Manufacturer: Philippe Fontaine by Stubben (View all products by Unknown)
Model: Orleans Junior Dressage, 16'' (View all n/a reviews)
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle from Tack Shack. Retail price is $1,195.00, manufacturer had reduced the list price on their site to $495.00. Tack Shack had marked it down to $795.00 at the time. I showed them the manufacturer's site, and they agreed to reduce the price to $595.00, right between the manufacturer's discount price and their own discount price. This was incredibly wonderful, as a college student I try my best to get the best fitting tack for me and my horse, but it can be difficult. I am so appreciative how I was able to get a really nice, in-between price.
Likes: I love this saddle! I am 5'2'' and around 100 lbs, and the horse I used this saddle for is a Welsh/Arabian cross (13.3HH). It puts you in a lovely position, the thigh block is the perfect size and does not block you from applying aids and whatnot, but does offer support. The seat size fits me perfectly. The flap on this saddle is nice and short- after swimming in several dressage saddles designed for 'adults' it was wonderful to be able to have the flap end about 4 inches below the top of my boot, like it's supposed to. The seat is deep but not ridiculously so, allowing for a bit of half seat as needed for younger and developing horses. Now my horse, she loves it too. We both struggled with a 16.5'' County Competitor, it was not a great fit due to both channel width, seat size, flap length, etc. Using this saddle made a huge difference- it was not a quick miracle fix by any means, but made our progression much smoother! She began reaching under with her haunches more and using her abdominal to raise her back, and she had improved flexibility and contact as a result. Because my horse is slightly downhill, I use a thinline pad with a front riser to make it nice and level. She also has a forward girth groove, so I purchased some billet guards from a tack store. I pulled the back billet out of the holder, and threaded both the back and front billets through the front 2 holes on the billet guard and pushed it up so that the billet guard rested against the bottom of the knee roll (where the front billet attaches to the saddle), with the back billet being pulled through to where it transitions from leather to nylon (will not go up any higher due to the thickness of the connection between the nylon and leather). The saddle fits a wide variety of horses, though some adjustments with padding go a long way to extend that range even further.
Dislikes: I wish the billets had an easier option for adjusting where they rest on horses with a more forward girth groove, but luckily I'm creative!
Quality: It was stiff when I first got it, so initially I was wondering if the leather quality was that good. But after a bit of breaking in, it is incredible! Nice and soft, but grippy, the leather is supple and the overall construction of the saddle is really nice, and the quality of the materials used is the same.
Summary: I'm gonna marry this saddle..
Author: Shelby & Mione
Usefulness Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
12 reader(s) voted.
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