Model: Meleta Brown Freedom Trail Saddle
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: After much research on saddles, I selected the Crates Meleta Brown Freedom Trail saddle from a local tack store for $1500. I chose this saddle because my hard-to-fit quarter horse mare has high withers and a short back. My previous saddle had caused her a great deal of pain, requiring multiple chiropractic and massage treatments before realizing the cause of the issue. I worked with a certified saddle fitter who gave me specific criteria to look for.
Likes: This is the only saddle I found that fit both my horse and me for under $2000, and met the criteria outlined by the saddle fitter. Specifically, it has tree-rigging (not in-skirt, which on some horses can cause rib pain), it has flare to the bars for her shoulder movement, it has a high enough gullet to give her plenty of wither clearance, it sits level on her back (not low in front or back). For me, it has a four inch cantle, smooth leather seat, and puts me in a balanced position on my horse. I was concerned about switching to a smooth seat (I previously had rough-out), but I have found this to be a very secure seat. This is a beautiful saddle. Literally, it took only three short rides for the stirrups to turn.
Dislikes: It is squeaky! Hopefully that fades with age. It is narrower in the gullet than other quarter horse trees, so if your horse isn't narrow like mine, it may not be the best choice.
Quality: Very high quality. As previously stated, the leather is supple while still being sturdy. It has genuine sheepskin lining. The tooling is beautiful. It has Montana Silversmiths conchos, and came with very high-quality saddle strings. It is made on an equifit quarter horse tree.
Summary: This is a great option for hard to fit horses like my mare. High quality at a more affordable price. I am really glad I found this saddle.
Usefulness Rating: 2.92308 out of 5.
13 reader(s) voted.
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