Manufacturer: County (View all products by County Saddlery)
Model: Stabilizer (View all Stabilizer Saddle reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle used in an online auction for $1,500, which was a steal given its terrific condition. New saddles retail for approx. $4,000.
Likes: I love this saddle. It has a flat seat, unobtrusive knee rolls, small rear blocks and just slightly forward flaps. I'm a low-level eventer, and I love the convenience of being able to school dressage then just shorten my stirrups a little and take some fences. Also it looks like a million bucks, even to the untrained eye and I get compliments on it every time I ride.
Dislikes: My instructor warned me that when I start needing a shorter stirrup for taller fences, the flaps wouldn't be forward enough. County also makes the Stabilizer XTR which has a more forward flap, and a lot of the other eventers in my barn swear by it. One note, it does have a flat seat, which is what I prefer. However, my saddle fitter warned me that some people prefer a deeper seat on a jumping saddle that can "catch" you as you come down over a fence. This would not be one of those saddles.
Quality: The saddle is well-balanced and the company has a reputation for great craftsmanship. My saddle is made of calf leather, which is beautifully soft but scratches very easily. I've scratched the flap brushing mud off of it with a riding glove that had suede patches. I've also marked up the knee roll just running up my irons. However, the company offers the saddle in a textured buffalo leather which is a little less prone to scratching.
Summary: The saddle is fantastic. I have great contact with my horse and it helps get my leg and seat in the proper position. It's also the only saddle I've ridden in that I didn't feel was in my way. Terrific to ride in - so comfortable you forget its there. However, if you're the kind of person that would be bothered by a ton of little scratches and marks just from everyday use, consider getting the buffalo over the calf leather.
Usefulness Rating: 4.4 out of 5.
75 reader(s) voted.
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