Model: Grand Gilbert
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: After having my boss at the tack store bring this saddle in for trial, I bought it on ebay barely used for $999 US, retail price is $3500 Canadian.
Likes: It is so comfortable, for me and my horses. The seat is soft and grippy. It also is able to fit every single horse I put it on, from Percheron crosses to warmbloods, Thoroughbreds to Quarter Horses. I got the non-deep seat and non-gusseted panel option. I find the seat to be supportive but not restrictive, which is good for me because my horses are quite large (17 and 17.2 to my 5'3"!) and I can adjust my weight easily for added turning power. The knee blocks protrude about 2", enough to keep my knee where it is supposed to be, but, again, not restrictive.
Dislikes: I live in a wet part of the world, and if I ride in the rain without having recently oiled the saddle, a bit of the dye comes off the seat leather at the pommel. I have to be careful while cleaning it too; if I scrub too hard on the flaps my sponge gets black and the leather lightens a bit, but it seems to darken up again with oiling. It also has taken a while to break the flaps in so that they lay flat against my horse's sides.I have also found that the billet holes don't quite match up so I have one billet on one side on a different hole from the other. None of these are huge problems, just things to be aware of.
Quality: Construction is top notch. All the stitching is still tight after 2 years and I have not needed to have anything done to it. The seat and knee roll leather is a bit finer and stickier than the rest, but it is holding up very well so far (which is something, because I tend to ride in full seats all the time). The stirrup bars seem to be a very strong alloy and are recessed so there is minimal bulk under my leg.
Summary: Awesome saddle. If you can afford it, buy it. It it gets rave reviews from everyone who has ridden in it; even my very picky coach commandeered it for a weekend clinic instead of using her own saddle. Take care of it and it will definitely take care of you.
Usefulness Rating: 2.85714 out of 5.
7 reader(s) voted.
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