Manufacturer: Chunky Monkey Saddlery (View all products by Unknown)
Model: Dressage saddle/ cutomized (View all n/a reviews)
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: I saw an ad for the saddlery on a FB Dressage page advertising used and new dressage saddles. I was looking for a saddle that would fit a very U shaped wither, much wider than even the widest dressage saddles I had found out on the market today. Chunky Monkey saddles cater to the cobb/wide pony type wither. My purchase was $1,700.
Likes: I liked that they worked with me on some of the detailing long distance, and get the fit as close as possible. For the money I have spent, it is a good saddle. I have no idea how it will hold up over time, but it is fine considering the price point. I really wanted a very good quality, used dressage saddle (Schleese, Hennig, or a saddle of like quality). It looks pretty. The measurements are correct and it fits my horse.
Dislikes: The start time to finish time was much longer than originally told to me by the sales person. When the saddle became over due I began to worry I was a victim of fraud. I ended up contacting Samantha Rhodes, I assume she is the owner and designer of the saddles, and she took over shipment of the saddle. When I received the saddle from the post office, the box looked like it had been tossed from the back of a speeding delivery truck, it was so badly damaged. I took many pics right then and there on the hood of my car. When I got home I took shots as I opened the box as well and was completely shocked at how it was packaged. Inside was the saddle, a fleece saddle cover, over a plastic bag that was over the saddle and that was it! Not a single piece of packaging popcorn, or bubble wrap in the box. The box itself was weak cardboard box, and so I was worried that the saddle would be damaged. I took the saddle out and found it to be okay, it did have indentations and a few surface scratches, but nothing major. I assume the dents will fill out and fade as well as the scratches. But I will tell you, I was stunned as to the packaging. Absolutely no care at all went in to protecting the saddle. I have had trial saddles shipped to me that were packaged like they were a $10,000 saddle, and this one packed like it was under $10,00. I have had 20 or more saddles shipped to me over the years and they have all been well packaged, period, no exceptions.
Quality: The saddle lacks many finishes that would make it better than a good saddle. The billets are really thick and stiff with rough leather on the backside. They seem to be really cheap, a low grade leather. The stirrup bar is a cheap one, no adjustments possible. There is not a place to slip the extra leather from the leathers, so I tucked it back under the flap and it hangs straight down. I don't know how I feel about that, time will tell. Many of the leather ends on the saddle are a raw edge, no leather wrapping. No custom stamp anywhere on the saddle stating size, date, or even what kind of saddle it is other than a little saddle pin on both sides with a CM for Chunky Monkey. Also, I opted to have adjustable blocks, which come the saddle rather than fixed. The blocks arrived with the same material on the underside of the flaps where they are supposed to stick to and therefore they just slip right off:( I emailed Samantha immediately about the packaging and the thigh blocks. I am waiting for a response as to how she will address the blocks, and the packaging.
Summary: I took a chance on a relatively unknown saddle maker. I liked that they specialized on the extra wide, difficult to fit U withered horses with big, broad backs. I felt that I had found a hidden gem of a saddle maker and was so excited. As I said, time will tell how the saddle holds up. Once I get the correct blocks I will be able to make adjustments for my preferences as far as blocks are concerned. But if I had to do it over again, I would instead purchase a used Schleese and have it adjusted for my horse. I purchased in this price point as my horse is young and I know I will be purchasing another saddle in a couple of years when I will step up the the big ticket price. I don't have the warm and fuzzies about this saddle, sigh....
Author: C Armstrong
Usefulness Rating: 2.90909 out of 5.
11 reader(s) voted.
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