Manufacturer: Collegiate (View all products by Collegiate)
Model: Graduate (View all Graduate reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle brand new from State Line Tack about 8 years ago. The price back then was around $695 but it has gone up about $200 since that time.
Likes: I had previously owned the Collegiate without knee rolls and bought this one with knee rolls to replace it. I have ridden in it throughout my college career and beyond. It has fit almost every horse I've tried it on, from large ponies to WB's. Pretty outstanding for a "medium" tree. It allows enough room for medium-high withered horses but is also wide enough for medium-wide horses as well. It is a great starter saddle and has worn well through the years. I have cared for it meticulously and it has paid off in the sense that the leather is soft and well broken in. It has also been quite comfortable on long trail rides.
Dislikes: For me, the pencil knee blocks just aren't enough support. Maybe it's because I jump bigger fences, but I like saddles that offer a higher-positioned knee block now. It doesn't have a rear thigh block either, which may be important to those of us jumping bigger fences. The Argentinian leather has softened over time but it will never be comparable to the French saddles. Hence the price difference.
Quality: Overall the saddle is very well made. It has brass fittings and the billets have stretched very little over time. The stitching has maintained its integrity and the foam flocking has not flattened.
Summary: Bottom line, this is a GREAT starter saddle for the rider with a budget. However, if you can afford a nicer saddle or if you have time to wait and save more $$, do yourself a favor and wait.
Usefulness Rating: 3 out of 5.
10 reader(s) voted.
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