Manufacturer: Heather Moffett Enlightened Equitation
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: About a year before I bought this saddle, I rode in an SBS model at the college I attended and LOVED it. I have always had problems with pinching with my thighs and this was the first ride I'd ever had where I didn't have to struggle with the saddle to keep my leg where it was supposed to go, and as a result, was far more relaxed. I also have a difficult to fit Oldenburg mare. She has a flat, wide back and broad shoulder and the withers of a Thoroughbred. I would be able to find a tree the correct size, but every saddle pinched her in the shoulders. I decided I wanted to try a Heather Moffett saddle on my horse since it had worked so well for me. I looked for months and I finally found one on ebay for $1800 (18" seat size, suede and leather) and snatched it up the second I saw it. I teach riding lessons and train horses as well and I wanted it because I needed a saddle that many horses and students would be comfortable in and would help both learn to work correctly with as few road blocks as possible.
Likes: The balance of this saddle is superb. The stirrup bars are set farther back and it makes it so much easier to sit correctly. It also has velcro where the thigh blocks go so they are interchangeable to fit a variety of riders. My leg is more stable is this dressage saddle than in any other saddle I have ridden in. This saddle also fits multiple horses. Not all of them love it, but all of the horses I have used it on have been comfortable enough to work through the back in it. It fits everything from the table top back to the older horse with muscle atrophy and a shark-fin withers without rubbing or pinching- wonderful if you are a trainer with loads of horses. I love that it comes with two different shaped foam panel inserts to fit different horses. I have found that the ones shaped for an A-framed horse are more stable on all the horses I have used it on. This is a very stable saddle. It only slips if you don't tighten your girth enough (same as a traditional saddle). The girth does need extra tightening before and during the ride as the saddle settles quite a bit once you're on since it's made of foam. The advantage to this is that it absorbs a lot of the shock of a big or bouncy stride. I was also at a clinic recently and rode in traditional treed saddles there. After I got off, my knees were very sore- something that has never happened to me while riding in this saddle.
Dislikes: The only thing that I can say I've had a problem with is that the twist collapses on this saddle if you have a rider that pitches the upper body forward, creating uneven weight distribution. I would like to try it with the suberpanel and see if that fixes the problem. Also, this isn't something I especially dislike just something to be aware of- my students who are used to riding in treed saddles, especially my hunter jumper students, complain of being sore after riding in it, as it does stretch your thighs down. People who are very tight in their hip-flexors will likely have the same issue. It does take some getting used to- it is VERY comfortable but does have a different feel than a treed saddle. I think that it offers just as much support if not more than the treed saddles I rode in though.
Quality: It is one of the highest quality saddles I have seen and is superbly constructed. I've ridden in custom made saddles most of my life and this trumps even those. The leather is easily as nice (if not better) than you will find on a very expensive leather handbag. The stitching is flawless and the new stirrup bar design (different from the SBS I rode in) is much better- the stirrup leather came right off the bar in the SBS and this has never happened in the Vogue. Even the Billet leather is soft and supple yet very strong. I have been riding in this saddle for months and it looks just as nice as the day I pulled it out of the box.
Summary: Overall I really like this saddle. It is very comfortable, is good for most horses, and my students are always shocked at how nice it is when they first sit in it. The quality and construction is outstanding. It is very supportive, does not slip, and puts the rider into a very nice position without them having to force it. A very, very well designed treeless saddle. It is pricey, but is worth every penny. I give this saddle a 4.75 only because of the issue with the twist, which may not be an issue when using the subberpannel- I will need to try it and find out!
Usefulness Rating: 3.4 out of 5.
10 reader(s) voted.
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