Manufacturer: County (View all products by County Saddlery)
Model: Innovation (View all Innovation reviews)
Category: Jumping Saddles
Purchase: Purchased through local rep for Long Island, NY for $4,400 in 2010; purchased on recommendation of County customer and based on fit for my horse and my comfort during test.
Likes: It is very comfortable and initially fit my horse very well.
Dislikes: My saddle is black with the buffalo leather upgrade. Within a few months, every area exposed to light when riding faded to green. County replaced that saddle. The same thing happened to the next one, albeit over a longer period of time, but I decided to live with it. Additionally, the buffalo leather at the bottom of the skirt where the leathers touch has completely shredded away on both sides. This occurred a little over two years after I received the second saddle. When I reached out to County about this problem, pointing out that this same issue had happened to at least two other people in my area, I was told that County only occasionally had problems with inferior leather, so it was most likely the fault of my stirrup leathers (I ride in the softest Nunn Finer leathers). The best they would do was to give my half off the $750 repair cost; they did not offer me the use of a loaner during the repair which meant I would have nothing to ride in for the weeks it would take to fix. I recently reached out to our new local County rep, explaining the above, and have not heard anything in response. The saddle itself is also very dependent on refittings, which in my area cost around $200 a visit. Granted, it is used 5 days a week, but my horse is simply not changing his shape that quickly anymore. After spending over $4k on this saddle, I have since spent enough money on fittings that I could buy another saddle!
Quality: Generally, good construction except for the buffalo leather skirt cover piece, which as I noted above, has shredded completely. Poor quality tanning, at least for black, as it has faded to green on both of the County saddles I owned.
Summary: I paid way too much for my County saddle to have to put up with fading and shredding leather, and to have to further invest approximately $600 a year over the life of the saddle to maintain its fit. County's limited warranty indicates their reluctance to stand by their product and should be a red flag to purchasers. Their customer service is non-existent; again, you deserve much better after spending so much. If I had it to do all over again, I'd invest my money in a truly custom saddle or perhaps a Stubben.
Author: Monique Anne Gaylor
Usefulness Rating: 3 out of 5.
33 reader(s) voted.
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