Manufacturer: Collegiate (View all products by Collegiate)
Model: Close Contact (View all Close Contact reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: I bought this new on eBay for $500, though if you buy it in stores, it would be around $800.
Likes: This is an EXTREMELY well-balanced saddle, and that's saying something when I've ridden in a crosby, a childeric, a forestier, and a harry dabbs. This saddle is actually on equal level with them, and its darn great for jumping and flatwork (It put me in a really good jumper position). I have a medium tree, and it's fit all the horses I ride - and trust me, I ride a 17.2 hh draft horse to a 13 hh pony everyday. It is medium-seated, so one should feel really secure when going over bigger fences or when your horse decided that bucking you off is the current new trend. Also, if you take good care of it, it should last you more than 15 years or so - at least, my friend's did. Her's is at least 10 years old, and her billets look like it's barely even used!!! In fact, it looks just like my six-month old saddle. Also, it's pretty comfortable to seat in, much like the crosby prix de nation. One thing I really LOVE about this is that not only is the leather extremely high-quality, it is very show-worthy too - it has that simple but elegant look that's popular in the hunter ring. I don't have any knee rolls or knee pads, and it's pretty grippy and easily broken in.
Dislikes: Major thing I don't like about this is that the leather shows wear marks easily, but if you rub conditioner or saddle soap over it, it disappears in a instant, and goes back to looking bright and beautiful like it was meant to be. And if I really want to go ahead and be a snob, I would wish that they padded the seat of the saddle. I'm not saying it's uncomfortable (compared to a crump, this is heavenly), but I LOVE my old harry dabbs...and you can't blame me after I tried out my coach's Hermes saddle!
Quality: Beautiful, beautiful stitching; strong billets; and really great-quality leather that you'd expect to find in a saddle twice the price (god...they should hire me to advertise for collegiate). The colors are also gorgeous too, and there's a pretty creme-colored piping that lines the saddle.
Summary: I can't put it better than this: A superb saddle at a bargain price. Really, people, if you don't buy it, you're losing out. I believe it's one of the favorites among top trainers. Great for beginners and intermediates (even amateurs), someone on a budget, or a show-worthy saddle!
Usefulness Rating: 4.21875 out of 5.
32 reader(s) voted.
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