Which Sopris saddle
We have used the Rookie saddles on our goats for a few years & also have one of the Lumbar saddles sets as well. I would have to agree with everything that Nanno has said. They are a great fit and easy on the goats without wear spots or hair pinching for the most part. The quality of the panniers themselves amaze me. Our goats have raked them on rocks, ripped them through underbrush & caught them on plenty of downfall branches & they look just like new. The attachments & straps take a but of practice but once you have it down, they are a very stable system. We have had one or (rarely) both of the pannier's attachments pop out on the Rookie sets (not the Lumbar maybe because they are so big & the weight settles lower). It seems to happen on really steep decents or gnarly tangles of brush & branches usually when the goats have to jump over deadfalls. Spring clips would solve that & I've wondered about adding them myself as that is my only complaint. The saddles are a fantastic low profile design that never catches when a goat crawls under trees, etc. unlike our crossbuck models from Northwest. The Lumbar saddle is big. Really big. The panniers are huge as well. Our goats are Alpines that weigh about 235# and stand 38" at the withers with long backs. The Lumbar saddle is pushing the limits on the length of their backs and I cannot imagine ever loading a goat to full capacity in those panniers mostly because it would limit their movement cross-country. The rookie panniers have served us well but on longer trips at least 2 of the goats are often at max capacity before they are at max weight. I haven't really wished for bigger panniers except on longer (5-7 day) trips or when we are packing in multiple people but that is the reason that we picked up the larger set as well as a couple rigs from Northwest. The straps on both systems seem more than adequate for securing loads appropriate to their capacity. If your goats are really large, the Lumbar set will do everything you ever need it to and you wouldn't have to buy multiples to adjust for length of trips. Just my two cents worth!
I use the Rookie pack with the Intermediate panniers. I never bought the Rookie panniers because they seem too small in my opinion and don't have quite as nice a design as the Intermediates, which are basically smaller versions of the panniers you get with the Lumbar saddle. And I agree with Mountain_girl--the Lumbar panniers are HUGE! It would be very easy to overload a goat with panniers that big.
Thanks for the input I think I’ll buy a couple rookies to get started and intermediate Panniers. I emailed Sopris for some measurements to see if the lumbar would fit.
Sorry, it's been a while since we bought ours but we do have the rookie saddles with the Intermediate panniers. Thanks for clarifying that, Nanno!
Could one of by chance measure the rookie saddle?
Sorry about the delay. Here's the measurements on the Rookie saddle: the foam rolls are 14"x4.5", the pads along their sides are 17"x8". I measured the Lumbar while I was out there. Foam rolls: 18"x5" the pads are about 19"x 12".
Wow. That's a very big difference between the Rookie and the Lumbar. I had no idea! I'd really love to see an intermediate 16" saddle for big goats because not many goats have a whole 18" of solid real estate between withers and hips, and it way overshoots the end of their ribcage, which is where the most skeletal support for the load is.
Thanks now i have something to work with. For some reason on Sopris website they give a couple measurements for the lumbar but nothing for the rookie.
re: pannier attachments & pannier popping out - Sopris has added a middle "tightening" strap that helps a lot, I now have 2 Rookie saddles with that.  I posted a pic on another thread.
My original Rookie without the middle tightening strap, I just use leather strings at all 4 attachment points - my goat can jump over streams and the panniers never move it all.  But, I weigh & load my panniers with plastic 13 gal garbage bags so never have a need to remove the panniers from the saddle.

re:adding abs pipe in middle of foam for rigidity - the Rookie saddle I "deconstructed" already has a piece of semi-rigid pipe inside the foam, I also posted a pic in that other thread of this too.  I'll probably pull it out for my lighter load needs in the newest Rookie saddle I got.

Also, I have a set of green Intermediate panniers that have been used a handful of times, if anyone is interested I'd sell them for $80. Can send pic.  I only use the Rookie panniers as I don't have need to carry large loads on trips.
KAT I’m interested in your panniers 503-516-3911 My name is Ray call or text

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