Horse Tack Review

Meridith B
Close Contact Saddles

For Sale on eBay

Manufacturer: Prestige
Model: Meridith B
Category: Close Contact Saddles

Purchase: I got this saddle from VTO saddlery online during their year end sale. It was a demo model, maybe 12 rides on it, and I got it for $2100. They run $2700-$2900 new depending on the leather option you choose.

Likes: This saddle is designed by show jumper Meridith Beerbaum, so it's geared towards jumping larger jumps. I like it because I grew up riding in dressage saddles so I feel more comfortable in a deeper seat. I also do a lot of flat work which this saddle is ideal for. I think it's an excellent choice for equitation riders or amateurs who like a more secure feel. The Meridith comes with soft calfskin leather on the seat and knee rolls, and you have the option of calfskin or printed leather (a heavier leather) on the flaps. I got the printed leather because it was a demo on sale. I wish I had gotten the calfskin because it is stickier and breaks in more easily, but I didn't really have an option. As for riding - the seat is very balanced and comfortable. It really helps me sit to my bouncy horse. I'm coming from a Butet and I feel I'm sitting much more securely in this saddle. However, it's not so deep that I'm getting left behind at the fences. The printed leather on the flap is a little slippery but should be okay after it breaks in a little more. I feel very comfortable with where my leg sits on my horse, as this saddle has well placed knee and thigh blocks, plus stitching on the flap that encourages your leg to stay in position. The tree is adjustable if you bring it to a Prestige dealer, or VTO will do it for free for the life of the saddle. This was important to me because I'm tired of buying new saddles every time I get a new horse. Overall it's a lovely saddle and very high quality. I'm very happy with the purchase.

Dislikes: VTO told me that 33 cm was average for most horses so I had them bump it up to 34 cm because I consider my horse to be a medium-wide. However, now that it's broken in it doesn't seem as secure of a fit, and I think I'll have to send it back to be adjusted smaller or find a Prestige dealer around here. That's going to leave me bareback for at least a couple of days. One thing I hate about the saddle is the billets. They used nice leather and great craftsmanship throughout the whole saddle, then got really cheesy with the billets. They are made of a cheap indian type leather that peels. I'm really surprised they did this. The good news is I can always get the billets replaced when I get tired of dealing with them. Other than that the craftsmanship is excellent.

Quality: As stated above, excellent quality except for the billets. You might also have to have the tree adjusted after the leather breaks in.

Summary: As stated above - I'm happier in this then the Butet. I feel secure both on the flat and over fences.

Rating: 4

Author: LS

Date: 2007-01-17

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