Manufacturer: Hilason (View all products by Hilason Saddlery)
Model: Treeless Barrel/Trail saddle (View all Treeless Trail Saddle reviews)
Category: Trail Saddles
Likes: I liked the simple, clean look, and the "Velcro" sticking power of the roughout leather. It looks to be very well made, and it's as light as my dressage saddle. The contact with the horse is amazing. I had always shied away from western saddles because they seemed too bulky to me. The Hilason feels like riding bareback--but WAY more secure, thanks to the high pommel and 5-inch cantle. I feel like I'm really riding the horse, not the saddle, and my reaction time is quicker. Also, it puts my legs in a good position, so I feel balanced and comfortable without undue stress on my knees. (I like the stirrup position on the Hilason better than on the Bob Marshall I had borrowed previously.)
Dislikes: I've never been crazy about western rigging (I'm used to English and Australian saddles), but I like the rigging on the Hilason with the buckle rather than having to struggle with tying a Windsor knot. Maybe if I were a man and had to wear a tie to work, this wouldn't be such an issue.) Seriously, the only thing I'd say is that for someone with shorter legs than mine (I'm 5'4"), it might be tough to take up the stirrups enough. I took mine up one notch, which made them perfect, but it doesn't look like I can get them up much higher without bending the fenders.
Quality: I really held my breathe from the moment I committed to bidding on the saddle until it actually arrived. What can you tell from a picture? I'd say I was pleasantly surprised, but actually, I had read a good review here, so I had pretty high hopes. I sure wasn't disappointed. The saddle is handsome and well made. It is "basic black" with a few very pretty silver conchos. The skirt/seat are heavy roughout leather with a fleece backing. The pommel is also roughout with a row of what look like stainless steel studs on the inside arch. The fenders, horn and top of the cantle are smooth leather. The rigging is a soft, flexible nylon webbing. The fenders seem to be permanently attached to the stirrup leathers at the top, and there are leather straps with buckles to fasten the leathers to the fenders just above the stirrups. For the price, I certainly wasn't expecting an heirloom, but it feels sturdy, and I expect to enjoy many hours in it.
Summary: I'm very pleased with the saddle and accessories. The neoprene girth has a soft, rounded edge, so it doesn't chafe. The saddle pad has great detailing, like multiple straps to keep it from slipping. I would recommend the package to anyone with a hard-to-fit horse.
Author: SeaHorse Lover
Usefulness Rating: 3.72 out of 5.
25 reader(s) voted.
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