DW has been on the search for a jump saddle for several months. Because of her REALLY long femur in comparison to her lower leg, the vast majority of saddles don't work for us.
She's been trial riding stuff for the last five to six months and have only made a little progress. Right now we're waiting on paper flap templates from Baines. We're dying to get needle put to leather and I can't seem to make that happen with what we think are the best options that we've found.
The other night I ran across Mikes name and decided to call him. He's got the resume and sure seems to know his stuff. Also sounds like he does a lot of work for tall females as well. I just haven't seen any of the stuff under his name and was curious. I've seen some of his Albion and Black Country designs (one of the leading candidates) and was curios what the collective thought of him.
I have one of his dressage saddles. I have a crazy long femur - about 19" from crotch to inside of my knee.
I bought my saddle from him about 7-8 years ago.
When I test rode his saddle it was pretty amazing. My horse immediately stretched his neck long and low and opened up his stride as if to say, "AAHHHH!"
I felt my pelvis settle where it should and I was able to stretch up nice and tall, like my bones stacked up perfectly.
It's made with buffalo leather, doe skin seat and knee rolls, and serge panels.
At the time, I was riding a horse with shark fin withers so he put in these ginormous gussets to fill in around the withers. Since then, I've moved on to a horse with a more typical shape, and the saddle was easily adapted to fit.
I highly recommend taking a test ride. Great saddles and great service.
We just ordered two saddles for my daughter that has long long long legs. Mike will take care of you. He will return calls, emails etc. In other words, he provides great customer service. His saddles are of the best quality and he will make certain it fits.
He was GREAT on the phone and funny enough some of the saddles that have fit the DW the best have been his designs.
We've talked to most of the saddlers that will do semi or full custom stuff. None of them seemed to get the balance issue that tall females deal with like he does. THE BIG name even went so far as to say that it was the same for a short vs. tall and no adjustments were made for that.....
I guess this way we just get his improvements and his service
I am 5'11 and all legs. I have one of his dressage saddles. I LOVE it. Puts me in an absolutely correct position. My horse is on the smaller side for me so in some saddles I have trouble wrapping my leg around him while keeping it underneath me. Not in this one at all.
Now I am saving my pennies to buy one of his jump saddles...
I have nothing but great things to say about Mike and his wife, Shasta. They are FABULOUS to deal with - and as an aside - host fabulous clinics.
The difference the saddle he picked - first shot - for my mare fit perfectly and I have never felt my horse move as well as she did that same week. He also did not try to oversell us into a higher-priced saddle. The saddle that worked best for us was actually owned by a barn mate so he made no money on the deal except for his fitting appointment fee.
I don't have one but Mike worked on DH's jump saddle (just some flocking maintenance on his County when he was traveling and a County rep was unavailable) this summer and was super! Great to work with, easy to understand; very happy with his work and would consider buying from him in the future if the need ever arose (though we still love all 3 of our County saddles!).