Manufacturer: Barefoot Saddlery
Model: Arizona (Nubuck model)
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: I acquired this saddle from Action Rider Tack. From what I can tell, the Arizona retails everywhere for $899 plus another 100+ in fenders, and this does not include stirrups. This is not the fault of Action Rider, which had amazing customer service, and I would buy again from them in a heartbeat! They did everything they could to accommodate me and are a wonderful company. This is simply how Barefoot saddles are sold.
Likes: It seems to be well made throughout the seat and the skirt, has a very soft fleecy underside, is thickly padded, and is far better looking than most other treeless saddles. It is very lightweight and the whole concept appealed to me. The fenders are free-swinging and easy to adjust. I thought it would be fabulous, but...
Dislikes: Everything beyond looking at it and lifting it. The fenders are such cheap quality, painted leather that they resemble plastic, with a cheap looking edge seam. They are hard and slick and with that painted type coating, unlikely to take conditioner or ever soften. They do not really match the nubuck of the saddle. From the moment I placed this saddle on my horse, I burst into laughter. It looked like a cartoon. The saddle sits so high it looked as if it is a chair! It bounces precariously on the horse's back it's so imbalanced and tall. I had to cinch my horse so tightly to keep it in place that he started to nip at me. I had to repeatedly re-cinch in my first test ride. I felt as if I was sitting on a throne, far above my horse, and my legs stuck straight out sideways. I felt so out of touch that I eventually gave up riding as I felt like I could fall off, and I've been riding and training for 30 years. The latigo has cheap nylon strapping over the top which made it look like a toy. The seat itself seemed VERY comfy until I rode 5 minutes. Then, the velcro straps below the twist, which hold the removable seat on, began to feel like a firm ridge of wood under my body. I felt like I was sitting on a fence with squish on either side. It was the oddest feeling. The tack shop suggested I "break it in" by using it just over a navajo. Well, I tried cinching it up over a navajo and it still sat about one foot above my horse's back. I quickly realized this was probably pointless and packed it back up. It's going back to the store. I've heard Freeforms are wonderful and if I had the budget, I would try one. Maybe next year. I've also tried my friend's Barefoot Cheyenne and felt like I was riding on a marshmallow...I love love love the concept but the reality is just awful :(
Quality: The saddle itself is very well constructed. The latigos are nylon webbing which is just fine, however, they have a cheap slick nylon strip sewn on the top. That makes it look cheap and it's harder to tie the latigo. The seat and underside are well constructed. The fenders are ridiculous, they seem like plastic or vinyl and should have been $15, not $135! I fail to understand the shape of this saddle because it perches so high it does not resemble the shape of a horse, and the skirt under the saddle juts upward towards the sky when it is cinched up.
Author: Arab Rider
Usefulness Rating: 1.75 out of 5.
4 reader(s) voted.
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