10-21-2010, 12:58 AM
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If you value your horses' and riders' comfort, you will stear clear of any cheap Asian imports. All of the imports I have laid my hands on had one or more defect: tree was crooked, fell apart, put the rider in a bad position, didn't fit the horse, or was very poorly flocked. Most had at least 2-3 of these, if not all.
I have collected older Stubbens over the years. They fit all of the horses I use for lessons, hold up well to wear, and put riders in a decent position. I have one Parvizal VSD and three Siegfreids. One of my students has a Siegfreid that she lets me use in my program. The only non-Stubben I have is a medium-wide tree Avante. Avantes are good Argentine made saddles, definitelty worth buying. All of these saddles ranged from $200-300 used.
Another good option is buying the recently discontinued style Wintec AP saddles. You can get black 500 model APs pretty cheap right now, and you have the advantage of the changable gullet system. Thorowgoods go cheap as well, especially the older "FISH" saddle (fixed gullet).