Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Friday, June 26, 2015

Tale of Two Saddles~

Linda's McClintock Saddle
June of 2104, I gave up on my second custom made saddle.  After replacing the tree, there were issues with the rigging.   I'd spent more than enough money on trying to get it right, so put it up for sale.  I was using my old Bighorn, felt insecure in it & Farah knew it.  On one particular ride, not long after - with Linda, she watched as Farah did all her ornery antics & I tried to stay on top.  When we returned to her place, she disappeared into a shed, came back & thrust the saddle above at me!  She said;  "Try this one, it's a great saddle & has a deep seat.
July 22, in Linda's McClintock
After a ride or two, I soon added padding to the rock hard seat!  Otherwise, I was in love with it!  Butch & I were sitting out one hot evening, the saddle was on the stand & we were both admiring it's style.  Butch said;  "Why don't you just order one like this?"  That started the search & I felt so lucky to find Garry McClintock - still in business.  When I called, I explained that I'd been seriously ripped off with my last custom saddle.  Also how much I liked the saddle I was borrowing - one of his!  He was gracious, told the history of how he'd made that particular style & how surprised he was that one had turned up, since he'd only made a few.  Garry said he was just finishing up a saddle & mine would be next. 
Waves on the the withers~
I was riding a lot of miles & the only problem that cropped up was the waves on Farah's withers.  I did some searching & couldn't find a definitive answer as to a cause - but I did notice it on photos of other horses.  She wasn't sore & the only problem I'd had was being pitched a little further forward than I like on the steep downhills.  I decided to pull out some shoulder shims & started using those.  The waves improved, but never went away.  Since the sheepskin was completely worn off the bars of the saddle, I started using my woolback with supracore inserts & the problem almost completely went away.  That is the way we rode a couple LD's & Mt. Adams for two years.  No issues at all.

I tried not to call & harass Garry as the months went by.  When I did reach him, he'd been in an auto accident, in the hospital & was just getting back to work.  Yes, my saddle would be done soon.  Then - he had additional health issues & again - my saddle was being worked on.  Finally, I had to say;  "Either the saddle or my money back!"  At that point I was told it would be in the mail in a week.  The week stretched to two & the new saddle arrived last Sat.  We returned home on Sunday.  Butch sat out the stand & helped me unpack it.  It's hard to express the total disappointment I felt as it came free of the box.
Holes in the leather on the Pommel
Holes in the pommel :-(
off side rigging adjustment strap
The off side rigging strap only had one hole punched!

Near side rigging
On the near side, there were three holes, but of different sizes & different distances apart!  When we pulled both straps under the saddle - none of these holes lined up with the one on the off side!  There was no reinforcement.
Reinforced rigging on Linda's
Garry had sent me bucking rolls for Linda's saddle, Butch had no problem installing them.  When he went to put them on this saddle - big problem...  The screws in front didn't line up!  The one on the near side was so close to the pommel that there was no way to screw in the bucking roll.  When he got out a tape to measure, each side of the saddle was different.  He had to move the screw to get the bucking rolls to fit.
Off side with Bucking roll attached
Now near side~

Uneven screws from side-to-side, we had to move the left, to install the bucking rolls.

Bucking roll now in place~
We'd punched holes in the rigging strap, got the bucking rolls on - I was ready to take it for a test ride.  That's when I discovered that the breast collar fit cockeyed & the rigging was so long that my cinch didn't work.   Then - of course the blisters on Farah's sides...

We took a closer look & realized that the entire saddle is crooked.  The off side seems fine, the near side somehow doesn't match it.  When I picked up Linda's saddle yesterday & we sat them side-by-side last night - the differences were blatantly obvious.
Something crooked this way comes...  You can also see where the rawhide trim is already loose 1/3rd of the way up the off-side.
The leading edge of the front of the bar on the near side, flares in - toward the horse.  The other side flares out - as it should.   No matter how hard you try, the saddle doesn't sit square.
Linda's -Both sides equal & flare out~
Under the seat, where the panels are supposed to be tight - well - see for yourself!
Crooked somewhere in the tree - large gaps, shoddy work~
Uneven~ You can see too, how the leather on the right in the photo flares down, under the D-ring
Even in the photo you can tell that there's an unevenness between the left & right sides of the saddle.  I think it took some jury-rigging to even make it look close to right...  There are many other issues, uneven stitching & just general shoddy workmanship.

Tomorrow, we're heading over to visit Everett, pick up hay & we're taking both saddles with us.  Everett has kindly agreed to build me a saddle just like Linda's - if that's what I want.  It will take a couple months to get a tree & until Fall for completion.  I've asked Linda, she may be willing to sell her saddle.  I'm going to ask Everett for an estimate as to what it would cost to replace the sheepskin & rigging - which is getting old now & showing it's age.  Also - the possibility of adding padding to the seat.  Then his eye as to how the fit for Farah is.  At this point in the game - whatever will work best is what I'll do.

Another story for another day~!  Keep your fingers crossed for me - that Mr. McClintock will refund my money - which he says he doesn't have until he sells this saddle.  Personally - I can't even see it selling...  Since he wasn't as good as his word when it came to ripping me off - I can't imagine that his word is any good when it comes to "making it right" & refunding our hard earned money...  I have to ask myself - which saddle gods I've managed to tick off?


  1. OMG, that sucks! That is such a poorly made saddle. Too bad he didn't have the honesty to say that he wasn't up to making saddles anymore and refund your money. You should take him to small claims court if he doesn't refund your money soon. Who the heck else would buy such a piece of junk?
    It seems like he heard your story about being ripped off on your last custom saddle and maybe subconsciously thought he could get away with half-assed work too. Did you ever get your money back on the other saddle?

    1. No - he put it back together after we put in the new tree, but it still wasn't right... It's fine for a rider who just trail rides, but for endurance - or faster riding - not so much.

  2. Sadly Garry McClintock passed away in August from the combination of the effects of the accident and the cancer that he was battling. He was known for making fine saddles, too bad that he was not up to making your saddle.

    1. Linda's saddle is still beautiful, a testament to the fine work that Garry did...

  3. I think there were other people making saddles for Gerry towards his end, we had a like story about a bad saddle but all of the rest of the saddles we have bought from him were great, mine is my favorite saddle. It's sad to read this because at one time a McClintock saddle was the cream of the crop

    1. Appreciate you comment Harry - Linda's saddle was so beautiful, that's why I had the confidence to order from Garry. I never did get back my $500. deposit. I'd sent a check. Our card company did get the remainder refunded to us.


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