If it’s possible to use the internet to stalk the internet, that’s exactly what happened here.
I was really sad when I had to send back the saddle I had on trial. I loved it, the price was right, and it was pretty (well ok except for those green calf blocks, but I could have fixed that). But a lot of good came out of trying that saddle, since I was able to figure out exactly what panel specs Henry needs and exactly what flap specs and sizing I needed. The hunt was on! Shouldn’t be too hard, right?
If I had needed the 4P panel, with the built up front, I would have been in business. Or if I needed a regular forward flap instead of the extra forward. Finding our exact mixture of specs was like searching for a needle in the Devoucoux haystack. I immediately added another $500 to my budget, just to open up my options as much as possible, but it wasn’t really the budget that was the problem. It was finding one. I stalked every french saddle site, french classifieds, US high end saddle sites, ebay, instagram, facebook… you name it, every single day I was checking. Facebook yielded the most results by far. Every morning I searched “Devoucoux Chiberta”, sorted the results by date, and shuffled through all the new posts.
And finally, after a couple weeks of stalking the hell out of the internet, a particularly promising one popped up in my facebook results. It had been posted in a UK eventing group just a few hours before. Because of course it’s not in America, why would it possibly be that simple? I asked for a photo of the serial number, and lo and behold, it was exactly what I needed. And waaaaay under budget. Thanks Brexit!
But the tricky thing with buying stuff internationally is that a lot of people don’t want to bother with the hassle. I don’t blame them, I wouldn’t either. Luckily this woman was super nice, took tons more pictures for me, and said she would get me a shipping quote. A couple days later I had paid her via Paypal, the saddle was dropped off at DHL Express, and the Devoucoux was on it’s way home to me. DHL did try to jack up the price from what they had originally quoted her, but she stood her ground and they honored the price. So, for less than I had spent on the first trial saddle, I now have a new Devoucoux in my tack room.
But how does it fit, you ask? This is the fun part of buying something from overseas with no trial. You have to be REALLY sure of what you’re getting. I was confident that a saddle with these specs would fit him, based on our experiences with the brand, and luckily it does. It fits me perfectly, too. Yay for standardization of sizing and fit. It feels just as magical as the others, too, especially when we’re galloping. I just can’t get over how good the balance of this thing is. It makes everything feel much easier.
The saddle is a bit older than I was wanting, a 2012 model, but 1) it’s in great shape, 2) it was cheap. I’m plenty satisfied with the purchase. I’ll probably end up having the billets replaced within the next year or so, but they’re really the only part of the saddle that shows much wear. It’s obviously been well taken care of over the years.
And with that, the saddle hunt comes to an end. Thank goodness. I was getting tired of stalking the internet. But considering how much Grem loves the box and wrapping, it kind of made the whole thing worth it.