If you're a Stubben enthusiast, names like Parsifal, Siegfried and Tristan don't bring to mind Wagnerian opera, but world-class European saddlery. While the family run company began in late 19th century Germany, it began flourishing internationally after World War II. That's also when different styles of saddles began receiving individual names, Wagnerian or otherwise. When well-cared for, these expertly crafted saddles hold their value for many years, and can last a lifetime. If you're considering the purchase of a used Stubben and aren't certain how old it is, there are basic ways to tell its age.
Raise the right saddle flap and check the billet guard. That's the piece of leather through which the billet straps -- to which you affix the girth -- are threaded. The company stamps the individual serial number of each saddle on the billet guard on the far side. The serial number actually starts with a letter. If you contact Stubben with the serial number, a representative can tell you how old your saddle is and the person who made it. The serial number also contains the tree width.
It's quite possible that the billets guards of an older Stubben are missing, or that the originals are no longer on the saddle. If that's the case, all is not necessarily lost. Take digital photos of your saddle from all angles, as well as the underside and underneath the flap. Send your photos and pertinent information to the company at email@example.com, and a representative should get back to you with your saddle's approximate age.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.