Double Diamond TEK Saddles
The Double Diamond TEK (short for technical) saddles are built with the very best technical features gathered from fitting for years in the distance and trail ride category. Although they may look like other saddles, they have many technical features built in that as fitters, we know make a difference: biothane under the fenders, pared down skirting to keep the weight down, our famous suspended ground seat, and more. They are custom designed by you, and custom built one at a time by a third generation master saddler in the USA. Our saddler will choose only #1 grade leather and will turn away any hide that is less than perfect. You'll notice we do not offer heavily tooled saddles: tooling can hide many imperfections in the leather and workmanship glitches, plus you can use less than perfect hides when heavily tooled. Building a clean slightly edge tooled saddle, you are getting a piece of art built by a true artisan with a high level of talent. Should you want a full tooling, we do have artisians in the area who can do that for you. In addition to building a great fitting saddle, we also provide saddle fit expertise and consultation as part of your purchase. We will contact you after you have your saddle for a couple of weeks. Fitting the dynamic ridden animal is a technique that we teach all of our customers.
Our aim is for quality, not quantity
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BUILD A CUSTOM SADDLE? Three to four months minimum and sometimes times more time.
For Double Diamond Saddles, keep in mind that your saddle is being built from the fitted tree up. We are not a huge assembly line leather shop cutting pieces by die machines, we are custom, small, and high quality. Since we build every saddle on a different fitting tree, each hand cut leather piece has to be just that: hand cut, hand fitted, according to your tree, your size, your leg length, and your design specifications. The tree alone takes a month to build.
So all in all you can expect a minimum of 12 weeks and often more to complete your saddle, then ship it to you. We do close for major holidays and a summer and winter break as well. Illness, back ordered parts, all can affect your finish time. However anything quality is worth waiting for.
OUR SUSPENDED SEAT: a no-concussion narrow twist suspended ground seat in either the TRAIL SEAT (a deeper pocket and slightly narrower twist) or the FLAT SEAT (a full inch lower where the seat attaches to the pommel results in a flatter sitting area and a bit more seat to sit on). Unlike most saddles who build with a tin, fiberglass, or hard leather ground seat covered with some foam that quickly crushes with your weight, we build on a woven suspended ground seat. You never hit a bottom. A suspended seat is not bouncy, it's got a low center of gravity and it's very close contact right over the bars of the tree. You will never need to find that comfortable spot due to sitting on something hard! Actually when riding, the suspension will mold to your shape, the rise included so you are not crashing against something hard either! You'll especially note the suspension when posting the trot for hours on end or trail riding long miles. It's the bomb!!
FIT FOR THE RIDER: obviously the seat size matters, as does the rise (flat seat vrs the trail seat). In addition, the cantle style affects how a seat feels. All the saddles have a very close contact seat that allows you to sit up with your feet / stirrups and fenders right under you for a balanced correct position. The fenders are very free swinging as they are backed with biothane, not heavy stiff layers of leather. With a suspended seat there is no need for a lot of padding as there is nothing hard to sit on. We also build your saddle with your height, weight, and inseam in mind.
TREE FIT FOR THE EQUINE: Our saddles are available on any Steele tree in a variety of semi and full quarter, gaited, true draft (not just a wide gullet), mule, Paso Fino, Arab, and more. As experienced fitters, we choose trees based on the angles, the pad you are using, and the sport you are riding. If you need a saddle for training, or several animals, we choose a tree that spans (within reason) all of them and by utilizing the fit system in the SKITO Equalizer pad, we can change the width, rock, and flare of the fit.
OUR FIT SYSTEM: we build on trees that follow the angles of the animal with the pad in mind because pads can change the fit. We do not build crooked or asymmetrical trees, so for slight fit adjustments(bridging, one side larger than the other, downhill build, or for several different animals) we use the SKITO Equalizer Pads. Look under accessories to read more. The SKITO pads offer the largest range of fit changes: by easily changing out the thickness of the interior of the pad, you change the width. By adding articulated flat and wedge shims, you can adjust the flare, bridging, and asymmetry. By adding substantial shims to the front, you can level a saddle on a young or downhill built animal. I teach each one of my customers how to "READ FIT', and that's not about sweat marks or dry marks on the dynamic ridden animal. Then I build and/or order shims according to the ever changing needs of the ever changing animal.
NOTE ABOUT OUR TREE DESIGNATIONS: we do not share with our customers the designation of the Steele tree that we choose. The reason for this company policy is you can easily take our Steele FTBS tree designation and have another saddle builder build on it, yet the fit is totally wrong for a variety of reasons. You may be able to rent a set of FTBS tree molds and do the fitting yourself should you decide to choose another saddle maker.
FENDERS: We build our fenders to be soft, free swinging, and with no break-in by backing them with biothane, plus for the riders comfort and balanced seat we offer an adjustable 3 positions for your stirrup or fender. Three styles of fenders: western, narrow trail, and endurance. For those saddles built English we offer a narrow fender that slides over the biothane leathers for pinch-protection.
WEIGHT: we pare our saddles down by eliminating layers of unnecessary leather. The Endurance models start at 14lbs. up to 18 for an english style. The Old Timer western 22-24 lbs. Larger seat sizes = heavier saddle
RIGGING: as fitters we understand that rigging makes a difference. We only employ the use of adjustable center fire rigging. English 2 billet with guide, western center fire (under the fender) with blevin adjustment, and 3point center fire (utilizes the rear D).
BARE, CLOSE and PARED DOWN UNDERSIDE: we cover just the bars of the tree on the underside with 1/2" of wool felt to allow a complete open gullet channel from front to back to protect the spine and allow heat to escape easily. Our felt does not continue under your leg to maintain that very close contact feel our saddles are famous for. We choose to not use foams on the underside because 1) foams break down quickly with heat and sweat and 2) it's not a stationary material from the standpoint of fit and 3) it would be quite expensive to replace a foam underside on a saddle. Instead, we employ the use of foam in our go to saddle pads, the SKITO, EQUIPedic, and THINLINE .
LENGTH: for example, a seat size 16 will be built on a 22" tree, no matter what the fit is. With each seat size change the tree length changes with the seat size. 17" seat = 23" and so on. The leather skirt is kept to a minimum and is just beyond the length of the tree.
REINFORCED TREES are available: should you want to use your saddle for actual light ranch work or more rigorous sports such as mounted shooting, we can double fiberglass your tree or even have it rawhide wrapped for a small upcharge!
GUARANTEE: Steele trees are warranted for five years barring a vehicle running over it or such obviously horrible incidents that do happen with horses. As for the saddle: if there's something wrong that is our responsibility, we fix it. It's that simple.
Click on the photos and you'll find more information on each model.
Why Choose Double Diamond TEK Saddles?
Because we know fit, we are both fitters and riders. We have years of experience in many categories of equines and their sports. The bottom line: Pain is a roadblock. It takes the focus from the ride, to the pain. In other words, it's distracting. We understand that it's a combination of things that is actually fit, it's never just the saddle.
Call us for more information, we love talking saddles. 336-267-0276 in North Carolina, ask for Shelby.