Manufacturer: Henri de Rivel
Model: Show Jumping Pro
Category: Jumping Saddles
Purchase: I purchased this saddle from Dover Saddlery and paid $749 less shipping. I bought this saddle because my gelding outgrew my regular tree Collegiate Graduate when his body condition improved; I was looking for a good quality, inexpensive close contact or jumping saddle.
Likes: The saddle is comfortable and well balanced. I have not felt insecure or unbalanced at any time due to the saddle, both on the flat and over fences. It makes it easy and comfortable to maintain a correct position. The seat is comfortable and covered with a soft, slightly grippy leather, as are the padded flaps. The flaps themselves and the rest of the saddle are made of a printed leather. My trainer and I were pleasantly surprised with the leather quality, especially as my trainer disliked older HDRs and this was not an expensive saddle. I especially love the forward cut flaps on this saddle. I have a long hip to knee measurement, which puts my knee over or almost over the front of many saddle flaps. The forward cut flaps fit me well, on a saddle that is not custom and didn't cost a fortune. The flaps on my old Collegiate did not fit me as well as this HDR; the HDR's fit adds to the overall appearance in the saddle. The stirrup bars on this saddle are well recessed; there is no chance of the buckles bothering you! The wide tree fits my Quarter Horse (who is between a medium and a medium wide) well, fitting well over his withers and with even contact down the panels and plenty of wither clearance. I have not tried this saddle on wider horses, so I do not know how it would fit a true wide back. It would be best to check the fit before purchasing for any horse.
Dislikes: The billets on this saddle are shorter and thicker (from side to side) than most I've seen. I had to use a girth extender with my 52" girth and struggled to fit the billets through the buckles, which was not particularly pleasant! I didn't feel like going through this ordeal each time I tacked up, so I recently purchased a 54" Henri de Rivel girth that fits much better and is easier to tighten. It would have been nice if I could have continued to use my old girth and not had to pay $100 for a new girth. The stirrup bars are almost TOO recessed. It makes for a comfortable ride, but it is difficult to put on and take off the leathers for cleaning and such. I had no problem adjusting the leathers once they were on the bars, just with the putting on and taking off over the end of the bar. The leather on the back of the cantle, rather than having tucks that were sewn in for a smooth fit, was sewn straight around at the bottom with no tucks and is wrinkled. This is in no way a structural flaw, but it does not have the most quality look. Even my inexpensive Collegiate had sewn in tucks at the cantle, so I wonder why the HDR does not have it? Surely it is not that much effort!
Quality: The quality and construction appears to be good. I have not found any major flaws in the leather or construction. It seems to be a well constructed, durable saddle. With the price and the quality it implies, the saddle will definitely not hold up as well as a more expensive, better quality saddle; for the price, I think this is a very good saddle.
Summary: I recommend this saddle to riders who are looking for an inexpensive, safe, quality saddle that will last them for several years. If you want a better quality saddle that you can ride in forever, go more expensive than this HDR. As I stated before, I believe this saddle is a good buy for the price.
Usefulness Rating: 4.11538 out of 5.
26 reader(s) voted.
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