Category: All Purpose Saddles
Purchase: I did buy this saddle used, for $500, however you could tell it had never been used. The billets we completely unmarked and it still had the tags on it. After spending quite a bit of money and trying saddle after saddle on my hard to fit mare, I didn't want to go all out and buy a brand new one. I went with the standard Grandeur shim pad made for this model.
Likes: It is a very, very comfortable saddle. When I ride, it is generally for a minimum of 3 hours and neither my horse or I are sore after a ride. I do have a seat saver (by Gayle) on it though. It is also very secure. I've been warned that treeless saddles don't allow you to mount from the ground, but that is untrue, with Barefoot saddles at least. I try to use a mounting block at all times, but sometimes you do have to get down on the trail, and I can get back up on my 16+ hand mare if I need to, without the saddle slipping. One tip though, these saddles have very long billets, and a shorter girth helps a lot with stability... I use a 20" girth.. yes, that short or shorter is ideal. I don't know a short girth makes them more stable, but when I used a 26" dressage girth the saddle did tend to slip around a little. With the short girth, it stays where it should. Obviously, the biggest bonus to it is that it fits my impossible to fit mare. She objects to just about every saddle I've put on her, or gets swollen, dry spots, but this one she can go all day in (literally) and not be sore. I never thought I'd trust a treeless saddle on my horse's back, but they've come a long way. The pads are very supportive and it just makes sense that the weight being spread out is a lot more comfortable than it being centered under a wood or fiberglass frame (tree).
Dislikes: I do not like the Nubuck leather. Yes, it is grippy and secure, but its a pain to take care of if you want to keep it suede-like (it rubs smooth under pressure). I don't have the time to clean it with special cleaners and brush up the nap, so I just cleaned it with normal leather cleaner/conditioner and now its basically your typical smooth leather, which is fine with me. I also did not like the english leathers, but swapping them out with the Barefoot western fenders solved that problem.
Quality: I think the quality of this saddle is very high. I have not had any issues with the zippers for the pommel and cantle inserts jamming, no stitching is coming loose. I've put a lot of miles on this saddle over the last two years, and while it does show (mainly due to the nubuck showing every mark), everything is holding strong and looking good. The leather did rub smooth in places, but that's nubuck for you, if you want to keep it fuzzy, you have to take care of it properly. With a little work I could fuzz it back up, but its not worth it to me. I do want to note my Barefoot Western Fenders DO have an issue with the stitching coming out.. that was a disappointment. Its more decorative than functional, but looks bad.
Summary: Bottom line is.. if you have a hard to fit horse and you want to try treeless, this is a good mid-price brand to go with. There are better brands that have more features (such as girthing options, stirrup placement, etc), but you'll pay quite a bit more. The Barefoot brand is affordable, but still good quality (unlike some of the other treeless brands, do your research!) Personally, I find the Barefoot London Dressage to be a far more comfortable saddle than the Cheyenne, and would recommend someone buy that one instead, but don't pass up a good price on a Cheyenne either, it will serve you well.
Author: Amy J
Usefulness Rating: 3 out of 5.
9 reader(s) voted.
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