Manufacturer: Sydney Saddleworks
Model: Bushmaster Australian Saddle
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: I purchased this saddle on ebay through Frontier Equestrian for $229.00. The saddle I bought was advertised as having Full QH bars and a 7.5" gullet. I was interested in an aussie saddle but had never ridden in one before and could not find any in my local tack shops to test ride. I wasn't sure I was even going to like the style(those poleys are pretty strange looking!) so this saddle was a cheap way to 'test the waters' before investing in a higher quality saddle made in Australia.
Likes: I've had mostly bad experience with tack made in India so I was expecting the worst when I opened the box. To my surprise, this had to be the nicest "cheap" saddle I've ever seen. The saddle was the correct seat and tree size and fit my no withers wide-as-a-draft-horse TWH well. He gaits fine in it. It is comfortable to ride in and I see no reason why it can't work well for the rider who does light trail riding or needs a second saddle for guests.
Dislikes: It's an Indian made saddle, and there's no way around that. It has the distinctive smell, the leather is stiff and dry. The girth that comes with it is near useless; expect to buy a new one. The stitching is pretty far apart and I'd worry about it coming undone if put to hard use. The leathers that came with the saddle were too stiff and bulky under my legs and I replaced them with my wintec webbers. It took several hours of work to strip off the shellac finish on the saddle and condition the leather to get the flaps and overgirth semi-pliable.
Quality: The leather on the seat and billets was soft and pliable, all the stitching was even, and the tree was straight. All the rings and dees were firmly attached. Nice brass hardware. The panels were only slightly uneven, possibly from the position it was shipped in, and were easily fixed. The saddle was put together very well but I don't know if that can overcome the poor quality leather used. I don't see the saddle lasting 10 years.
Summary: The saddle is a good deal for the price, but I don't think it's worth any more than I paid. If you just need a knock-around saddle for trail riding now and then it should work out fine. I wouldn't expect it to hold up under hard daily use. The saddle is the widest aussie I've ever seen and should be a good fit for most QHs and the wider gaited guys.
Usefulness Rating: 2.89286 out of 5.
28 reader(s) voted.
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