Manufacturer: Kates Saddle Supply
Model: RideAbout Premium Outback
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: I purchased the saddle from Kates Saddle Supply online. It was on clearance for $369, but with the "extras" I got the total came to $410. I got the 19" seat and the Heavyweight Outback Girth, both of which added to the price. Though my old saddle fits my horse, it no longer fit me. I needed a new, relatively inexpensive saddle that I could ride in every day and also take out on trails.
Likes: The saddle is very nice looking and I'm very pleased with it. Kates worked with me to make sure the saddle would fit my horse. I sent a wither tracing to them, and though I could have had the tree narrowed a bit, I wanted to be able to use it on other horses so I left it as is. The seat is deep and comfortable, and the poleys make me feel secure in the saddle. It's a much like a deep dressage saddle with a little additional security. I can post the trot and get off my horse's back going up hills quite well. The poleys do not interfere with my leg. The girthing system takes a little getting used to, but keeps the saddle in place on my horse's back very well. I've been able to leave the girth a little on the loose side without slippage. The panels are wool flocked, and are beginning to conform to my horse's back. She's a sensitive soul, and though I've been monitoring her for signs of back pain, I haven't seen any. The saddle seems to fit her very well, even though I did not get the tree adjusted for her.
Dislikes: The stirrups! The leathers the saddle came with were very stiff and rubbed big scratches in the saddle the first time I rode in it. The stirrup bar is not recessed, so the stirrup leather feels bulky under my leg. I tried using my dressage stirrups, but that just made it worse. So I bought some stirrup webbers from Wintec and now I can't feel the stirrup bar at all. The way the seat is constructed, you can feel the sides of the tree under your leg, but it is not uncomfortable. If you sit the way you're supposed to in the saddle, the "ridges" don't cause pressure points. Though for longer rides I'm going to purchase a fleece seat cover. The leather is decent quality, but scratches easily. If you like to keep your saddle looking nice, invest in a cover.
Quality: The saddle is well made and good quality for the price. The leather is soft (though easy to scratch) and all the stitching is even and durable. The billets are made of thick but pliant leather that I believe will last several years. For the price I was expecting to have to make a few alterations to suit me. In a $2000 saddle I expect perfection, in a $400 saddle I'm willing to make some changes.
Summary: If you're looking for a decent but not too expensive saddle to hack around in and take out on the trail, this is a great choice. It's not "ready to ride" when you first get it, but with minor changes it's a great saddle. It's a good deal for the price, and the customer service at Kates is excellent. They're willing to work with you so you get something that fits you and your horse.
Usefulness Rating: 1.25 out of 5.
4 reader(s) voted.
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