I don't have any personal experience but here are online reviews:
All Purpose Saddles
Model: Cresta VSD
Category: All Purpose Saddles
Purchase: Purchased as floor model on eBay for $695. 17.5 inch seat.
Likes: I like everything. The seat is broader than most English saddles making long hours in the saddle a joy.
Dislikes: The dees for attaching the breast collar are not very durable for cross country type work. "Dee savers" solve this problem. The leather is beautiful but I worry about it getting damaged from trees etc since it is less durable than say, a Western trail saddle or the expensive buffalo hide English saddles.
Quality: I believe this saddle will last through years of hard riding. The leather is very "grippy" and I feel very secure galloping over uneven terrain, even though I'm older than I used to be and not in as good as shape as I once was! The knee rolls are medium; not too big but there for extra security. The E-motion tree I thought had to be a gimmick but it does fit my average horses and my average-wide horse that no other saddle (other than a special wide one) would fit. The panels at first appear unusual in construction and design, but after examining the saddle on the horse with a rider on board the panels seem ingenious in design, as the weight of the rider is more evenly dispersed.
Summary: I use this saddle mostly for trail riding & foxhunting (coyote chasing.) I know many people refer to the "all purpose saddle" and the "no purpose saddle" but this saddle I feel is perfect for general riding. The seat is deep enough and on the VSD the flaps long enough to be decent for experimenting with Dressage maneuvers, while it allows a balanced, secure forward position for jumping and galloping. When seated your feet are where they're supposed to be (underneath you) without much effort. My last AP saddle made me feel incompetent because my legs were always wanting to sneak out front. Now I'm working with gravity and not against it! The "grippy" leather makes maintaining position easier also. When it's right, it feels right! When I started riding the trails I spent over $1000 for a Synergist which was supposed to be a very comfortable saddle for spending long hours in the saddle but sold it. This saddle is much more comfortable, even after 6 hours! Comfy wide seat but with a twist to make jumping a breeze! My horse does not get a sore back, and there are no "dry spot" pressure points after a long ride. This is certainly not the saddle for the Grand Prix jumper or the serious student of Dressage, but for others wanting a secure seat while they learn or trail ride the Cresta VSD would be a good choice.
Manufacturer: Berney Brothers
Model: General Purpose Saddle
Category: All Purpose Saddles
Purchase: I purchased my Berney Brothers wide tree all purpose saddle from a consignment store for $500, because I wanted a leather saddle for showing. It was estimated to be around 3-5 years old.
Likes: This is by far the most comfortable saddle I've ever ridden in. It has a deep seat that seems to just hold you in, making for a very secure feeling. The leather is soft and supple, and the craftsmanship is superb. The stitching is even and strong, and the triple layers of leather on the under side (under the billets) are great for preventing excessive wear from the girth rubbing. Plus the saddle looks great!
Dislikes: One dislike is that the billets are quite worn, but again, this saddle was used, so I would expect to have to replace them at some point. My previous (new) saddle had to have its billets replaced after 3 years, so I guess this is not unreasonable. Also, the flap is a bit forward, so this saddle does not put you in the best position for dressage. Again, it is an all purpose saddle with more of a jumping emphasis, so I would not necessarily expect it to be a perfect fit for dressage.
Quality: It is extremely well made! As I mentioned, the leather is gorgeous, and the stitching is very even and strong. I could not ask for better craftsmanship in a saddle. I have looked at many saddles in this saddle's new price range, and I have not found one of higher quality than this one.
Summary: I love this saddle, and would happily buy another one! One day I hope to be able to afford to custom order one new from the store in Ireland!
Hope this helps,
Never mind the whales,
SAVE THE COWBOYS