"I RECENTLY PURCHASED A CUSTOM MADE ALIVIA DRESSAGE SADDLE FROMPETER HOROBIN SADDLERY AND I HAVE TO SAY THAT I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER WITH THE SERVICE FROM ALL OF THE STAFF THAT I’VE DEALT WITH AT PHS AND OF COURSE THE QUALITY OF THE PRODUCT."

From the first day that I met Peter with my horse to our fitting session I knew that I was in good hands and that my worries and concerns about having a saddle custom made completely alleviated…………. In fact I wish I had made the decision to go custom made sooner!

The amount of time put in by Peter to measure my horse – entirely, not just over his wither but his entire back and girth position – and then to measure me! I was really surprised that my needs were also completely taken into consideration. Then to have the opportunity on the same day to ride in a demo saddle of the model that Peter suggested for me and my horse was fantastic because it really gave me a feel of what my new saddle would be like to ride in. It gave me complete confidence that I was making the right decision.

Once I had made the decision to purchase all of the staff at PHS, particularly the girls in the office, made the process so smooth that I could hardly believe that 8 weeks had passed and my saddle was ready. And then a few weeks after receiving my saddle and having a couple of rides in it, I took the saddle and my horse to Peter to have some minor adjustments done and to change some accessories, I had purchased that were not quite the right size, and again nothing was too much trouble and I have been so impressed with the customer service. My ‘journey’ towards a PHS was a long one, I knew that my current saddle had not been fitting my horse properly for some time – all the tell-tale signs were there, but the rub marks on either side of his lower lumbar spine at the turn of the season when his coat was a bit brittle was the deciding factor for me to get a UK qualified Master saddle fitter out to have a look.

I didn’t go straight to Peter – I thought that I could get the saddle adjusted as I’d had other saddle fitters look at this saddle on my horse over the years and no one had ever told me that there were any problems.

So I started my saddle journey………I had saddle fitters recommend many brands which upon trying them – yes they fitted the horse, but NO they did not suit me! At this point I should say that I stand at only 148cm (4”11). The saddles were all very wide in the twist and put me in the most awful armchair position and made me feel like I needed a hip replacement! There was just no way that they were going to be comfortable for me with that position and with the length of the flaps being down around my ankles.

This was all happening around October 2014, so I decided to wait and have a good look around at Equitana in November 2014. I was still only looking at an “off the rack” solution at that point because I felt that I could not afford a custom made saddle.

Unfortunately I did not even go into the PHS stand at Equitana, I so wish I had! The more I looked at the “off the rack” saddles the more I found that none of them were really suitable anyway – and trust me I tried nearly every brand you can think of and some you can’t! The thing with the “off the rack” saddles was that most of them did not have a wide enough channel to start with, and that really was my absolute must on my list of what I needed. Then with the ‘off the rack’ saddles that did meet this criteria – what else could they offer me in terms of having shorter flaps for my short legs, or short panels for my horse with a short saddle support area??? Most of them had very limited options and would take months to be delivered. On top of this to make these changes to the ‘off the rack’ saddles the cost rose significantly.

So, if I was going to spend that sort of money and only get some minor adjustments, then maybe looking at the custom made option is not a bad idea after all?? The way I look at it now is that a correctly fitting quality leather saddle will last a lifetime if it’s well looked after, and therefore the money I would be spending on this saddle was an investment in my horses’ well-being and my comfort!

So finally in February 2015 I had my fitting with Peter…. And that is where the story ends. It has been an education in saddle fit for myself, and a reminder to make up your own mind by educating yourself about saddle fit.

I love my Peter Horobin Alivia Dressage saddle, I can’t recommend PHS highly enough.

Cheryl has a BESPOKE Alivia with Patent Leather.