Manufacturer: Stubben (View all products by Stubben)
Model: Gaited Pleasure Saddle (View all Gaited Pleasure Saddle reviews)
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: In the search for a high-quality English saddle that is appropriate for showing gaited horses, I found that it's nearly impossible to find anything. Forget new cutback saddles, none of them are made like the Whitmans of 20 years ago! (I still have one by the way.) After injuries I sustained in a car accident, I found myself unable to ride in my beloved cutback without paying the price afterward. Additionally, my show horse is a very short-coupled Rocky Mountain horse. I tried several different trooper saddles, none were good in quality or fit, although they were made in the USA. I temporarily used my cutback and a therapeutic pad to finish the show season. I decided to get the Stubben Gaited saddle. It was the best decision. The quality is superior. I bought the deep seat, 19", 31cm, ebony (chocolate) online from Whitehorse Tack, California, paid $995.00. I think it was a left over. It was brand new, but had some dust in places that indicate it was probably sitting there for a while. So what! I paid nearly half the regular retail price!
Likes: The first few rides were not the most comfortable as the flocking needed to mold to my horse, and I needed to find my seat. If you're used to a cutback, you'll freak when you see how this saddle fits at first; you'll think it doesn't, but it will. (See Catherine Haddad's youtube videos to see what to expect from your new Stubben) Within about 5 rides, the flocking is molded to my horse, and I've found my seat and all is well. It fits both my old-style, round-barrelled, built-like-a-tank Rocky, and the one that's built like a Walker with high withers and slab-sides. I have even tried this saddle on the trail, it's very secure and came through w/ no scratches. Although the seat is deep, there is plenty of room. I like that there is little to no padding at the knee. You can ride with a long stirrup if that's your preference. This saddle invites you to sit in proper form, but doesn't force you there. Once you're there, there's still plenty of room to move around if needed. You are not stuck in one position. What's more, my horse likes this saddle as it places me in the correct place on his back, offers plenty of clearance over the spine and withers, and he no longer suffers from back issues, and his gait had really improved! He's happy, I'm happy!
Dislikes: The nail heads and nameplate looked awful! They appeared to be scratched and rusty. I contacted Stubben to see if this could be corrected, and was told that they purposely made this "distressed" look for some models. Yuck! It does take away from the look of the saddle if you're one who takes pride in having all tack looking its finest for the show ring or any other time. Also, it would be nice if Stubben could find a way to make the seat a little softer, although this is not bad compared to some of the gaited western saddles on the market. I understand having hard seats on saddles where the rider will typically post at the trot, but since this is not usually necessary on a gaited saddle, it would be nice for it to be just a little bit softer.
Quality: The construction is superior. The leather is much softer than the pig skin-impression leather I am used to on my cutback, but there is plenty of grip. The quality of the leather and construction is exactly what one expects when they purchase a Stubben product.
Summary: This is not really a dressage saddle, but it's the perfect hybrid of dressage, all purpose and cutback, and is perfect for gaited horses as it places the rider off of the lower ribs, offers plenty of clearance, and fits a variety of body types. It may take some time for you to find your seat, and you may be a little sore the day after each ride until you do, but the adjustment is worth it. The overall look is very classy; yes, even with the distressed nameplate and nail heads. I love this saddle and wish I would have bought one years ago. I plan to buy at least one or two more.
Usefulness Rating: 3.4 out of 5.
30 reader(s) voted.
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