Manufacturer: Cactus Saddlery
Model: Charmayne James Recordbreaker Saddle
Category: Barrel Saddles
Purchase: I bought my latest saddle two weeks ago from Smith Bros. summer catalogue(a phone order). This is the second one of these saddles I have purchased this year. Purchased the same saddle two months ago through the Teskeys catalogue, loved it so much had to get another! Anyway, I paid $1599.00 for each of the Cactus saddles, which included a free matching breastcollar (Teskeys saddle shop of Texas was able to match the Smith Bros free matching breastcollar promotion). I have several horses I compete on in barrel races simultaneously, so I need several saddles. I would recommend this saddle to anyone!
Likes: I love this saddle because it fits my horses and myself very nicely. It sits down over my horses back and feels secure and gives a close contact feel. I feel like I am one with my horse, making it easy to convey cues with ease and minimal effort. The saddle is also beautiful to look at, well made, with a rich custom look to the tooling. The leather is very good quality and the conchos are very unique--not just a "run of the mill" saddle. Previously my favorite saddle (I have three of them) was the Circle Y "Proven"--I love the hip hugger seat and close contact feel that it provided, though it does not have the custom look provided by the Cactus saddle, it is very cost effective and with the comfortable ride it provides, it is easy to overlook the more production type look it has--wish they still made that one! I also like the fact that the Cactus saddles come with aluminum stirrups--one thing I had to change on Circle Y's "Proven" saddles. The price seems very reasonable for the quality.
Dislikes: I did make one change to the Cactus saddles, I replaced the leather latigo and off billet each with nylon. I prefer nylon to leather on these items since leather tends to not give a warning before failing. (My proven saddles came with nylon off billets and latigos). To compliment the nylon off billet and latigo I use a neoprene --Professionals choice cinch.
Quality: As explained earlier, I am very impressed with the quality of the leather, the rich tooling and custom "look" to the saddle--unique conchos and saddle design (smaller skirt, etc). The stitching looks like care was taken to ensure that it is straight and even, no rough edges, very symmetric, smooth, and even. I know leather in itself is unique and varies from piece to piece, however it appears care was taken to ensure that the leather is even and where dyed it matches perfectly. Overall, the saddle looks very "rich" and well made--almost handmade, is it?
Summary: I did a lot of looking around, comparing quality and workmanship before deciding on this saddle. I certainly think a "famous" name in the discipline, such as Charmayne James for barrel racing, would know what she is talking about, however, I have seen other "endorsed" saddles that seem like "just another saddle." I do not mind paying for quality, but do not want to just pay for a name. I appreciate good quality and want the saddle to last and be useful, but most importantly, "I am the one riding in it, and it has to work for 'me' and 'my' horse!"
Author: Linda S
Usefulness Rating: 3 out of 5.
8 reader(s) voted.
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