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View Full Version : Prestige saddle - underwhelming...



ellem
Apr. 30, 2010, 01:28 PM
I recently had a Prestige Nona Garson Elite saddle shipped to me, and wanted to find out if I'm totally crazy for thinking that it's not up to the quality level a $3400 saddle should be.

First impressions:

- The panels are like ROCKS. As in, hard as rocks, no give whatsoever. I know they're foam, but aren't they supposed to provide some sort of cushion? The Antares I had a while ago was like a squooshy yet firm pillow.

- The bottom flap doesn't feel like leather. It's stiff, doesn't absorb oil, and is smooth like a piece of vinyl. I can see where they tried to add the upgrade of integrated panels, but the flap itself doesn't look, smell, or feel like leather

- The top flap leather is weird - I know they advertise "double stratum leather" but wtf does that mean? To me it feels like the put a heavily buffed thin piece of leather over some cushioning and glued it to another piece of the stiff plastic-leather stuff from the underflap.

- The dye rubs off. All over my britches. Ugh.

Does anyone have any insight? Am I totally nuts for thinking this isn't quite right for a pricey saddle? I wish the saddle manufacturers would put more info on their saddles out on their websites - if there was an explanation for the weird "leather" or rock-hard panels, I'd be interested in hearing it...

KristieBee
Apr. 30, 2010, 01:40 PM
wow, thank you so much for sharing your experience. that is a saddle I was contemplating as well. I have no insight to offer, just gratitude for potentially saving me the same disappointment as you!

I look forward to hearing what others say because I have heard raves from people who have Prestige saddles - but none close enough to me that I could see them in real life.

Maybe it's a breaking in issue?

Lucassb
Apr. 30, 2010, 03:30 PM
I have *never* understood what people liked about Prestige saddles, to me they are way over priced for the quality (or lack thereof, as you have noted.) I have never seen nor sat in one I wanted to own, but I am admittedly a leather/tack snob.

That said, there are certainly people who love them; saddle fit and preference is very individual. Personally you couldn't give me one.

mvp
Apr. 30, 2010, 05:26 PM
I believe the layer under the "stratum leather" is, in fact, not leather.

I'll spare you the rant that follows.

The 'hard as rocks' panels? Maybe this is just how Italians roll. Amerigos (wool) are surprisingly hard, too.

I did listen to a saddler rant about this aspect of Amerigos.

superpony123
Apr. 30, 2010, 06:27 PM
i never liked them either, and i do agree that they are very overpriced. as for stratum leather.. well i tihnk it might be time for you to do some googling, because i have no clue what it is! sounds like you could be right about the prediction..

maxxtrot
Apr. 30, 2010, 07:12 PM
i have this saddle but it is older like 10 yrs. i loff it, leather is soft, sad to hear that you had a bad experince.

forestergirl99
Apr. 30, 2010, 07:16 PM
I have a prestige eventer, and I haven't had any of those problems. Sorry about your experience. =(

ladipus
May. 1, 2010, 08:28 AM
I recently had a Prestige Nona Garson Elite saddle shipped to me, and wanted to find out if I'm totally crazy for thinking that it's not up to the quality level a $3400 saddle should be.

First impressions:

- The panels are like ROCKS. As in, hard as rocks, no give whatsoever. I know they're foam, but aren't they supposed to provide some sort of cushion? The Antares I had a while ago was like a squooshy yet firm pillow.

- The bottom flap doesn't feel like leather. It's stiff, doesn't absorb oil, and is smooth like a piece of vinyl. I can see where they tried to add the upgrade of integrated panels, but the flap itself doesn't look, smell, or feel like leather

- The top flap leather is weird - I know they advertise "double stratum leather" but wtf does that mean? To me it feels like the put a heavily buffed thin piece of leather over some cushioning and glued it to another piece of the stiff plastic-leather stuff from the underflap.

- The dye rubs off. All over my britches. Ugh.

Does anyone have any insight? Am I totally nuts for thinking this isn't quite right for a pricey saddle? I wish the saddle manufacturers would put more info on their saddles out on their websites - if there was an explanation for the weird "leather" or rock-hard panels, I'd be interested in hearing it...

I also recently bought a lightly used-almost new condition Prestige Hunter Classic D...i thought the saddle and the leather looked beautiful and seemed soft,supple, and nicely broken in...however when i sat in it...it felt like i was sitting on a rock-not to mention it DID NOT fit any of my 5 horses properly-which its supposedly known for fitting a variety of shapes/sizes...i was very disappointed in what is supposed to be a high quality saddle-very uncomfortable to ride in to the point where my but felt bruised-and i felt out of balance in it completely....i'll stick to my PJ Original Bruno Delgrange for now...and possibly try out an Antares or Devoucoux....once i re-sell my $2000 rock of a saddle:mad::o:eek:

jn4jenny
May. 1, 2010, 09:51 AM
I believe the layer under the "stratum leather" is, in fact, not leather.

I'll spare you the rant that follows.

The 'hard as rocks' panels? Maybe this is just how Italians roll. Amerigos (wool) are surprisingly hard, too.

I did listen to a saddler rant about this aspect of Amerigos.

I've heard the rant too, but I'm still waiting to hear why a softer panel is a better panel. I raise this because if anyone's heard a satisfactory answer to this question, it's mvp--and I'd love to hear it. I've ridden/owned both so-called "hard panelled" and "soft panelled" saddles and didn't notice any difference that I could attribute to that feature. As long as the flocking wasn't compressed, lumpy, or old, and as long as the saddle fit the horse, it was a good ride.

Prestige is not my favorite brand for a number of reasons, many of which the OP listed. But there is some logic to having a stiffer inside sweat flap. At least some of us either ride with a half pad/no pad configuration, or have occasion to work our horse until he's quite sweaty (think XC or showing in the middleof July) that causes actual horse sweat to contact the saddle's inside flap. They don't call that the sweat flap for no reason. It's also a helluva lot cheaper than using some schmancy grain or calf leather on the sweat flap, which is an area of the saddle where using a fancier leather serves no functional or aesthetic purpose.

horselesswonder
May. 1, 2010, 10:08 AM
I purchased a Prestige Hunter Classic in 2005 and liked it a lot. I wound up exchanging it for a Prestige Meredith two years later due to a new horse. I still have the Meredith and find it comfortable, well-balanced and durable. Maybe the newer saddles are not as nice (I haven't looked at them) but I really do like my Prestige. For what it's worth, I have also had a Tad Coffin A52 and currently have a Devoucoux (very different fit from the Prestige in terms of tree/panels), so I know what a nice saddle is. The Devoucoux is definitely my favorite, but I have found that it doesn't fit a lot of horses due to being more of a banana shape. The flatter panels of the Prestige seem to be more versitle in terms of fitting. I do dream of getting a CWD. Good grief those things are comfortable...

To the MAX
May. 1, 2010, 05:35 PM
Oh man I LOVE my Nona Garson! It's like a couch...but it doesn't fit the horse I have now :(. Sorry you don't like it! Maybe they've changed materials or production or something?

mvp
May. 2, 2010, 01:22 PM
I've heard the rant too, but I'm still waiting to hear why a softer panel is a better panel. I raise this because if anyone's heard a satisfactory answer to this question, it's mvp--and I'd love to hear it. I've ridden/owned both so-called "hard panelled" and "soft panelled" saddles and didn't notice any difference that I could attribute to that feature. As long as the flocking wasn't compressed, lumpy, or old, and as long as the saddle fit the horse, it was a good ride.


jn4jenny-- you're wish is granted, but you know enough that you'll be entirely disappointed with the simplicity of my answer. If you have an ideally shaped rock, then you can roll. But should the rock be the wrong shape? You are SOL. I'll take reasonably-flocked wool panels because the margin for error is larger.

I'm not a careful student of the high-quality foam used in the modern Frenchies, but I think all the talk about differences of 5-15 mm (millimeters!) here and there suggests that these panels are not rock-hard, but they are a shape, if you see the difference.

I do think it's interesting that Tad Coffin would make such soft and thin panels and then have us all place than on a board-like half pad. I'm not averse to this, as Western saddlers are happy to have a pretty stiff and broad surface on the horse's back (though not directly). I think the NSF (National Science Foundation) ought to fund someone asking if it helps horses to have the weight of a rider in a very small cc saddle spread out by some kind of larger shelf underneath.


The leather on this saddle is different from the other Prestige I had years ago - that one had normal leather. I suppose that maybe they're selling this as an "improvement," but I just don't see where substituting plastic for leather is really an upgrade.


I think Prestige got caught up in the pressure to do calf saddles. Toulouse did, too (later). At $3K Prestige was pursuing a slightly different market than the rep-sold French saddlers. I'm not a fan of all this since I want a good-fitting saddle that will last for my $4,500.... and nice saddles to cost $435 like my first PdN did in 1985.

All this means I shop differently than to most people.

Pirateer
May. 3, 2010, 03:41 AM
In the same-ish price range- I was WAY happier with my Amerigo Vega than I ever was with any prestige I sat in. (Although I thought the Amerigo Cervia felt similar to the Prestige). I was attached to my Vega...liked it better than my current frenchie-schmenchy saddle.