Manufacturer: Collegiate (View all products by Collegiate)
Model: Diploma with Easy Change Gullet (View all Diploma with Easy Change Gullet System reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle at Fisher's Tack Shop in PA after trading in my old Kincade. After trading in my saddle I paid around $750. I tried the regular flap in store and decided to order the long flap so my knees wouldn't overshoot the flap. It came with a free saddle cover and hat.
Likes: I love the color of this saddle. It's a nice dark brown. It was a very easy transition from my old saddle, it did not pinch my leg or squeak. The seat is very comfortable and I like the recessed stirrup bar. No huge lump under my leg. The knee blocks are small but you still know they are there. The twist on this saddle is probably a med-wide and this suits me very well. I feel like I can ride properly now. I also like the changeable gullet. The horse I'm riding takes a wide and I have not noticed any back pain with her like I did with my old saddle.
Dislikes: Even though I like how the recessed stirrup bar eliminates bulk under my leg, it is really annoying to take my stirrup leathers on and off. The bar is not very big and does not have a safety switch on the end. I read one review about the stirrups slipping off when jumping but with the trouble I have removing my leathers I don't see this happening if you have wider leathers (mine are one inch Amish handmade Leathers) This saddle cleans up nicely but every time I clean and oil it, it squeaks! It didn't squeak when I rode in it new but now every time I oil it there is squeaking for about 30 minutes or so. Not a big deal, it's annoying but motivates me to keep my leg still. The leather under the leathers is wearing some. I clean and oil my saddle pretty often and it is kept indoors but I have notices the dye wearing off where the leathers lie. Once oiled with Lederbalsam, though, it goes away. I also recommend having a helper if you plan to change the gullet. It definitely takes two people.
Quality: The stitching on the saddle is really nice. I ride 1-3 times a week depending on the weather and am pretty diligent about cleaning and oiling it. The leather is still a bit stiff but the quality is infinitely better than my Kincade. Under the leathers is scuffing some and it will be interesting to see what happens as time goes on.
Summary: For the money I paid and what I got, I would most definitely recommend this saddle to someone looking for a nice, fair priced saddle. The gullet system is great and I have seen no back pain with my mare. The flaws I have found with this saddle are minor and they will not stop me from buying a Collegiate in the future
Usefulness Rating: 2 out of 5.
5 reader(s) voted.
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