Manufacturer: Henri De Rivel (View all products by Henri de Rivel (HDR))
Model: Synthetic Competition Close Contact (Adjust-To-Fit) (View all Synthetic Competition Close Contact (Adjust-To-Fit) reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: After purchasing a young horse who was going between saddle sizes every two weeks every time he gained muscle and changed shape, I decided I needed something with an adjustable gullet to give myself some breathing room. I decided on synthetic so I could have a nice throw around saddle, that I didn't have to worry about scratching and scuffing, or getting wet. We owned our own tack store at the time and one of the company representatives suggested that I give this saddle a try. This saddle retails for aprox. $410.
Likes: I love the adjust-ability of this saddle! Having the gullets to switch really help when you are working with any horse, as you can make minor adjustments for when their body shape changes as they gain or lose muscle. The saddle itself is very tough, I use it every day, (and have for about 2 years now) on my horse and others and it has not worn out at all like synthetics typically do. It is fairly comfortable, and allows you to use a proper seat. It is also really nice looking, the online pics do not do it justice. I get compliments all the time on how unique and good looking it is.
Dislikes: The billets on the saddle are extremely wide. In fact, the only brand of girth that I have found that will fit is HDR. They also take a very VERY long time to break in, and are a pain to use at first. However, they are thick and sturdy, and seem like they will last a very long time. As with all synthetics, yes, it squeaks and I have not found anything to make it stop squeaking yet. The gullet plates on this saddle were also extremely hard to change, as the holes were drilled at the wrong angle. However, I bought one of the "pre-sale" saddles, and have been told that they have since corrected the problem.
Quality: The quality on this saddle is fantastic. I was very pleasantly surprised. Everything is well made and sturdy, and the saddle actually looks nice as well, unlike other synthetics. I also like the adjustable gullet plate system on this saddle in that the angle of the plates actually match the majority of horses. Having used other brands in the past (such as wintec) that have sored my horses and left saddle sores under the gullet plates, I am very happy that HDR has gotten it right.
Summary: This is a fantastic synthetic. I am extremely happy with the quality, and love being able to adjust the saddle to fit whatever horse I'm riding. If you have multiple horses to ride, and don't want to have to worry about damaging the saddle, this is for you.
Author: Monique R. J
Usefulness Rating: 2.8 out of 5.
5 reader(s) voted.
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