Manufacturer: Gatsby (View all products by Gatsby)
Model: Close Contact Saddle (no padded flap) (View all Close Contact Saddle (no padded flap) reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: I purchased this saddle in Pensacola, Florida from Pine Forest Tack & Saddlery at a price of about $425 as a starter saddle for hunter/jumper and equitation work.
Likes: The balance of this saddle is much like that of higher-prices brands like Courbette and Crosby, and the two-tone chestnut/newmarket coloring make it appealing on almost any horse. The leather was well-oiled without being slick, and broke in easily. I've used this saddle heavily on a variety of horses, ranging from fairly thin Thoroughbreds to stocky Quarter Horses, and I haven't had any problems with saddle fit yet. I planned on using this saddle for my first couple of years of riding and then purchasing a more expensive saddle for higher work and showing, but this saddle has proven to be of such excellent balance for both hunter and equitation work, and the color has held so well, that I haven't had the need to purchase a new saddle yet, six years later! In addition to being so well-balanced, it is one of the most comfortable saddles I have ever ridden in.
Dislikes: I'd like to start off saying that though the leather is soft and has held up well, it isn't particularly high quality. There is slight rubbing where the stirrup leathers hit on the saddle, as is to be expected with any leather, but I have not had any problem with the dye coming off in any other part of the saddle. The stirrup leathers that came with the saddle (same brand, Gatsby) stretched very easily, so I would recommend either buying the saddle without fittings or using the Gatsby ones for light schooling or pleasure riding (be prepared to wrap them!) and getting some higher-quality leathers for more strenuous schooling and showing.
Quality: I've been very pleased with the construction. Again, after six years of consistant, moderate use the only real wear-and-tear on the saddle is the rub-marks on the flaps and some minor discoloration on the billets. However, both of these are to be expected on any saddle. The quality of the tree and design far outweight the quality of the leather, though the leather itself holds up very well with light care.
Summary: This really is an excellent saddle for light showing or schooling, with terrific balance and quality construction. I've had no complaints with this saddle to date, and have received many compliments on its appearance and comfort. It's even been mistaken for a "big-name" brand saddle many times! This is a comfortable saddle with great feel, balance, and durability for a very reasonable price.
Usefulness Rating: 2.35714 out of 5.
14 reader(s) voted.
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