Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the answers to the most common questions we get. If you don’t see yours here, please do not hesitate to contact us via email. We are happy to answer any questions and if it’s a good one, we’ll add it to the FAQs!
Who is Saddlery Dresch?
Saddlery Dresch LLC is a partnership between Sebastian Dresch (CEO) and Julie Nelson (President/Operations Manager) offering Made to Measure Dressage saddles in the US and Canada. Our headquarters are in Dublin, California; the San Francisco East Bay.
Who are your Saddle Fitters and what is their experience?
Because our saddles ARE so unique and designed specifically for each horse, we realize that a successful relationship and experience for everyone involved is extremely dependent on the skills and expertise of your Saddle Fitter. At Saddlery Dresch we don’t compromise, and that includes all aspects of our business, including the Saddle Fitters that we choose to work with. All Fitters are highly skilled experts in the field and either in process or already certified by the Society of Master Saddlers UK. The SMS is the highest standard and credential that a Saddle Fitter can obtain, and also the only credential offered that is independent of an individual saddle brand. Our Saddle Fitters are not simply “Sales Reps”, they are all skilled and experienced in saddle design, service and repair work, as well as equine anatomy and biomechanics. All had many years of successful experience with high quality dressage and jump saddles, before joining the Saddlery Dresch Team. They are highly motivated, love their work and have trained extensively with us to learn the intricacies and options we have available in designing your saddle. We are certain that you will agree with us once you’ve had the opportunity to work with them, please feel free to contact them directly! Contact
What is the pricing on the saddles?
The saddles in the Prêt-à-Porter line are $3,900, and the Couture line, Made-to-Measure saddles range from $4,900 to $5,500, plus tax (where applicable). Pricing is all inclusive, regardless of options and includes shipping and delivery fees, as well as any fitting and/or adjustments we make at delivery.
What is the real difference between the Couture Line and Pret a Porter line, aside from price?
The only difference for your horse is that not all trees are available in the PAP line, otherwise all of our saddles are designed uniquely to fit your horse with no compromise. However there are limitations on the options available for the Rider in the Pret A Porter line. The most popular options that are only available in the Couture line would be the “Princess” singleflap with covered roll flap option, custom shaped and placed rolls, higher grade leather, unlimited color choices and extra soft or extra deep seat. Please consult your Fitter, we do not offer any saddles without a Fitter involved and we do not make an “Off the Shelf” saddle. We don’t make your saddle until after your Fitter has met with you and your horse.
Where are the Saddles made?
The saddles are made to our specifications by our Certified Saddlers in Walsall, England and our production team is a member of the Society of Master Saddlers, UK. We take utmost advantage of their many years of experience by collaborating with them on the design and production of our saddles. Our Saddlers are very skilled, highly motivated and truly enjoy what they are doing, as we all do at Saddlery Dresch. Making great saddles with expert craftsmen, with the best quality materials and for the best horses and clients in the world… You!!
What is the lead-time for my new Saddle?
Our Standard Lead Time is 6 to 8 weeks from order to delivery. Your Fitter will deliver your saddle, check the fit and make any necessary adjustments at that time.
My horse is young, in rehab and/or changes a lot. Does it make sense to make a saddle for it?
Changing Horses: All horses change and yours will too! Often they will change quite a bit once they get into a saddle that is comfortable and allows them to use their back properly. Therefore ongoing changes will need to be made to their saddle as well. Our saddles are fully adjustable through both tree adjustment and wool flocking, and our Expert Fitters can change them right along with your horse, on site so you don’t need to ship your saddle off. Of course you must contact us when you need us.
We do recommend having a saddle made for young horses, and especially for young horses. Of course you want your talented youngster to have a good start. The young horse is not yet developed; there is very little muscle structure to compensate for a saddle that doesn’t keep the rider’s weight balanced. A balanced and well fitting saddle is necessary to allow them to develop their back muscles properly. It is also when they are young that they develop their mind and attitude towards work. It’s much easier to discourage them from developing bad behaviors early on, than it is to eliminate them once they have been established. Depending on the tree that we choose for your young horse, we may recommend that you change a young horse’s saddle out once in their career, between 2nd and 4th level, when it is necessary to focus more on collection. Generally speaking, young horses do well with a saddle that allows the rider’s weight more forward, enabling them to achieve balance and straightness. Upper level horses need the rider’s weight focused back and towards the hind end, for collection. But the tree we use for each horse is determined first by the current shape and musculature of their back, and that’s also why we work with expert Saddle Fitters, so we can figure that out for you.
Horses in Rehab:
We understand that it may seem logical to wait until your horse has fully recovered from an injury to purchase a new saddle. Although depending on the injury, quite often a new saddle may be necessary to facilitate the recovery process and your horse’s needs may change throughout that process as well. We believe that it is critical for both healthy and horses in rehab that we make small changes more often, rather than trying to anticipate the changes that will occur and “pre-fitting” your saddle accordingly. By keeping your weight balanced correctly in a saddle designed to accommodate the current issues, we can give your horse every opportunity to heal and strengthen. This will often dramatically decrease your horse’s recovery time as well. It may be necessary for us to use different saddles at different stages of the process. We are committed to do whatever we can to help you to help your horse and we will work with you on the logistics. Please see Successes and the story of Akiko Yamazaki and Matrix for a great example of just one of our Client’s journey to rehabilitate her horse and how we were able to help to successfully accomplish her goals. .
Since I purchased a saddle from you that is designed specifically for my horse, why is it necessary to have my saddle serviced and is that included in the purchase price?
New flocking will settle and it may be necessary for us to adjust for this within a few weeks of delivery, which is included in the purchase price of your saddle. After that "Fit Check" and for the first year, we recommend that you schedule with us to come out within 6 months to evaluate the fit. This is often when the most dramatic changes will occur, once your horse gets into a saddle that allows them to use their back properly. But regardless of the age of the saddle or horse, ALL horses should and do change (see “Changing Horses” above), and far more frequently than most Riders realize. This is a positive sign that your horse is comfortable and your saddle is allowing them to develop their musculature correctly.
Imagine that you are asked to dance in shoes that don’t fit? It would not only influence your balance, but it would be very difficult for you to perform well, if at all. You could easily be injured and do irreversible damage and the same is true for your horse in an ill- fitting saddle. Horses are althetes and with increased or decreased work, as you move up through the levels, as they mature, and quite often simply seasonally, horses back will change… and your saddle needs to follow suit. You should expect to have your saddle services at MINIMUM once a year. Often we simply need to refresh and rebalance the flocking and we also perform a safety check at that time. If there is a more dramatic change, we may adjust the tree or even possibly change out the panels entirely. The endless variety of options available in designing your new saddle are also available to us in maintaining the fit. Therefore dramatic changes are less likely to necessitate an entirely new saddle with Saddlery Dresch, than when you work with other brands. While these adjustments are not included in the purchase price (please see services pricing), the cost is negligible in comparison to what you will pay a Vet or Body worker if you neglect your saddle for long enough. Like a high performance car, you need to keep your saddle tuned-up for your horse. So be sure to contact your Saddle Fitter for an appointment at minimum once a year, your horse will thank you for it!
Knee rolls/Thigh blocks, why are they so important?
Just as each horse, every rider is different as well. A seat and roll combination that works well for one rider may not work at all for the next, regardless of similarities in height, weight, leg length and riding ability. Whether Saddlery Dresch or any other brand, your saddle seat and rolls should not force you into any position. They should invite and allow the correct seat and position naturally, without fighting your saddle to get there. Other than changes during the break in process, don’t assume that you will become accustomed to an uncomfortable saddle. You won’t and most likely it will only get worse with time. And if the saddle is uncomfortable for you, most likely it does not allow you to ride in a balanced manner either. This makes it more difficult for your horse to carry you, much less perform at his/her best. Our Expert Fitters will guide you in selecting the right seat and roll combination that will not only be comfortable for you, but will balance your weight correctly for your horse.
I (or my horse) am very small/large/thin/heavy/crooked… can you make a saddle for me?
Yes we can and please see our Specialty Saddles for some examples. Our trees vary from 12 to 23 inches in seat size and come in many different shapes and widths (over 300 different trees). We can also design a custom tree for you and your horse if necessary, at no additional charge. All other components of your saddle are “hand made to measure” or “hand made to order” according to your needs. Our options are endless.
My horse is crooked and all saddles slip to one side, is there anything you can do?
Slight imbalances are normal and most can be addressed with the correct saddle and training. We recommend using a straight and symmetrical saddle, even if your horse is not. We don’t believe it is beneficial to use an asymmetric saddle in order to compensate for an asymmetrical back, as the weaker side will then carry the panel with the higher density. This will place more pressure and weight on an already weak area, and can actually do more harm than good. If the issue is not resolved within 6-8 weeks after you begin riding in our saddle, and (very importantly) with correct training, we have other options available to use that will help to resolve the issue but will not compromise your horse’s back. Please don’t hesitate to contact us; we need to be aware of the issue before we can help to resolve it.
What type of trees to you use?
We use Wood/Spring (Birchwood/steel) trees. From our experience and research, we believe this still is the best material available for saddle trees. We are aware that many different types of synthetic trees are available, they are available to use as well. But in our opinion the advantage in using them is for the Saddlers (easy to make, shorter production time, exact reproduction because they are not hand made) while they have many disadvantages for the horses (rather stiff, especially in the twist, creating “bounce”, with almost no torsion possible in many of these trees). While we are open to all new technology and research it fully, we are confident that we use the best trees for your horse that are currently available. But since we don’t compromise when it comes to the horse’s comfort, we also understand that there are always exceptions. So if your horse needs a synthetic tree, we will be happy to make one for you and ensure that we use the best quality materials available.
What flocking do you use?
The demands placed on your horse's back in riding dressage movements can not be understated, it is far more intense than any other discipline. This is why your choice of dressage saddle is so important. We use natural, grey wool, washed and combed. The grey wool has a thicker, coarser, longer fiber, creating a softer and more even surface for the panels. Wool flock will breathe and compress to the shape of your horse, while artificial materials like nylon, synthetic or foam do not. They are more far less forgiving for your horse’s back, as well as the fit of the saddle.
Do you take Trade in’s?
We are happy to trade our own saddles in towards a new Dresch saddle for any reason and please don’t hesitate to ask. We will advise you of the trade in value on your current saddle towards a new saddle. You will simply pay the difference and keep your old saddle until we deliver the new one. As markets can vary, trade in’s involving brands other than our own are at the discretion of your individual Saddle Fitter, so please consult with them directly.
What is the warranty on Dresch Saddles?
Our saddles carry a 10 year warranty on trees and industry standard 2 year warranty on leather and materials.
How do I take care of my saddle?
Please use Leather Balm conditioner only. We recommend Effax Lederbalsam. You can wipe off dirt and sweat with a damp cloth (water only), apply conditioner and use a soft brush to massage the balm into the leather. Let it sit overnight or use a soft cloth to wipe off any excess that is not soaked up by the leather. Conditioning once a week is sufficient once the saddle is broken in, a few times a week until then, or if you live in a very dry climate. PLEASE DO NOT USE SOAP ON THE SADDLES!! It will strip the dye from the leather, your saddle will look very sad, and so will you!