Manufacturer: Beval (View all products by Beval Saddlery)
Model: Butet (View all Butet reviews)
Category: Jumping Saddles
Purchase: I bought my 17" flat-seat Butet saddle second-hand through the internet. Due to the limited number of Butets that are produced yearly, it is difficult to find them new at an affordable price, but finding a suitable saddle online did take awhile. The saddle that I ended up purchasing needed some repair work- one of the panels had come loose, the leather on the seat was worn, and the billets were stretched. I have had the saddle for six months and have only gotten the panel fixed; it added only $25 to the total saddle cost of $2050 plus shipping.
Likes: The Butet saddles are the only type that fit my horse properly, as his long, sloped shoulder pushes most saddles back a good two or three inches behind his withers and stresses his back. I was very pleased with the way that this saddle in particular fit my 16.2hh Thoroughbred, who is built like a warmblood. In addition, it fits many of the other horses in the barn, including a 17.2 Dutch Warmblood, a 15.3 compact, flat-backed Thoroughbred, a 16.1 Percheron/Thoroughbred cross whose withers are easily a hand higher than the rest of his back (he's a classic "hard fit") and a 13.1 Welsh Thoroughbred pony, and can be used with a variety of saddle pads- I have used a plain quilted square schooling pad, a contoured fleece, a wool-back wither relief half pad, and a Toklat ultra-cell over a baby pad, just to name a few.<p>My Butet is a #2 flap with knee and thigh blocks, which I find hold my leg in position. Though many other Beval saddles bounce off of my horse's back and "pop me out" over fences, this saddle stayed with my horse over every height and style of ring and cross-country jump.
Dislikes: Butets are known for being "cushy," and this saddle is no exception, although a Butet-loving friend of mine declared that mine had "a seat like a board only twice as hard." I find that the extra padding inhibits my feel of the horse. In addition, the aforementioned knee and thigh blocks hold my leg in position quite nicely- unfortunately, though, on some horses this is the <i>wrong</i> position, especially if I am riding in a shorter stirrup. Also, with a few horses who have known, chronic back problems, the Butet was too heavy, causing them to drop their backs under its weight and carry themselves hollowly.
Quality: As I got my Butet used, I cannot objectively describe the construction and quality of a new saddle. However, mine is about ten years old, and overall, it is in very good condition. Though the billets are stretched, they are not at all cracked and are still flexible and, to my mind, perfectly safe to ride in. The stitching is neat, tight, and regular. My one quip regardng its construction is that the calf-skin seat and padded flaps do not wear as well as the more durable printed leather that the rest of the saddle is made of; the pommel area of the seat shows very heavy wear.
Summary: While the Butet saddle was certainly the best possible buy for my horse, for a horse who was not as difficult to fit, I would not buy one. Not only is the price of these saddles exorbitant, but for a hunter/equitation rider, the padding and inhibition of feel was a great disadvantage.
Author: Renn Ireigh
Usefulness Rating: 2.8 out of 5.
20 reader(s) voted.
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