Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Saddle shopping - CWD

With my very limited exposure to saddles to try, I wanted to have someone out as I find a saddle I would like.  I had been trying to get Prestige but they won't come out because I am "too far".  County can't tell me when they can come out.  Stubben has no reps in the area and I never heard back from Beval.  I was happy, then, when I was able to get CWD out right away.

SE02 with 3C flap
The only CWD I have ever ridden in is here at the barn.  One regular CWD and one monoflap.  The regular didn't fit Mia at all and I ended up not really riding in it long.  The Monoflap gave me great position so I wanted to try them out.  The reps are....okay.  The first one set an appointment only to cancel 24 hours prior because she got directions and I was "too far away".  Luckily the person she referred me to got me in within a week and they came out on Sunday.

SE02 with 2C flap
The appointment was for 11a, she texted me at 915a saying her ETA was 1115a.  Perfect.  Except she didn't show up until 1155a and didn't let me know or give me a heads up.  I was fairly annoyed.  The rep was nice though.  I was very upfront and told her I was shopping and was having other reps out, I wanted to try lots of saddles.  She used to work for Prestige and now works at CWD and has been there for 6 months.  Her speech was everything about CWD was technology, she probably used that word 50 times, if not more.  They put a lot of R&D into the trees, they own their factories and tanneries, they have top riders test their saddles.  She said the grain leather is what she recommends, calfskin wears really fast and the buffalo leather will wear like the grain leather.  She said it will take 10-20 rides to really start breaking in a grain saddle though, and to not be discouraged if I don't love it right away.  It will become grippy and develop a patina the more you ride in it.

CWD SE02 with 3C flap
She also talked about the leather pores being open, not sealed, and how I can only use CWD conditioner on it as a result.  It needs cleaned after every ride because it is susceptible to dirt/water due to having open pores.  Lady, that is NOT a selling point to a lazy person LOL!

Lots of rocking of saddle, eek
I rode in a SE01 and SE02, SE01 being a flatter seat, SE02 being a half deep seat.  We also tried the 2C and 3C flaps, 3C is more foward than a 2C, and determined I like the SE02 with the 3C flap.  The 3L flap is forward but longer, and I have really short legs and it didn't work well.  I also tried the carbon fiber 2G (SE25) and it is NICE but well out of my budget.  It is a $1500 upgrade just for the different tree.
The fitter stressed that the trees are irrelevant because the front of the tree is fully flexible and moves with the horse, and showed me the flex.  The important part is the panels that touch the horse and they are 100% custom.  There isn't a "standard " panel, each is configured 100% to the horse.  The panels are foam and are wider and flatter than "other" saddles which are to allow for more contact and less pressure points.  I told her the bad things I heard about foam panels and she assured me she had NEVER had those problems.  Okay....so maybe there are lots of people that are lying?  Everything I have heard is that, for long-term saddles, use wool not foam.  Foam becomes hard, lumpy, creates pressure points and disintegrates.  Wool may require some maintenance but can fit all horses.  Foam does not.  She disagreed.

CWD SE01 with 3C flap
She left 2 quotes for new saddles, both well above the budget I had told her when I originally scheduled the visit.  I also really don't have a desire to buy new, but at least know I know what I like if I decide to go used.

SE25 with 3C flap   <3
My overall thoughts on CWD.  Their selling point is #1 technology technology technology.  #2 is 8 of the 10 best riders in the world use CWD.  (She did not say WHO these riders were, or which discipline).  #3 custom, custom, custom.  Of these points, none of them are a huge priority for me.  I don't need a custom saddle, Mia isn't a hard fit and I don't think I am either.  I don't need or necessarily want the latest/greatest technology.  Time and fads will kill the majority of the players as the value of said technology will be deemed unworthy, unnecessary or incorrect.  So I am looking passively for SE02 but am looking forward to Stubben and County to come out.  I may even end up hauling 2+ hours over to a tack shop that has a bunch of saddles and trying some out there too.  What are your experiences, what do you like in a saddle?  Have you tried CWD?  Good?  Bad?


  1. I never tried a CWD mostly bc I never saw one even close to my price range. But also yea I just generally lean towards wool flocking. Not bc I know much about it but bc ppl I trust have recommended that. Good luck w your searches!

  2. I love my CWD, and prefer GOOD foam flocking over wool, but I don't think I'd buy one new unless I really had to go custom. The balance of their saddles is excellent and it's fit pretty well onto 3 different horses now. They have very high turnover of reps though, which tells you something. That said, I think my used CWD is probably one of my best purchases ever. It was cheap and its been a fantastic saddle for me.

  3. I like looking at the CWD saddles on display at show booths, but I don't think I want to spend that much on a saddle. I'd really like to get another Prestige.

  4. Kinda sounds like your rep stunk. I bought my CWD new and I love it. I wont hesitate to buy another. That said you can find them used for WAY less than new and they aren't all custom... Mine has pro panels with cut outs for Houston but still fits Annie really well. If you know the specs you like I would scour online for one used. A good rep will keep an eye out for used ones for you but yours sounds kind of annoying... Good luck!