Manufacturer: Dover (View all products by Dover Saddlery)
Model: International (View all International reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: This saddle had been for sale at my barn for months, and has just been sitting on a rack in the tack room collecting dust and mold. Its owner wanted $500 for it. I have a horse who will be turning 2 soon and she is way too wide and low-withered for my other saddle, so I needed something flatter and wider that would fit her, and this was a decent fit. The saddle clearly labels it as a Dover International, and I know it's a model that Dover doesn't make anymore, but I haven't been able to find another one anywhere, in tack stores or online.
Likes: It had clearly been very used when I bought it, but everything was still in solid condition. There are no cracks on the leather anywhere, the billets are still strong and haven't stretched at all despite all the use this saddle has had. It has a VERY comfortable seat (feels like a pessoa) and puts my whole body in a nice position (I am pretty small, with short legs, and in most saddles my leg tends to fall forward, but this saddle really puts it in a good position).
Dislikes: The woman who sold it to me said that when she got it it was a really ugly orange color, but after a few good oilings and plenty of use it's darkened into a beautiful chestnut shade. The only thing I can say that I really dislike about it is that with regular leathers, the buckle kind of bulges out into your thigh, which can get uncomfortable during a long ride, but that can probably be fixed by using thinner leathers with smaller buckles.
Quality: Excellent quality. For the amount of mold and dust that was literally covering this saddle (it was really disgusting, I couldn't even tell what color it was) when I first considered buying it, I was surprised at how nicely it cleaned up. After the initial cleaning you could tell it was really a very nice quality saddle, and after a few oilings and more thorough cleanings the leather really came back to life.
Summary: I am nowhere near the wealthy end of equestrian sports, I've always loved pessoas but there's no way I could ever afford one, I've been told that this saddle is a "knockoff pessoa" which is just fine with me because it's affordable and extremely comfortable. I bought this saddle when it had already been pretty heavily used, but I'm confident that I'll still get a good number of years out of it.
Usefulness Rating: 2.75 out of 5.
8 reader(s) voted.
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