Model: Biarriz Jumping Saddle with 3A flap
Category: Jumping Saddles
Purchase: I purchased this saddle from e-bay for a bit more than $2000. I had an appointment with specializing on French made saddle fitter for my hard to fit TB gelding, and he said me that my horse needs only a custom made saddle and he recommended Devoucoux. His exact words were "Devoucoux makes the best custom fit saddles in the world". And then i tried one used. It was like a riding revelation. Mind you, i always was an advocate for french made jumping saddles, and i rode before in not less than Luc Childeric, but this time i could feel the tremendous difference in my own position, and i could also feel every breath of my horse under my leg. Well, i decided to look for less expensive option - the new custom made saddle retails for $3900, so i went on-line and bought my Saddle. Surprisingly, that saddle fit perfectly my custom fit requiring gelding, and all the other horses i used to ride.
Likes: I like everything. I like i started to jump like a pro and soon climbed to Mini Prix successful participation. Finally i got this feel of sitting close to the horse without gripping, just driving him with my seat, i practically became a part of my horse. The seat construction (narrow twist and supportive wideness)and magnificent leather make the huge difference. The saddle has that perfect balance which i was struggling to get before. My horse jumped the moon! The soft and giving, shaped panels lie flat on his back, without causing any discomfort or pressure points. Using the Mattes Sheepskin pad i fit the saddle perfectly to all of my 4 horses with different shapes. Conditioning the saddle keeps the calf leather soft, grippy and luxuriously looking. My saddle happened to be full calf leather, with decorative stitching over the flap and all four blocks.
Dislikes: Yes, the leather requires attention. You can not just throw the saddle on the floor or ride happily under the rain. But if you take care about you expensive saddle like you take care about you expensive horse, you'd rather prefer Devoucoux. Another thing. Since then i had at least 5 Devoucoux saddles in my possession, and i need to admit the fact, than the saddles made before year 2000 are much higher quality leather in the long run. My 10 years old saddle looks superb in comparison with 1 year old recently made Devoucoux - that new saddle got unpleasant wear marks on the flaps and uneven coloration. But this tendency (diminishing quality leather) you can see practically in every brand. The price is high, but there are cheaper solutions, than get brand new saddle. I rather spend this money on the good saddle, than on countless lessons in the poor fitted saddle without learning anything.
Quality: As i said before the saddle is amazing. It is light, well constructed and uses the best materials. With calf leather is not so lasting, as pig hide or cow hide made saddles, but there are many options of upgrading and replacing at Devoucoux representatives, so it can not be an issue. The injected foam "flocking" of the saddle is a question, since there is not so easy to adjust the saddle for the changing shape of the horses back, but the correct padding solves the problem easily. With correct and proper care the saddle keeps the expensive look for years. The seat is deep, with narrow twist - an ideal option for show jumpers to provide secure balanced position approaching the fence, also great for flat work, incorporating dressage movements. When buying one, please consider they are running a bit smaller than your usual size - it happens because of the deep seat. Many riders could not appreciate their Devoucoux because of the wrong size, without even realizing it.
Summary: I still ride time to time in other jumping saddles, but when i switch back to my Devoucoux, i think i'm finally home - great feeling and the closest contact possible. The best saddle for serious riding, makes you feel tall an proud, ideal combination of quality and comfort. No wonder they keep their value after many years of use. I highly recommend you to buy the older Devoucoux saddle in nice condition - for much less money you can get much better quality saddle than many of quick made newer saddles.
Usefulness Rating: 1.75 out of 5.
4 reader(s) voted.
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