Model: Treeless Barrel Saddle
Category: Barrel Saddles
Purchase: A friend of mine purchased this saddle for her early teen son. Her and her husband ride Bob Marshall and Circle Y treeless saddles for trail riding and absolutely love them. She was less than impressed with this Hilason saddle upon receiving it and her son hated it after only a couple rides. So she offered to let me try it out.
Likes: I have only ridden the saddle once and it was mildly comfortable for the short duration of the ride. It has lots of silver and is a pretty saddle to look at, though on closer inspection, the basket weave tooling is not very deep and the leather is cheaply tanned (both signs of poor/cheap craftsmanship). They claim they are handmade but... I bet it's not in Texas! Or even the United States.
Dislikes: It was hard to fit on my horse. The pad between the swells sat right on my horses withers (very undesirable) and this was on a moderately withered young horse. There was also a noticeable crease running down my horse's backbone that made it uncomfortable, even for a short ride. I also had the problem with my hips hitting the swells (they are abnormally tall), as some other people have mentioned, and I imagine a larger saddle size would help with that, but it would also make the fit looser and compromise my position.
Quality: The thing that alarmed me most was that the saddle had obviously only been ridden MAYBE a handful of times, and there was already stitching ripped out of the fenders, LOTS of STITCHING. So much stitching that there are two fenders hanging from the saddle and you can now reach up inside the pad toward the seat. Being as this saddle had so little riding, it makes me very uncomfortable to think how the rigging is put in the saddle? Is it stitched in? Is it stitched in as poorly as the upper fenders were??? Will it come loose on me if a horse takes a sharp turn or bucks!? Also, the stirrups that came with the saddle are no less than a DEATH TRAP. They are far too small for anyone over the age of 3 and are constructed with material that makes them a Hang-Up waiting to happen.
Summary: You get what you pay for! My friend purchased this saddle because it was a fraction of the cost of a bob marshall or circle Y and she thought, "how bad could the quality be??" She has her answer.
Author: Friend of the Thrifty Equestrian
Usefulness Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
6 reader(s) voted.
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