Manufacturer: CHS Saddlery
Model: Arthur Kottas Imperial
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: I took this saddle on trial to see if it would work for my horse. It was in excellent used condition. I paid $1500. I had been looking A LONG TIME for a good fitting saddle for my hard to fit broad backed, yet some wither definition warmblood. He has huge shoulders and nothing fits right/comfortably. I think this saddle retails new for over $2,500 not including shipping/tax. So it was a reasonable price for what I paid.
Likes: This saddle is as GORGEOUS as it is COMFORTABLE!!! I cannot stress how NICE this saddle is! The seat runs true to size (or at least it did for me; I ride a 17.5 inch seat and am 5ft 8inches tall.) It has a medium deep seat, but it is oh so comfortable and luxurious. The large knee rolls DO NOT restrict or make you feel locked-in...they gently guide you into the right place in the saddle. There was literally NO effort in getting the ear/shoulder/elbow/hip/knee/heel alignment! I sooo loved this saddle!
Dislikes: The bad news...it didn't fit my horse :'( I tried the only used Arthur Kottas available from the shop, which was a #5 Wide tree (I think that's as high as the tree number goes?). Everything seemed to fit fine: the channel between the panels was nice and wide to clear his spine; the pommel nicely cleared his withers, BUT the side flaps/panels cut into his broad shoulders and pinched them :( I was sooo disappointed! This was the ONE saddle EVER that was the most comfortable for me too! But my horse deserves the best and I would NEVER allow him to be uncomfortable...he means more...
Quality: The quality is SUPERIOR! Gorgeous, soft, lovely aromatic leather. Super GENEROUS channel between panels to clear the horse's spine. SOFT, luxurious panels/wool flocking that has give for the horse and is soft to the touch. Other saddles (high end) I've tried DO NOT have this soft, forgiving flocking/panels that this Kottas has! I've tried Passier, Kieffer, Albion, Klimke, etc...NONE have nothing on this saddle! It has spaced point billets for great stability on the horse. Big knee rolls that surprisingly don't hinder your position/movement. Even so it is deep, the saddle feels close contact...which is rare in deep seat dressage saddles I've encountered. There isn't a whole bunch of padding/thick flap on the sides where the legs go...you can feel the horse PERFECTLY while in the saddle. It does have a higher pommel, but it DOES NOT hinder rising trot at all! This saddle is made in England.
Summary: I really LOVE this saddle and if it fit my horse...you'd have to rip it from my cold, dead hands before I'd give it up! LOL True, true! This saddle will not do for flat broad backed horses or horses that are broad and have some wither definition like mine. Mine is a baroque old school Oldenburg...wouldn't do well on baroque, unfortunately :( Would be great for thoroughbred types, medium build horses with some prominent withers. Awesome saddle...if you have a horse it fits, you are one lucky dog! :)
Usefulness Rating: 2 out of 5.
4 reader(s) voted.
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