Category: Jumping Saddles
Purchase: I outgrew my Ainsley Pro (it only supported me to 3', at 3'3" had difficulty staying with my horse in the air over oxers) and discovered the narrow twist jumping saddles!! Have a friend with a Forestier - their older Military Saddle, which is wonderful, but not being made anymore and very hard to find used. Tried the Chiberta which rode just like the Forestier. Devoucoux makes each new saddle custom for you and your horse! They run new $3500-$3800. Since I couldn't afford new, I looked for used, and found a used one in the UK for 1,000 pds. Worked out to US$2,000 total, including shipping for a used Chiberta in good condition. Bought it from a working student of Lucinda Green (very famous eventer). Most used go for $2200-2800 in the States.
Likes: I love, and I mean love this saddle. It is a narrow twist, monoflap and the ultimate in close contact!! Great thigh and calf blocks, I never struggle to stay with my horse, ever! It's a very forward jumping saddle, designed for both xc and jumpers, I like it better then the Biarritz used by the Hunters. The Chiberta provides more support to the rider than the Biarritz. I've tried the Prestige jumper saddles, and others, and they're very nice - but they simply could not compare to Devoucoux. The balance, the close contact are fantastic, if my horse jumps big over a fence, I can stay with her with no problem - this is not b/c I'm that great of a rider, but b/c the saddle supports my position so well - but you aren't "locked in". Probably not a saddle for a beginner, as it is sooo close contact that you do need to have either decent body control or a deadhead horse who ignores inadvertent movements/twitches. For a sensitive mare like I have and an experienced adult amateur with good body control, it's a wonderful, wonderful saddle. Will buy one new when I wears this one out!! Oh - and only buy the full french calf, it's wonderfully sticky and very soft all over. The french calf only on seat and knee roll is not nearly as good, huge huge difference in your riding with the full french calf (especially with full seat breeches).
Dislikes: Only downside is that the french calf is soft, and won't wear as long as cowhide. But my saddle is 3-4 years old, and the only permanent rub spot was from the previous owner's draw reins in one small area. But any superficial rub marks come right out of the saddle, and it's not fragile. Had a bad spill in December where the horse hit the ground hard and dug dirt into the saddle, but no rips - it is pretty sturdy, but won't last 20 years of daily use, probably.
Quality: Highest end construction you can find. Seams are tight, stitching is beautiful, panels are stuffed well and don't have to be redone every few years like some saddles I've had. Super super high quality, well worth the money for a used one, to be honest. Note if something wears, you can send it to France and Devoucoux will fix anything you want, and it's much cheaper than buying a new one!!
Summary: 6 out of 5 stars!! Am saving up for a Devoucoux dressage saddle, as I really want a monoflap, narrow twist to ride in for dressage, as well.
Usefulness Rating: 0 out of 5.
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