Manufacturer: Barefoot (View all products by Barefoot Saddlery)
Model: Cheyenne (View all Cheyenne reviews)
Category: All Purpose Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle through Action Rider Tack for about $650, along with the necessary HAF orthopedic saddle pad, which was $185. Their customer service was excellent. I had the saddle on trial but decided to keep it.
Likes: After going through a tack store's worth of expensive, fancy, "proper" dressage saddles on my broad, short-backed Arabian mare--including a Bates, a Courbette, a couple of Stubbens, and a County, I finally decided to try treeless after a fellow boarder recommended it. I opted for the Cheyenne rather than the London, even though we do some dressage, because I hate knee blocks and padding and was afraid the London's longer flaps might swallow my compact 15hh mare whole. I can honestly say that the Cheyenne is the BEST saddle I've ever owned, and virtually the ONLY saddle in which my mare has been comfortable enough to lift her back and work through properly without being asked/told to. The seat is extremely comfortable and the stirrups are in the correct place. Purists who overlook these saddles because of their more unconventional appearance and lack of monstrous thigh blocks are missing out--correct horsemanship is not a fashion show, and the Cheyenne delivers perfect fit and rider positioning without bullying the rider into place with a massive cantle and blocks.
Dislikes: The standard-width fiberglass pommel that came in the saddle was too narrow and rigid for my mutton-withered, sensitive mare, but I bought the wool-stuffed flexible pommel form from Barefoot for about $30 and the problem was solved.
Quality: The saddle is made of high-quality fleece-backed nubuck that conforms perfectly to the horse and rider. Within 2 rides in the saddle, it had molded itself nicely to my mare's shape and my seat without totally collapsing, and I can tell that the materials will hold up for years to come. The nubuck does require a cleaner made specifically for nubuck, but you can find Nikwax nubuck cleaner easily at most outdoor supply stores.
Summary: This is a perfect saddle for any horse with back issues or saddle fitting problems, and for riders who want to cultivate their equitation and feel their horses' movements without tons of blocks, rigid trees, etc. in the way. I disagree with reviews that categorize it as a "stable bareback pad"--I rode in a bareback pad for a few months when I was between saddles (i.e. broke from the saddle search!) and can honestly say that the Barefoot provides structure and security without pushing you around like some saddles do. I will never ride my mare in anything else.
Author: Sara Patterson
Usefulness Rating: 3 out of 5.
4 reader(s) voted.
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