Manufacturer: Collegiate (View all products by Collegiate)
Model: Parfaire (View all Parfaire reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle off of ebay (through an independent distributor) for a rock bottom price of $638 (new) with "free shipping". However, once I returned the saddle, I had to pay for the return shipping and the cost of their shipping as well ($35.00). As a side-bar, be careful of independent distributors online as many with "free shipping" will charge a restocking fee of up to 20% of the item's value (less your shipping back!).
Likes: The saddle's seat and flaps are made of extremely soft (almost Paris worthy) leather. The knee rolls are pencil thin--not bulky or hard whatsoever. In addition, the knee and thigh blocks are removable with velcro so you can either customize them to your preference or eliminate them altogether. The flaps aren't too slippery, just a heavier full grain. The gullet seemed to fit an average sized horse and the channels are ample enough not to cause back problems if fitted correctly.
Dislikes: I ordered this saddle as a second saddle to do my everyday training and exercising. I ordered it in a 17" which is what my Antares is; however, IMO it does not run true to size. I would definitely need at least a 17.5" to cover the difference. IMO, I believe the twist is more narrow and the seat is less wide; thus, the altered feel between the two. The billets are also WAY TOO SHORT. My Antares boasts 7 holes--this one boasts five. It is possible a rider would need another girth or girth extender to make up the difference if one's girth is already at it's bare minimum. In addition, the flap length, while measuring slightly over 13" felt extremely short and I am not a tall (nor heavy) rider (5'5"). Although, I do like a shorter flap (I'm not a fan of all-purpose models), I am not a fan of one that will catch the top of my boots. It is possible that from start to finish this saddle just rode very small.
Quality: Beautiful knee roll and seat leather--plush and comfy. Flaps have decent grain. Should fit most average sized horses without a huge wither. But, more of a "child's" saddle the way it rode. I would have felt more comfortable at age 15-16 in this saddle.
Summary: Not a bad saddle for someone who is on a budget, likes an extremely narrow twist and seat, is shorter than 5'5", and hasn't filled out into adulthood. Just not a saddle for me--I'll keep looking and, if I have to, spend the extra dough for something I like riding in and fits my horse.
Usefulness Rating: 2.875 out of 5.
8 reader(s) voted.
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