Manufacturer: Pro Am
Model: Child's All Purpose English Saddle
Category: All Purpose Saddles
Purchase: This saddle is sometimes used at a lesson barn where I teach. The small seat makes young children more comfortable while riding because it seems to fit them better than a regularly sized saddle. I don't know how much it was bought for, but Ebay has some Pro Am packages that include leathers, irons, a girth, white fleece pad, a bridle and a snaffle bit. They go for approximately $200 US (as a Buy It Now price).
Likes: The synthetic material on the seat and knee rolls is pretty grippy (though it's not like synthetic suede).. it's more of a smoother material, reportedly also used in scuba diving suits. The saddle is light enough for children to carry when they're able to help with tacking up, or cleaning up after a ride! The seat is also deep enough to give a child security in the saddle.
Dislikes: The billets. This saddle is fairly old so I don't know if the newer models have changed at all, but the billets on this saddle are stretchy and gummy. From Ebay tack stores, these billets are supposed to be reinforced, but I don't know how they could be when they're so stretchy. It's very odd. I understand that having some give where the saddle and girth connect is good - it allows the horse more freedom and makes them more comfortable, however if there were to be some give, I'd much prefer to see elastic ends on a girth instead. These seem to have held up alright considering the amount of use this saddle has gotten, but the holes on the billets are getting stretched out. If there was one bonus to how stretchy they are, it might be that they wouldn't freeze or get stiff in the winter, but I don't know for sure.
Quality: Soft foam seat and knee rolls covered in synthetic material that is also supposed to be used in making scuba diving suits. The synthetic material at the back of the cantle is kind of bunched up, and was stitched in that way. Reinforced tree with flexible points to allow a horses shoulder to move more freely. Very stretchy billets... Especially for a smaller saddle that will likely be used on ponies, I'd also like to see a crupper ring (which this saddle does not have) but that's not a huge deal.
Summary: An okay saddle in a pinch, but it's not really something I would buy or recommend. I feel you could buy a much better saddle, for a reasonable price, and be happier - it's just a matter of looking around and seeing what's available when you want to make a purchase.
Author: Katie W
Usefulness Rating: 3 out of 5.
5 reader(s) voted.
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