cough) for a new Devoucoux Chiberta or Ioldy, but was waiting on the rep to come and fit me, and this came up as an option. I was pretty sceptical since I didn't think anything would/could compare to a Devoucoux (I have a much-loved Biarritz), but I was wrong.
Likes: Everything! I had Trumbull Mountain send me two different saddles - the Tex Eventer and a Ricochet, based on discussions with Edie about my particular horse's conformation (long, sloping wither, big shoulder, very uphill build), since he tends to push his saddles back and send saddle pads flying out the back door. She felt that the deeper panel of the Ricochet and the wither gussets of the Tex Eventer would work for my gelding. She was right - that saddle doesn't budge. I had a chance to truly test out this saddle on a day when my horse hadn't been ridden in a couple of weeks, due to my sickness and his, and nature added a very windy, chilly day to the mix. I had a time bomb on my hands! Lots of back humping, bouncing along, and him channeling his inner Grand Prix show jumper let me truly test out the balance of this saddle. I didn't budge. Neither did the saddle. I was sold.
Dislikes: Nothing! This is the perfect saddle for galloping and cross country riding. It also works well for flatting, since it has an elongated balance point so you can get over your feet for flat and yet sit back for drops. The only quibble I have about it is that Black Country tends to flock their saddles rather lightly, so they are very cushy when brand new, but tend to settle quickly. The one I got will probably need to be re-flocked soon.
Quality: Since mine was used, I got to see how this saddle holds up to neglect, as the leather was rather dried out. It cleaned up and oiled up beautifully and now looks brand new. It does ride rather roomy - I have a 17" seat and it rides more like an 18", so keep that in mind when ordering. I have the schrumpf leather on seat and knee pads, and vintage leather on the flaps, which leads to a lovely, sticky saddle that glues your leg in place. The rear blocks don't get in my way they way they usually do, and seem to create a "channel" for my leg. Love it.
Summary: If you are a French saddle snob, like I was, this is definitely worth a try. The leather is beautiful and the balance quite comparable to my beloved Biarritz. I was prepared to fork over my life savings for a Chiberta, but now, I've decided that if I need a more forward flap in the future, I will just order this same saddle but with a touch more forward flap. I am thinking about purchasing my husband a GP model, like the Wexford, because of this saddle. Black Country is amazing due to its many custom options available at little to no charge. For example, my saddle brand new is around $2600, and I could have chosen leather, welting color, fowardness of flap, flap length, wither gussets, etc. for no charge.
Usefulness Rating: 0 out of 5.
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