Fiona Page (Dalkeith)
I first discovered Lee Valley Saddlery 15 years ago whilst looking for a saddler who provided made to measure bespoke tack. At the time I had a very sturdy Welsh Section D and given his slightly awkward shape getting one made for him was the best solution. For 12 years this saddle carried me to many competitions and required only regular checks as the saddle fitted like a glove. The saddle fitted until I retired him 3 years ago. I take delight in knowing that my horse was comfortable during his working years.
Just recently I had Philip and Karen measure up the latest addition to my family (another Welsh Section D) for a saddle who is also an awkward customer given her shape and age, just 5 and still growing. On arrival of the new saddle I can honestly say that I was sitting properly on my young horse for the first time. The quality of her work since the fitting has been amazing, she is much freer in her movement in all paces. I am now positioned correctly so this helps immensely. The saddle has been designed specifically to accommodate future growth – over to Philip and Karen on the technical side of this! The saddle is of the highest quality and knowing that it fits your horse properly gives great peace of mind.
Philip and Karen provide a first class service and have been a great asset to me over the years. With any horse, correctly fitting tack is essential and I have such confidence in Lee Valley Saddlery that they will always be the people I turn to for guidance.
Geraldine Fraser (Oban)
A big thank you to Karen and Philip of Lee Valley Saddlery for the excellent service. It was informative and professional. The saddles for my two highland ponies are superbly made and are very comfortable. I am impressed by the Flair system (which has air instead of flocking) which can be adjusted if the pony’s shape changes. The ponies are relaxed and balanced in all paces. I am sitting much deeper thereby feeling more secure in the seat. The after sales service, annually checking the saddles and the ponies, ie shape and back muscles, gives peace of mind. At the end of the day we are all working together for the rider and pony’s welfare. I cannot commend Karen and Philip enough!
Val Main (MSc Equine Science, Edinburgh)
I have been delighted with the service that I’ve had from Karen and Philip who have been my saddlers for over 10 years. In addition to supplying bespoke, made to measure saddles for my horses, they have dealt with all my tack repairs and saddle adjustments promptly.
Laura Curran (Galashiels)
Icelandics are small horses ridden by adults, and they have two lateral gaits as well as three normal ones. They are notoriously difficult to find good saddles for, and since importing Skjor from Iceland three years ago I went through several saddles that were “all right, but…”
I met Karen and Philip Howard first when Karen made a 12 inch dressage girth to my (somewhat complicated) needs. I was impressed with the service and workmanship and later asked for a made to measure (and designed with buckles at the poll, to be hidden by the massive Icelandic mane) show bridle. Also fantastic.
So I asked them to have a look at the horse and see if they could help find the perfect saddle. What can I say? Skjor is now fitted with a fabulous saddle which has raised his performance in competition by several points, and my performance as a rider by even more. I could have saved a fortune in ‘not quite perfect’ saddles if only I had asked them earlier, but I’m so glad I eventually took the plunge.
They are genuinely interested in the needs of the horse and rider and took a great deal of time and trouble to find the right saddle for training the gaited horse. Philip and Karen went the extra mile to discover and match our needs.
Picture shows Skjor at the British Championships 2008, fully kitted out by Lee Valley Saddlery.
Jill Calder (Lanarkshire)
I would highly recommend Phillip & Karen Howard from Lee Valley Saddlery to fit any kind of saddle. They are 100% honest and reliable, and provide an excellent saddle fitting service, which is second to none! I have used this company to fit saddles for my arabian horses for many years , and definately wouldn’t contemplate using any other saddler!
Anne Marie McAllister (Cumbernauld)
Just wanted to write to thank you both very much for the new saddle and bridle you made for Jessica. We are delighted with them – not only with the quality and craftsmanship but the thought that has gone into designing them.
I also wanted to thank you both for your extremely friendly and professional service – from my initial phone call to Karen, through to the fittings and I’m sure to the back-up service. In my experience you are unique in this. Also, you both had such a lovely and patient manner with Jessica (and us!) and we appreciate that greatly too.
Laura & Patsy (South Queensferry)
I have owned Patsy, an Irish Draught-Cross Thoroughbred for just over 5 years. At 16.2 hands, this moody mare was nothing other than an impulse buy having taken lessons on her for no more than a handful of occasions – definitely not a horse for the novice, but how could I resist her?!
It was abundantly clear from an early stage that something was troubling my new found best-buddy. Patsy’s attitude was indifferent at times and her reluctance to be saddled was causing concern. It transpired that this condition derived from previous owner’s ill-treatment and Patsy’s back problem had developed over a period of time but was never treated.
After going through 3 saddles in 18 months all from the same previous saddler fitter, I was at the end of my tether and just what was I going to do with all these saddles! I needed to find a new saddle fitter who was more interested in the welfare of my horse rather than that of their bank balance!
I then discovered Lee Valley Saddlery through personal recommendation from a friend at our yard and 4 years on, I can honestly say that I have never looked back since making that initial call!
Philip and Karen’s first visit to the yard was on a cold bitter day in the middle of winter, hardly conducive for a mare to have someone decide on a new saddle! However, from that day on I felt we were all working as a team to develop the best solution for Patsy in line with the new treatment she was getting for her back.
Philip and Karen have always been patient, kind and keen to impart any knowledge possible to help me understand what is needed for Patsy. They have taught me so much about my own horse and the importance of having correctly fitting tack.
Patsy and I have benefitted immensely from us all working as a Team and we have all noticed some remarkable and major improvements. Philip and Karen have taught me well along this journey on how to identify when the saddle needs checked before Patsy shows any signs of discomfort and pain.
After a couple of years monitoring the seasonal changes in Patsy’s shape and the development of muscles due to successful back treatments, good saddle fitters and exercising properly and more regularly, I had complete and utter confidence in them to make my first ever purchase of a made to measure saddle – what a massive and successful journey for all the Team involved! Patsy’s saddle has made a huge difference in the way she works and has been a real turning point in this horse owner’s life!
Lee Valley Saddlery have played such an important part of the success that is Patsy. It is heart-warming to be able to pick up the phone and be greeted with such personal purpose, with them knowing you and your horse as if you are their only customer. Indeed, we are so indebted to the team at Lee Valley Saddlery that should they have any visions of retirement in the very distant future, don’t be surprised if you wake up one morning with a horse and owner at your front door!
Hannah & Piggy (Ayr)
I first heard of Lee Valley Saddlery when I took part in an equine physiotherapy clinic.
Karen and Philip were really helpful in explaining the difference in all aspects of tack, fitting of saddles especially. I decided to buy a new saddle and after shopping round and getting prices I phoned Lee Valley. It was going to work out cheaper, and most importantly better for my horse to buy a made to measure saddle.
Karen and Philip came out to me with in 2 weeks, measured up Piggy, and asked exactly what I wanted from my saddle, what I would be doing with Piggy and his level of fitness. Once the templates had been taken, we discussed options, I decided on a deeper seat, with a straighter leg but still being able to shorten up for Jumping, I even got to pick a colour, what kind of leather I wanted and the size of the knee rolls!!!
Whilst waiting for my saddle Karen and Philip kept in touch to tell me of its progress. It was only about 6 weeks till my new saddle arrived.
We spent a good hour looking at it double checking the fit and sitting in it. It fitted perfectly, both Piggy and I were comfortable and there has been a noticeable difference in the way that he moves!!!! I will also be having my new showing bridle made by them!
Thank you Lee Valley!!!!!!