Model: Isabel Werth w/CAIR
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle about six months ago for ~$900 Canadian (lightly used)at The Dog and Pony Shop in Vancouver, British Columbia. I was looking for a saddle that would help my position, as I have never ridden in a dressage saddle before, yet which would be durable and easy to care for.
Likes: I love the CAIR panels, which eliminate pressure points on the horse's back and allow greater freedom of movement. The synthetic is wonderfully grippy (an aspect I like, but which makes it difficult to ride in other saddles now!) and easy to care for. Having owned a leather saddle, I appreciate not having to worry about spoiling my investment through lack of attention; it just takes a wipe-down with a damp cloth to spiff up. The point that really sold me on this saddle, though, and the true reason why I bought this one, was the changeable gullets. I've ridden three different horses in this saddle now, one a steep-withered thoroughbred previously difficult to fit, the second a young arab-cross mare with a gentle wither, and the third a morab with a low wither and a relatively flat back. I have yet to need to change the gullet. The air panels instantly conform, and unless there's a dramatically different horse, I'm able to ride worry-free -- no half pads, no gel pads, nothing but a plain cotton pad. My position has improved tremendously, though it's difficult to say how special this saddle is in that respect; it's the only dressage saddle I've ridden in, after all! My horse likes it, though, and that's saying quite a bit.
Dislikes: At first, I felt awkward and pushed forwards, and found it difficult to sit on my seat bones. Again, this may just be the fact that it is, after all, a dressage saddle, and now it feels just wonderful. It does collect dust easily, so I keep it covered whenever it's off the horse. The only other thing is do NOT wear full-seat breeches. Put full-seats together with this equisuede stuff and it sticks like glue. In order to adjust my position I literally had to lift myself clear of the saddle, straighten out, then lower myself down.
Quality: No complaints. We'll see how it lasts.
Summary: For someone looking for a practical, quality dressage saddle, I'd recommend it highly. For someone switching horses frequently, I'd say it's almost a necessity.
Usefulness Rating: 2.75 out of 5.
8 reader(s) voted.
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