Manufacturer: Riders Choice
Model: Synthetic Leather Saddle (Cordura)
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: I paid $310 for a 17", the 15" and 16" are sold for $249. I found the company on eBay, but contacted them directly, when I couldn't find the size/color I wanted and they set me up with a 17" full quarter bars. They have an eBay store at http://www.ebaystores.com/riderschoicesaddlepadco?refid=store
Likes: First, I really liked the people. They make the saddles in Alabama and you can contact them directly. Second, it fits my Morgan mare (I'm finding out that Morgans are a notoriously tough fit)and me (5'11", 230lbs, 33" inseam). I asked their manager to compare their quality to Abetta, Big Horn, and Circle Y. He said they were closer to Big Horn. He was right. The cordura is not as thick, but the seat is real suede and the jockeys are real leather (nice leather). The stirrups are longer, which was really important. The front bars were wider which fit my horse better, but it also means that the front part that holds up the horn (sorry, mind-o-pause -- swell?) is very close to my horse's withers. The saddle is very light weight, like all cordura. I really like this, because the fenders don't torque my knees like leather fenders (I'm an english rider). Also, I don't have to worry about getting it wet or dirty or rolled in or...any of the wonderful things horses can do to expensive tack. An interesting note is they build the saddle on the same tree as their Leather Roper.
Dislikes: I wish the swell was taller, so it would better clear my horse's withers (it's not rubbing on them, but close enough that I stress over it). The seat isn't very padded, but neither is the Big Horn. I bought a gel pad at Stateline and basically solved that problem.
Quality: It seems to be as well constructed as a Big Horn. They both use staples to attach the leather to the tree. We just happened to have a Big Horn in the tack room for sale, so I've compared the two side by side. The cordura on the Riders Choice is not as thick -- but this is good for me because my mare has a very short back and both skirts extend up near her hip (so lighter is better). The stirrups on the Riders Choice are long enough for me; not so on the Big Horn. The front bars are a wider angle on the Riders Choice, which works better for my mare (but also means the saddle rides lower in the front).
Summary: For the price I paid (half of a Big Horn cordura with suede seat and grain out jockeys), I am very happy with the Riders Choice saddle. I did have the chance to buy the Big Horn in the tack room (the exact match -- same color, size, etc.) for $100 more, but I chose to keep my Riders Choice because it fit my Morgan and I better. I liked dealing with Riders Choice and the personal (email or phone) service I got from them. Not all their stock is on their eBay store and they will build custom. I am so relieved to have gotten a decent saddle off eBay!
Author: Pam McClure-Roman
Usefulness Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
6 reader(s) voted.
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