Saddle Fitting FAQs

Scheduling a Saddle Fitting Appointment

Do I need to be present at the saddle fitting appointment?

We prefer that the person who is most involved with the horse’s riding – whether it’s the owner, trainer, instructor, leasee, or all of the above – is present at the appointment to answer questions and give observations about the saddle fitting issue at hand. Decisions that need to be made for re-fitting or for a new saddle are managed better with the person most directly involved with the issue and the financial aspect of the decision. If you are not able to be at the appointment, please let us know in advance! Payment for the stable call fee and any other associated work or merchandise will be due on the day of the appointment. We do NOT bill.

What does the stable call fee cover?

The stable call fee covers the visit to the farm, mileage, saddle fitting evaluation, wither  tracings, and/or test rides for one person with one horse for approximately 2 hours. Each additional horse per person is $50. The stable call is NOT divided—mileage has already been divided to account for multiple clients in the same region for one day. The stable call fee does NOT include flocking, repairs, merchandise, or other charges. The stable call fee is NON-REFUNDABLE and due on the day of the appointment.

How much does re-fitting or flocking cost?

This is largely dependent on what needs to be done to the saddle in order to re-fit it. A simple on-site spot flocking (“tweaking”) is $135. A flocked panel saddle that needs to have all the flocking removed and all new flocking put in it (“strip flock”) is $285 (not done on-site). A tree adjustment – or tree point re-angling – is $375. Most re-fitting is a combination of jobs (flocking and tree adjustment). These prices are subject to change and are in addition to the stable call fee. All re-fitting and/or repair charges are due at the time the saddle is taken for adjustment. Not all adjustments can be made on-site and may need to be brought back to our repair shop to be worked on. (The re-fitting solutions listed here are the most commonly performed re-fitting solutions we do. Other fitting solutions and their associated cost will be discussed based on your saddle’s refitting needs.)

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept cash, checks, PayPal, and all 4 major credit cards – VISA, MASTERCARD, DISCOVER, and AMERICAN EXPRESS.

Do you offer payment plans?

We do not accept payment plans. All stable call fees and re-fitting/repair charges are due in full at the time of the appointment. New saddle orders require a deposit; the remainder is due when the saddle is delivered. We do not bill.

What days are available for appointments?

Appointments are available on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday ONLY. Wednesday and Friday are office days. Sunday appointments are NOT available.

What happens after I submit my information on the appointment request form?

The Appointment Request will be answered as soon as possible. Kate is on the road more than she is in the office and sometimes not able to answer appointment requests immediately. She will send suggested/available appointment dates depending on where you are located along with an appointment information sheet detailing the appointment procedure and the amount of the stable call.

Will I be sent a reminder/confirmation?

Yes. You will receive an email confirming the day, date, time and location of the appointment. Please send a response to this email. Non responses are not considered a rejection of the appointment.

How far do you travel for saddle fitting appointments?

Our traveling area includes most of New York including Long Island, Rochester and Buffalo areas, and points north of Albany, all of New Jersey, Connecticut, eastern to mid Pennsylvania, parts of Massachusetts including Boston, and southern Vermont. We have traveled as far west as northeastern Ohio, northern Maryland and up to Burlington, VT area. We will travel up to 6 hours in one direction (given a group of 6 or more). Our average traveling distance is between 1.5 to 3 hours in one direction.

How long should I plan for my appointment?

Each appointment is scheduled for a 2-hour block. Depending on the fitting evaluation, test riding, on-site flocking and/or the number of people seen at one barn, the appointment may be shorter or longer.

Should my horse be tacked up before you get there?

No. The horse’s bare back conformation needs to be addressed first and wither tracings taken before the fitting evaluation is discussed. The horse should be in the barn and groomed, with tack gathered BEFORE the appointment start time. The time taken to bring the horse in, clean it up and get tack out of the tack room after the appointment starting time cuts into your allotted appointment time.

When I make an appointment, am I required to get more people at my barn interested in order to have the appointment?

Not necessarily. It will depend on how far away you are. If you are more than 2 hours away, I would prefer to see more than one person in that area. Over 3 hours away, I do need to have at least 2-4 people signed up. Chances are more than good that I will have another person already scheduled that day or have a client that needs an appointment in that region. It is not a requirement that you personally get more people in your barn to sign up for an appointment; however, it would be helpful to let anyone who is interested know and most people like to know if/when a saddle fitter might be visiting! 

We have a group of interested people. Should they each individually contact you? Do you set a schedule for the group?

Groups are great! Yes, each interested person should fill out and submit an appointment request so I know what each person’s needs are in advance of the appointment. I will set a start time and the group needs to determine amongst themselves in what order they will be seen that works best with their schedule. Please allow about 1 hour to 1.5 hours per person when scheduling a group. People interested in looking at saddles for purchase need to group themselves together for ease of time.

We are a lesson program/therapeutic riding program/college team. Do you have special rates for programs?

Yes! Program horses need their saddles fit too. We offer a special rate schedule for program situations. The base stable call fee that covers mileage and visiting the barn is $100 and each horse is $35. (Travel rate may vary according to distance.) Please plan for a non lesson or training day as the appointment could take several hours. All saddles and horse should be readily available for the start of the appointment. Payment for all services and products are due on the day of the appointment.

Do you mind if my barnmate watches while you work there?

Not at all! Because of the unfortunate “snake oil salesman” reputation of some “saddle fitters,” many people would like to see and hear someone working before deciding to work with them. I welcome anyone to watch and ask questions.

Can you accommodate people who didn't specifically schedule an appointment?

Unfortunately, no. Because my days are scheduled in advance, I generally don’t have the ability to accommodate an in-person add-on. If I can make such an accommodation, the add-on is obligated to pay for an evaluation as if they had scheduled in advance. Otherwise, I will be happy to schedule a time to come back and work with them when time permits.

Will I be required to ride?

The short answer is, be prepared to ride. For first-time appointments, you may or may not have to ride depending on what the fitting evaluation reveals. If the saddle is obviously not fitting the horse and the solution needed to fix the saddle (re-angling the tree, strip flocking the panel) cannot be performed on site, then you will not be required to ride. On-site flocking, trying a new/used saddle or the delivery of the re-fitted saddle or custom saddle do require riding.

Do I need to have my trainer/instructor present at the appointment?

Having your trainer or other professional involved with the riding and training of your horse at the appointment lends valuable insight to the issue(s) at hand and can help in formulating the right solution. Appointments for new and used jumping saddles require the involvement of the trainer (if one is involved) as their input for the flap and stirrup position for the rider are valued.

Saddle Brands & Evaluation

What saddles do you work on? Is it only certain brands? Will you only work on saddle brands that you sell? Will you only work on saddles that you have sold to a client?

We will work on ANY brand of saddle – English or Western. We will work on saddles that have been purchased through other stores or fitters. We are an independent fitting service and are not exclusively affiliated with any specific brand. As independent saddlers and saddle fitters, it is important to us to be able to work on any and all saddle brands as many brand specific companies will only work on their own brands.

Will you be able to look at saddles that I get from ebay/local tack shops/barnmate/trainer that I’m considering in addition to the saddles that I have and that you bring to the appointment?

Sure! I would be happy to consider any and all saddles that may be available. Saddle fitting solutions sometimes come from the least likely sources.

If I make an appointment for my saddle to be evaluated, will I be pushed into buying a new saddle?

Definitely not! We are an independent saddle fitting and repair service. Our foundation of service is based on the principle that we are a service that solely works with your needs in mind: re-fitting your current saddle, repairing and maintaining your equipment, and providing other saddle solutions through various reputable and recognizable brands. We are NOT a single saddle brand representative whose only goal is to get you to buy their brand of saddle as it is all that they have to offer as a solution. We are not paid a salary, endorsement fee or given any monetary compensation by any of the manufacturers/distributors that we work with unless we sell their product. It’s our sole interest to fit your saddle or find the best solution to match your needs.

Do you bring saddles with you to the appointment?

All demos and used saddles travel with me in my 6.5 ton truck (think LARGE moving truck). I also carry saddle pads, girths, leathers, bridles, reins, stirrup irons, leather care products and various other products of interest on the truck in addition to the saddles.

What brands of saddles do you represent?

We work with Black Country, Prestige, Bates & Wintec, Bliss of London, Kent & Masters, Fairfax, Thorowgood, Collegiate, Pessoa, Ovation, Fabtron, Crates, and Veritas. See our brands page for more information!

 

When I purchase a new saddle, will it be shipped or delivered?

All saddles that are purchased are hand delivered. The shipping charge is to cover the shipping to have the saddle sent to Dutchess Bridle & Saddle. New saddle purchases are hand delivered because a horse can change dramatically from the time the saddle order was placed to the time the saddle is delivered. The fit of the saddle is checked and modified on the day the saddle is delivered at no additional cost.

If my saddle doesn’t work or I am purchasing a new saddle, do you have rentals available?

Depending on the saddle and situation, we will try our best to accommodate a loaner or rental saddle. If it’s a popular demo, we may not be able to leave it for an extended period of time. If we do have a saddle that can be rented until your new saddle arrives, the rental fee is $75 per week and will be charged at the time of your new saddle’s delivery/return.

If my saddle needs to be taken back to your workshop for adjustments/alternations/repairs, can I have a replacement/loaner saddle?

Please keep in mind that taking your saddle away may be a possible outcome of the appointment. Not all adjustments/alternations/repairs can be done on-site. If there is a saddle on the truck that will fill your needs that we can leave with you while we have your saddle in our shop, we will be happy to accommodate! Unfortunately, we may not have anything available that can replace your saddle during this time based on the fitting needs required. It may be possible to arrange a temporary saddle with a trainer, barnmate or friend.

Consignment Saddles

Do you have used saddles?

Yes, we have a large rotating stock of well maintained consignment saddles that travel with me!
We carry dressage, jumping, general purpose, western and the odd stock saddle or endurance-style saddle.
Our selection is constantly changing!

Do you accept consignments?

Yes, we accept consignments! We are happy to consign any brand of English or Western saddle in good to excellent condition. We prefer consignment saddles with an estimated value of $1000 or more. See our consignments page for more detail!

Do you accept trade-ins toward the purchase of a new or used saddle?

We do not accept trade-ins; however, we are happy to help sell your saddle on consignment.  

Do you allow trials of the used saddles?

Absolutely! We encourage you to take the saddle for a 7 day trial to take a lesson, hack or ride in it by yourself to gauge the fit and feel for you and your horse on your own time. We require a credit card number as security during the trial period – we do NOT put a hold on this card or any other charges until you let us know that the saddle will be purchased. If the saddle doesn’t work out, you will need to ship the saddle back to us and let know that it will be coming.

What is the return policy on new and used saddles?

All used and consignment saddles purchased are final sales – no exceptions. We offer a 7-day trial period for all used saddles and strongly recommend taking used saddles for a trial before purchase to ensure the best fit for you and your horse. Click here for more information on our saddle trial policy.

If you ordered a new saddle through an on-site saddle fitting appointment, we ask that you contact us first to resolve any issues. We will work with you to determine the source of the problem and find a solution so you can continue to enjoy your new saddle. If a satisfactory solution cannot be found, we will issue a refund as follows: Full refunds are only given within the Seven (7) Day Right of Recession period offered beginning on the date of this order. Refusal of delivery for any reason beyond the Seven (7) Day Right of Recession forfeits the deposit and any additional payments made. At the client’s request, the saddle can be consigned for 50% commission fee for the retail price of the saddle. Fully customized saddles are not refundable. Shipping charges and stable call fees are NON-REFUNDABLE.

Western Saddles & Saddle Fitting

Will you look at a Western saddle's fit?

We fit Western saddles as well as English! Many of the same principles apply to a Western saddle’s fit; however, due to their construction Western saddles can’t be adjusted in the same way as an English saddle so fitting solutions may be more limited.

Do you sell Western saddles?

Yes! We sell both new and used Western saddles. Please let us know at the time the appointment is scheduled that you are interested in looking at a new Western saddle as they need to be loaded on the truck to be brought to the appointment.