Manufacturer: Walsall Saddlery (WRS Co.)
Model: Selle Francaise
Category: Jumping Saddles
Purchase: This saddle is made by the same people that make Crosby and Exselle/Ecselle saddles in England, and is very similar to the Crosby Centennial but in butter-soft french leather. I got this saddle two months ago from Rick's Heritage Saddlery in Pennsylvania (saddlesource.com). I wanted a good-quality used jumping or close-contact saddle that would be too expensive for me new, but affordable used. I got a 17.5 seat with a forward flap of regular length for $999. I first ordered this as a trial saddle, but got free shipping on it after I decided to keep it. I considered getting a Pessoa, but have had problems fitting them to my clients' horses in the past. I was also interested in the Bates Caprilli C/C, but couldn't find any used saddles in my size.
Likes: This saddle fits me really well. The leather is really nice and a combination of smooth leather on the seat and knee rolls with printed leather on the flap. Some people don't like printed leather, but I know from experience that it will last longer than smooth leather - especially on the flaps, which get rubbed a lot by legs and stirrup leathers. Several people have commented on how nice my saddle is ("Gorgeous, dahling!") and have asked me about it. I have sat in a lot of saddles and know way too much about brand names, prices and saddles and love this one. Although it's not as expensive as some, this is one of the nicest saddles I've ever sat in. The only saddle that even came close in terms of fit and comfort cost $2800 used. This is a very nice saddle that I expect will last me for a long time.
Dislikes: There's nothing I don't like about the saddle itself. I've only had some problems figuring out the history of the saddle. This has nothing to do with Rick's Heritage Saddlery, just the fact that this particular saddle isn't really manufactured anymore, since Weatherbeeta - parent company of Wintec - bought out the U.S. distribution of Crosby and Walsall saddles. It pays to research saddles and saddlery's. You can find less expensive or even better quality saddles than those that carry popular brand names (you know who I'm talking about). While I do still have some questions, I'm happy enough with the saddle's performance that it doesn't really matter! Again, there's nothing I don't like about the saddle.
Quality: Care definitely went into the making of this saddle. Although the saddle is used and had been used more by myself, it has no fraying stitches, ripped leather or even much in terms of scuffs. Walsall's excellent quality is evident on every square inch of the saddle, including french leather and english craftsmanship. All the fittings are brass and there's a lot of detail on the saddle, both of which add to the "prestige" of the saddle, as Dover Saddlery would say. This saddle is of great quality and will hold up for a very long time.
Summary: A very nice saddle for the price - or even any price! Used saddles are the way to go, especially with big brand names like Pessoa, Crosby and Bates. You're really just paying for the name if you buy a saddle new. While I don't know how readily available a saddle like this might be for most consumers, I'm very happy with this saddle and can't wait for next show season! I'm giving this saddle a 5 out of 5 because of how it fits me so well in terms of seat, flap, price and how many horses it fits. Happy riding!
Author: Kelsey C.
Usefulness Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
6 reader(s) voted.
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