Category: Jumping Saddles
Purchase: I got this saddle through a tack store I worked at, so wholesale price after shipping and taxes was $2500. The recommended retail price is $3750, I think (Canadian dollars).
Likes: This saddle is BEAUTIFUL and great for its job. The seat is not too deep so it's easy to get out of for jumping. If you order from the manufacturer you can get a custom flap length (extra long and extra short will cost you about $150 extra) and forward projection of the flaps. It has medium sized knee and thigh rolls. I went for the regular leather (not the calfskin) because I ride hard and often so I didn't want the flaps to wear out. I have had it for about 7 months and the leather now stays mostly formed to the shape of the knee/thigh rolls, but when I first rode in it the flaps were not so stiff that they didn't bend. I got a tree the wider side of medium, and so far it has fit the warmblood, Quarter Horse, and Percheron/TB. Do be careful of the tree size! Prestige says that a 32 is a regular tree, but from what I can tell that would only fit horses shaped like knives. Mine is a 34 and it fits the typical North American horse.
Dislikes: The thigh roll does get in the way with a longer stirrup, but it is a jumping saddle, so don't buy it if you want to do a lot of flat work. All the literature I've read says not to use regular saddle soap and oil and instead the Prestige cleaner and conditioner, which tends to make it smell rather chemically. I've found the billet straps to be stiff, but if you can use a couple different sized girths with roller buckles that will help break them in. Better too stiff than stretching. The white leather on the cantle gets a bit dingy, but hey, it's white, and it's around horses. You can't win.
Quality: Construction is top-notch. Tight stitching; soft, even panel stuffing; and very nicely balanced. I always had to use a riser pad with my old Stubben, but this saddle fits my horses with just a saddle pad. Quality is also great. At first the leather looks a bit weird; it almost looks like a cheap saddle, but looking closer and with breaking in and conditioning it is now amazing from all angles! The calfskin on the seat and knee rolls is super soft and grippy (but not too grippy!). The tree is made of some sort of plastic/resin/magic concoction and can be adjusted 2 sizes bigger or smaller by an approved saddler, so don't despair if your saddle doesn't fit quite perfectly.
Summary: If you can afford it, buy it. This is a top of the line saddle and well worth the sticker shock.
Usefulness Rating: 3.75 out of 5.
4 reader(s) voted.
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