Monday 25 June 2018

Collegiate Honor Saddle: Thoughts

I had this great idea. I mostly ride Bridget in her dressage saddle, and Sophie is going to be growing and changing for a few more years yet, so it seemed pretty silly to go all out on a fancy jump saddle for either one. Something adjustable and reasonably priced seemed well worth a try to get us through the next couple of years.

I ordered the Collegiate Honor saddle to try:

What I like about it:

-very grippy
-comfortable (feels like a relation to the Antares Spooner I ride in)
-puts me in a good position
-balance of saddle seems good, stitching and workmanship is decent, and far surapsses what I'd expect for the price.
-adjustable velcro blocks
-supposedly wool flocked
-range of gullets available for it
-price point (~$1000 MSRP). Even if it falls apart after in a couple of years, that will still be less than what I think the depreciation on a nicer saddle given my current baby pony and rough boarding/riding in the west coast rain all winter situation.

As nice as it's ever going to look

What I'm unsure about:

-It's made with the doubled leather. Stiff (cheap?) leather underneath the flaps, layer of calfskin on top. The potential longevity of this concerns me - it scratches VERY easily. (Reminds me a lot of a M. Toulouse saddle I had years ago. The quality seems better...but yeah, the similarities are definitely there)
-The 'wool' feels pretty firm. Like it might actually be foam or a mix? I'm feeling skeptical.
- The seat is very open and roomy. I like it, but I could have sized down to a 17" rather than the 17'5" I ordered.
-The medium gullet it came with seemed very narrow and the XW one I bought follows that trend, and IMO equates more to a MW tree in the British saddles I'm used to (County, Barnsby, Jeffries).

What I dislike:

-the flaps are very long. If you're tall you might want to try this saddle. I am not tall and the flap is a bit annoying.
-changing the gullet to an xw one was a two person job. The screw holes don't line up on the wider gullet without quite a bit of persuasion. I wouldn't want to change it often or if I was in a hurry.
-the panels seem quite flat/straight and bridge a little even on B (who isn't what I'd consider curvy back to front). If you're on a budget, you might want to try this for a more "A" shaped horse, one with a straight back.

And yet...

I'm keeping it for now. I like it well enough for myself. The price point is VERY reasonable on these and the quality is great for the price. I'm going to order a 2XW gullet and give that a try on B, and if necessary, see if my saddle fitter can adjust the flocking a little. It's worth a shot. If we can't get it close, I'll sell it and actually be a little sad about it - as a rider I really want to like this saddle. Speaking from experience, I'd have a hard time finding even a well used saddle in this price range that feels as nice to sit in. That being said, if this saddle was marketed in a higher price range, I'd probably pass and look for a nice used Fairfax or Pessoa with a changeable gullet.



  1. Oh saddle shopping.... how I loathe thee!! Glad you found something that seems to be a good solution tho!! It’s very pretty! I’m considering my options but just have such a hard time committing if I’m not totally 100% sure it’s perfect....

    1. I hate saddle shopping more than anything. I'm not totally sold on this one either, but I'm basically waving the white flag if we can get it adjusted well enough for B to wear a couple of times a week.

  2. Saddle shopping is THE WORST. I will say that my calfskin saddle held up really well with lots of use and ... uhm... decent-ish care? A lot of the scratches are small and buff out when you condition it.

    1. Good to know. I foresee a lot of buffing and conditioning in my future!

  3. Blegh saddles - my calfskin saddle is about 11 years old now and still in amazing shape, I just recommend never riding in jeans lol

    1. I'm pretty sure this one would rip apart if I wore jeans, lol (OK maybe a slight exaggeration, but I'm certain the wear marks would be permanent!)

  4. Saddle shopping is the worst, haha. And it seems like you get to go through it several times a year to make up for everyone else! !

  5. I came here because I'm looking at the Collegiate honour saddle for me. Why do you think you need a wider gullet plate? In the pic it looks like the saddle is nicely balanced. I also didn't think the flap on the Collegiate Honour was particularly large and I'm only 5'4" Anyhow, I'm having the same issues with saddle shopping, especially when you are on a budget. I liked some of the older HDR saddles, but they seem to be crap now. Just ordered one and it came from Breeches.Com but it was NOTHING like the saddle at the tack shop, even though it was the same make and model. I don't know about these saddles coming out of India now. Seems to be a great deal of inconsistency. Stateline slapped me with a hefty restocking fee too (it was shipped from Wasn't my fault the saddle I ordered was crap. I had 5 people verify to me that the saddle I ordered was not the same dimensions as the saddle at the tack shop. Only reason I didn't take the saddle at the take shop was because it was a wide tree and I need a medium tree.