Manufacturer: Reactor Panel
Model: VSD Traditional
Category: All Purpose Saddles
Purchase: This was a demo saddle. It runs in the mid to upper $2,000 range new.
Likes: The leather is of good quality and the seat is comfortable. The written fitting manual and the youtube videos on fitting are excellent resources. They allow you to lease the saddle beyond a two week trial period. The fitting wasn't as difficult as I expected. The customer service is good, but on the other hand, it is a small shop, so you may have trouble if their fitter is out traveling etc.
Dislikes: I really liked the idea of the broad panels that flex with the horse's back. At first the saddle fit well and my horse went great. After the initial break in period, however, the fit seemed to degrade and created pressure points. I eventually did not opt for the saddle. No saddle is right for every horse, so this isn't necessarily a comment on the saddle. However, I would encourage buyers to ride for a least three weeks (to ensure the panels are broken in before you make a decision about the saddle), and to use a port lewis impression pad to test fit throughout the three weeks. Also, I do not recommend the saddle for ponies or small horses as the panels seem really too big for them and may put weight bearing stress on parts of the horse that probably shouldn't be weight bearing. I would also caution beginners against a distance saddle fitting -- although the written manual and the youtube videos were great, the fitter who walked me through things on the phone did not discuss basic elements like front-to-back balance. Therefore, I don't recommend distance fitting for someone who is novice enough not to pay attention to these things or to someone who is unwilling to read the manual.
Quality: The saddle is well constructed. I was worried about the velcro staying in place, but once things had "set," (only a few rides) this wasn't an issue. However, I found that once the panels broke in (a week to two weeks of riding), the quality of the fit degraded.
Summary: May be a good saddle especially if your horse is particularly hard to fit. However, you should make sure you ride enough to thoroughly assess the fit after the panels have broken in, and you should be cautious if you are trying to fit a small horse or pony.
Usefulness Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
2 reader(s) voted.
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