Manufacturer: Paris Tack (View all products by Paris Tack)
Model: Lafitte (View all Lafitte Close Contact Saddle reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: $375 from tackwholesale.com 03/07
Likes: The saddle was actually better than I expected for the price. It was purchased as a back-up saddle. My primary saddle was custom-fit to my horse, and I have been helping exercise several horses for some friends lately. I didn't like toting my good saddle around, having it sit in my hot or cold car, and taking the extra abuse, especially since it cost more than some of the horses I've been putting it on! I wanted a cheap alternative. The Lafitte looks just like the website picture. The seat and padding on the flaps are soft. The panels and remainder of the saddle are extremely stiff and will take some time to break in. The tree and foam panels are even. This is a quality saddle with quality leather on the seat and padded portion of the flaps, and the cheapest leather everywhere else. As far as looks, this saddle would be at home in the show ring. The stitching is tight and even and there were no faults or defects that I noted. On the back of the cantle, there is an extra flap of leather sewn on which you see in some of the higher-end saddles. The balance of the seat is fine. It is a flatter/shallow style seat which suits me fine but those who ride in a deep seat may find themselves feeling insecure.
Dislikes: Basically, this is a replica of more costly saddles made by the Derby Originals (tack wholesale) outfitters. They saved money by using CHEAP stiff leather on the flaps. The seat and padded portion of the flap are soft and pliable, but the rest of the saddle is made from leather that is akin to cardboard in texture and feel. I do believe that with time and LOTS of oil, this will break in, but I have not had it long enough to be sure.
Quality: The saddle serves the purpose I intended and I would say it is worth the price, but beware if you are planning to buy this and go right into the show ring. The flaps are stiff and will definitely require some break-in. A better option would probably be a used saddle in good condition. However, if you are wanting a new saddle very inexpensively, this one will work.
Summary: Bottom line is this is a cheap saddle, and is made with frugality in mind. You do get your $375 worth, so I can't fault it, but just know ahead of time that those flaps are going to be stiff!
Usefulness Rating: 4.6 out of 5.
75 reader(s) voted.
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