Model: Integra Adjustable Tree Dressage Saddle
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle new through my trainer in '98 or '99--don't remember exactly what I paid for it; it was retailing for around $2500 at the time but I believe I got it for around $1500-$2000 due to a discount. I purchased it when I was beginning to compete in dressage, but now use it for eventing dressage.
Likes: This saddle is extremely comfortable, and has held up fairly well for the past 7-8 years. When I bought it, I thought that it would be good to have the adjustable tree, as I planned to use it on different horses in the future, and initially, it did serve this purpose well. But...
Dislikes: An adjustable tree saddle can have huge drawbacks. It is adjusted via a key that comes with the saddle...a small key that broke off and got jammed in one of the adjustment holes, rendering the saddle impossible to adjust (narrow) past a certain point. Fortunately a small screwdriver is the exact same shape as the key, and I was (and still am) able to use this in place of the key. Even so, the tree is a huge pain...it frequently needs readjustment, and sometimes seems to widen more on one side than another. I have also had to try multiple riser and gel pads with the saddle when using it on my TB and other horses, because the placement of the seat in relation to flap makes it difficult to keep my lower leg underneath myself--a problem I have not had with other saddles.
Quality: The quality is decent; the saddle and leather have held up well for several years. The adjustable tree, however, does not age as well, and the way the saddle is built does not make it as easy for the rider to maintain a good position as some others do.
Summary: While this saddle is extremely comfortable, it does not have the best balance. The adjustable tree is a good idea in theory, but after a couple of years the Integra does not tend to stay put at the width that it is adjusted to and comes undone more on one side than another at times, which is not good for the ponies!! I would NEVER buy an adjustable tree saddle again, and would only recommend the saddle in its non-adjustable tree version with the caution that it may hinder lower leg position.
Usefulness Rating: 2.8 out of 5.
10 reader(s) voted.
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