Manufacturer: Ovation (View all products by Ovation)
Model: Web-A Stirrup leathers (View all Web-A Stirrup leathers reviews)
Category: English Saddle Fittings/Pads
Purchase: I bought these leathers at EnglishHabit.com for $36 plus shipping. I was looking into buying some single strap, t-bar (webbers) style leathers, that looked decent, were leather instead of synthetic, and reasonably priced. I couldn't find reviews for these specific ones anywhere online, but decided that they were cheep enough to be worth the risk. I know that Ovation does not make great leather products, but I figured it was still worth a try.
Likes: The leathers look really nice...they are like the bates in that the t-bar doesn't go all the way through, they are a good length for me (they come in three lengths), and so far there has been no stretch or cracking (used for about a month, conditioning once a week). They feel solid, and I doubt they will ever come loose. The color (I got the dark brown, they also come in black), matches my buffalo dressage saddle perfectly. They come with a little sleeve that covers the t-bar to keep it from rubbing, which is nice. They look nice enough to show in, but feel robust enough to school in. Most of all, I love the price. There is nothing in their style anywhere near their price.
Dislikes: Out of the box, the leather was extremely stiff. I did a whole bunch of conditioning to get them moving, and after a large amount of Effax Leather Balsam they are flexible and smooth. I am taking extra care of these leathers in terms of conditioning, because they obviously have a tendency to stiffen up. Also, on one of the leathers, the t-bar was too big to twist into the slot. I ended up grinding it down about 1 millimeter on each side with a grinding tool I borrowed from a neighbor. After that, both sides were still an overly tight fit, but after the first ride they opened up a bit and now the t-bars fit in nicely. One odd thing is that on one set, the bar goes through the inner nylon webbing, and one sits on top. So far I haven't felt a difference when I ride.
Quality: The leather of the product is obviously not top notch, but after a good amount of conditioning and working them in my hands, they softened up quite a bit. They are lined with reasonably strong nylon webbing, which frayed a bit when I was having trouble getting the t-bar in at first, but it should be plenty strong. The t-bars are stainless steel, and they were slightly too big, especially one of them. I had to grind them down, which was a pain, but not all that difficult. The stitching is even and strong, and double stitched at the t-bar for extra strength. My guess is that they won't last very long (a year or two), but if they last only a quarter as long as their next lowest priced competitor, they will still have saved me money.
Summary: Overall, I am pleasantly surprised at how nice these leathers have turned out to be. Obviously, they are not fantastic, but they are much nicer than I expected them to be. I have already mentioned them to a few people at my barn, who are planning to buy themselves a set. I would definitely recommend these to anyone looking into buying a webber style leather.
Usefulness Rating: 3.08696 out of 5.
23 reader(s) voted.
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