Manufacturer: Michael Stokes
Model: Centaur Dressage Saddle
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle used from Rick's Heritage Saddlery in PA. I paid $800 and it was in good used condition. I believe the retail starting price is $2500. I bought this saddle because I recently got a new horse and did not have a saddle that fit.
Likes: I sat in this saddle in the store and loved it. It fit me really well. I'm 5'7" with long legs and have a horse who is very wide and had been having trouble finding a saddle with a wide enough tree and gullet. I had been using an adjustable Rembrant Integra on her that fit her but not me. In tree sizes, she is a County Wide tree, and a County wide is really quite wide. This saddle is an 18" Wide and runs closely to County's wide, perhaps slightly narrower. The seat is an actual 18" with sitting room that I can sit down in. A lot of saddles I sat in said they had larger seats but really did not and pitched me forward. This saddle does not do that at all.
Dislikes: There isn't much I don't like about it- it's very comfortable, I can sit in it, and it fits my leg pretty well. There are a few minor things though. I think this saddle wants to pull my lower leg a little bit too far back (although I believe part of the problem is me, not the saddle). For me, this is not a problem because my leg was too far forward. Since Micheal Stokes only makes custom saddles, if you get a used one it was flocked for a different horse, so watch out for unevenness in the panels and things from someone getting a custom saddle to fit a crooked horse. Also, the way the panel is shaped underneath is a small problem for my horse- just in the shoulder area with my horse's conformation. The front of the panel near the point of the tree is set down a bit lower much like the Stubben saddles. It happens to pinch my horse's shoulder a little without a Mattes correction pad underneath. With the pad, it fits her really well. I also needed the Mattes because there needed to be a little bit more flocking on the left side for her shoulder, but because it was custom made my saddle fitter couldn't put anymore in it because there wasn't enough leather on the panel. The pad fixed both problems though.
Quality: It seems to be really well made. I don't know how old it is or how the other person cared for it, but it appears to have been used a lot and is still in good shape. I would compare the quality near that of a County (who are known for their superior quality saddles. The stitching is flawless, the panels are good, the seat is very comfortable and the tree is straight and correct.
Summary: I really like this saddle- more than any other saddle I have ever sat or ridden in. It fits me perfectly, it fits my horse, and we both work better together with it. I only wish I had been able to afford buying one new so I could have gotten it custom made for my horse in the first place, but used is certainly not a bad option. I hope it continues to fit my horse for a long time because it's great!
Usefulness Rating: 3.73077 out of 5.
26 reader(s) voted.
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