Manufacturer: Chick's (View all products by Chick's Saddlery)
Model: Chick's Close Contact Beginner Package (View all Chick\'s Close Contact Beginner Package reviews)
Category: All Purpose Saddles
Purchase: I ordered this package over ten years ago when I got my first horse. I think I paid $199 for the package. I was in a rush to get something temporary, and it took five years to get something to replace it.
Likes: The price, obviously, was the main incentive. Ten years ago, I liked close-contact saddles more than all-purpose saddles. A friend bought the all-purpose package and I didn't like the look of the flaps or the deep seat, so I went with the close-contact one instead. It has a shallow seat, which I like, and the leather, for the price, is a decent quality. All of these years later, the saddle has held up pretty well. And I rode it TO DEATH for at least five years. There weren't tree-size options (What do you want? It was $200), but it fit most horses I put it on anyway. For the price, it's not a bad-looking or uncomfortable saddle. It's not in the same league as my new Luc Childeric, but it was also $2,600 LESS. It's an absolute bargain and my younger cousins are still riding in it.
Dislikes: The leather quality left something to be desired, but I worked through that, and it's now a soft seat from years of abuse. What can you complain about? It was REALLY cheap, and it earned its keep. I have no real complaints.
Quality: The stitching on the saddle has held up very well all of these years, and the seat has gotten more comfortable as time wore on. If it were worth the effort, it could probably stand to be re-stuffed, but that would cost more than the saddle was worth originally. The saddle pad that came with it was sort of useless. Slippery, cheap fleece. I hated it and it was immediately demoted to a cat bed. The irons are still going to this day, but on a different saddle, because I always hated the look of hunt irons. The leathers fell apart, but I bought better ones almost immediately anyway. The girth is still holding up (it's actually not noticeably poor quality at all). The bridle, also, is still being used. I think we had the hooks that attach the bit replaced (don't ask me why we bothered paying as much for the repair as the bridle was worth... I guess it was just broken in), but I always kept my tack very clean and make my younger cousins who use my tack now keep after things.
Summary: This saddle, even of visibly lower quality than most you'll come across, is proof that if you take care of something, it'll last. It was a bargain, and if you budget time to scrub away the sweat after EVERY ride, no matter how tired you are, you can make your tack last. CLEAN YOUR TACK! It'll last as long as you need it to!
Usefulness Rating: 3.66667 out of 5.
6 reader(s) voted.
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