Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: I bought a used 17.5 inch Zaldi Granada Dressage Saddle on ebay in late 2003 or early 2004 for the staggeringly low price of $175. I was a poor college student who had only ridden as a hunter my entire life, but had a glimpse of dressage through some lessons I had taken and wanted more. I knew I needed a dressage saddle, so when I found something affordable that looked like it would fit me and my horse, I made my bid.
Likes: It is a very close contact saddle that makes it easy to feel what my horse is doing as well as transmit my cues with little effort. It has a medium seat that allows you to find your own balance and doesn't overdo it on the leg rolls (which and on the under flap) with a smooth top flap that doesn't impede leg movement, but still encourages the leg to position itself properly. I have had the saddle over 6 years now and even though it doesn't quite fit my present horse, I can't quite bring myself to sell it as I doubt I would be able to find a saddle of equal value for the price I paid.
Dislikes: Now that I have ridden in a variety of different dressage saddles, I realize that there are a few things I don't like about the saddle: 1) The seat is VERY hard and slick, which made sitting the trot while schooling a rough gaited or unbalanced horse an extra challenge if not wearing leather full-seat breeches. 2) The twist is rather narrow, leading me to suspect the saddle is designed more for men than women. I have no trouble riding in the saddle, but both my mom and sister declared the saddle uncomfortable. 3) The seat isn't as generous is width as they make for women these days. I suspect my medium sized behind is at the limit of the seat, but it would work fine for men or narrow hipped women. Part of the reason my fellow women riders dislike the saddle may be due to the fact that their hip bones are a wider, so I would not recommend the saddle to full-hipped women. The slick and hard seat make this saddle best for schooling in a soft arena for a limited time. I have ridden in the saddle for over an hour and been fine, but I won't use it for any hacking or trail riding expeditions.
Quality: When I bought the saddle I had no idea what I was going to get and my professional equitation trainer mom was not familiar with the brand. Over the years I have watched this Spanish brand become much more popular as it's reputation for quality has spread. I consider it on Par with the Crosby brand (or maybe slightly better). The saddle is very well made and fits my 5'8" frame and longer legs well.The leather has held up well and is the tougher and harder spanish leather. The billets are organized in the classic fashion, right next to one another, so it doesn't distribute pressure like the newer and more popular present day billet systems, but they have held up well with no cracking or visible weakness after years of use.
Summary: This saddle has a hard seat and a narrow twist that would make it uncomfortable for many women but is very well made and fits medium to narrow withered horses well with it's cut back pommel. A good buy for the money.
Usefulness Rating: 3 out of 5.
5 reader(s) voted.
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