Manufacturer: Riders Choice
Model: Flex Tree Barrel / Trail / Pleasure Saddle 14"
Category: Barrel Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle off eBay for $350 plus $50 shipping. I was looking for an inexpensive, quality multi-purpose saddle, and this saddle seemed perfect.
Likes: The saddle is beautiful... the tooling is detailed, the leather is good quality, and there are several decorative conchos that add a nice touch to the saddle's overall appearance. The saddle's gullet size is large and fits all of the horses I have tried it on. The flex-tree seems to make the rides more comfortable for both me and my horse. Because the saddle comes with a five year guarantee, I know it is not cheaply made. On long trail rides, the seat provides great cushioning.
Dislikes: The saddle seems to be good quality, but I did find a few disappointments. On my first ride, one of the decorative conchos fell off in the arena and I could not find it. I sent an email to the company that included pictures of the replacement concho I needed, and in less than I week, they sent me a free replacement. When I opened the package, I found that they sent me the wrong concho, even when I included pictures and descriptions! I also found that some holes in the stirrup leathers were not accurately punched. I can understand that because the saddle is hand-made, but I think Riders Choice should more accurately measure the distance between each hole. The last disappointment I found was probably a typo. On the eBay page where the saddle's information is displayed, the company said that the saddle had a 10-year guarantee. When I received the saddle, it came with a tag that said "5-year guarantee". Overall, these minor mistakes were not really a big deal.
Quality: The saddle seems very reliable. Although there are some loose looking stitches on the saddle's skirt, I believe the entire saddle will hold up for years to come. The leather may not be the best quality, but hey, what can you expect from a $350 saddle? For $350, I would say that this saddle is a real deal. It looks just like my friend's Billy Cook saddle which she paid $900 for (she was pretty upset when she saw mine!).
Summary: Overall, this saddle is great! Besides a few minor company mistakes, I think this saddle is an awesome deal. I have recommended it to several friends, and my horse really does look more comfortable than he used to!It is perfect for anyone looking for a reliable, low-priced, all-around western saddle!
Usefulness Rating: 2 out of 5.
4 reader(s) voted.
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