French Saddles: Spotlight on Voltaire (and just 2 days left in our 12 Days of Christmas sale!) December 19 2013, 0 Comments

Hi all! I hope your holiday shopping is winding down and those of you that are snowbirds and fly south for the winter are gearing up for a great holiday season and then a nice trip to FL (or wherever you are headed). Here at, things have been busy, but we wanted to take a moment and spotlight a few saddles.  Rachel is going to share her experiences via an email to our readers, and I wanted to post mine here.

Of course well all love French saddles. What's not to love? Well, maybe the price. But that's how got started. Rachel knew people loved French saddles, and wanted to provide a way for people to be able to afford the brands they love. For the holidays, we've chosen to feature lines of saddles we love and are starting with Voltaire.  Keep following for more posts in the series about some of the other great brands we carry as well.

Starting with of the newest saddlers on the scene, since its launch in 2010 they have taken the equestrian world by storm. Founded by one of the former head designers of Devoucoux, they incorporate style and functionality into their models built around excellent trees and with leather that you can just melt into. But that's not the only thing that makes these saddles great.

I'll tell you my saddle story. I am just under 5'4" with an incredibly long femur and short calf, and a nightmare to fit to a saddle.  In the past I had been riding in my old Bates Caprilli CC (back when they were still decently made) and it was okay, but sure wasn't helping me any. At the time I thought it was great, and it was a step up from my old AP, but after 10 or so years in that saddle and significant improvements in my riding, it was time for a change.  Even with my stirrups at the top hole on the leathers, the flap was too long, my knee was almost off the front top, and I barely had any clearance on the saddle in the crotch area...yeah go hunter pacing over some nice huge solid obstacles with a drop landing and I will tell you how that feels. Not good! 

I started researching saddles, and the more I read about Voltaire Design, the more I liked them. It also didn't hurt that my friend is a sales rep, but I have to admit after trying multiple saddle brands, I was impressed. The saddle was incredibly lightweight, fit me and nearly all of my horses (I have 4 that this saddle needed to work for) and was going to actually fit my leg. Add to it that riding in it was like melting into heaven. Not only did it feel great, it made a huge difference in my riding and position and my horses were happier because it felt better on their backs, too.

You can see in the image above, the difference in saddle fit. The Bates is in the middle and the Voltaire is on either side.  In the Bates, the flap is far too long, I'm barely out of the saddle, the stirrup leathers are flapping against my horse's side (George Morris would be appalled!), and there is too much flap under my knee and in front of my shin, while there is almost nothing above/in front of my knee.  I long since had taken the knee blocks off just to be able to manage where I was at.  In the outside images all I can say is WOW what a difference! Even amount of saddle flap showing around each leg, from thigh to knee to shin, and the flap is several full inches shorter than what I was used to. Voltaire kid's leathers (no really - my femur is that long and my calf is that short) and the leather is neatly tucked away. And check it out - I'm actually clearing the saddle with much more ease (even on the far left where I'm not standing much more than I am in the Bates).  My apologies for the image quality, but I don't normally have close up images of my legs at a horse show haha! I just wanted to show you what a huge difference saddle fit can make.

Well, here at, we know that new French saddles are pricey, so if you are dreaming of a French saddle, but having nightmares about the price, Rachel has several Voltaires in stock that you can shop today.  Still out of your price range? We also have great saddles such as the PJ Premiere which is under $2,000 and rides and feels like it really costs much, much more.  Look for more updates from Rachel via email in the days ahead on her experiences in Voltaire, and PJ, and why she loves them both.


In the meantime, for any last minute great gift ideas, remember there's only TWO DAYS left to get 20% off everything by Draper Therapies with code 12DAYS - from the blue infinity scarf for chilly days or nights out on the town, to their saddle pads to go under your new saddle, their stuff is amazing.  Not sure what Draper Therapies are? Read our full feature on them and Back On Track here. And for the choosy equestrian, personalized Jin Stirrups are always a great choice. While they may not make it in time for Christmas, the best things are always worth waiting for, so make your gift stand out with some of the best stirrups out there and personalization for the equestrian in your life. 

For more great gift ideas from other equestrian retailers and friends of ours, check out the list of our 12 Favorite (Equestrian) Things to give (and get) for the holidays!

Happy Holidays, Happy Riding, and all that jazz!

CJ & Rachel and the Team

Trivia: In case anyone is wondering, CJ rides in a Voltaire Palm Beach Second Skin 17.5" 1A saddle with 46" Voltaire leathers. And loves it!