I'm in the market for a new saddle and remembered a Pessoa GenX I rode in about ten years ago that I loved. But since then I've heard the newer Pessoas have decreased in quality... is this true? I'm much more picky about fit and function than how fancy the leather is, but of course I want something that will break in nicely and last. I also like the exchangable gullet aspect since it gives it a little more potential to fit other horses if I move on from the one I'm leasing in a year or two. I definitely don't plan on changing it often, though - just if I switch horses and it otherwise fits. I've been borrowing my trainer's saddle for now, but it's too big for me so I need something else. I have really short legs so it's hard for me to get a good fit sharing a saddle.
Meh. I own one, my parents own one, and I know others who have them. Mine is well taken care of, cleaned and oil regularly and protected from dust and damage.
Very comfy for the rider. Not overly padded, and puts you in the right place. Decent fit for the horse, and EASY, EASY, EASY to change the gullets.
You should probably use some padding for the horse as the foam is pretty thin, and the leather quality is really NOT good. The saddle drinks oil, I have to oil a lot every 2 months or so, the leather gets dry and thinks about cracking otherwise. Plus, if you even look at it cross eyed it scratches! 3 of the 5 pessoa's I know or own have gotten a white mold that grows in the (hard to clean) seams and flaps and is impossible to keep from growing back. After 2.5 years some of the seams are are getting loose.
basically, it's a nice saddle, but not one that will last a long time
I just got the Pessoa GenX Natural last year and I Love It! I love the older Pessoas but I too also saw the quality go down for a few years (have a Legacy XP from a couple years ago and the quality is far inferior to the new Natural.) When I saw and felt the Natural version of the GenX I was impressed. I am also a short legged rider, I got the 16" with the forward flap, and it fits me like a glove. The panels on mine have great padding, which is a necessity since one of my horses is shown and frequently ridden without a saddle pad. And their tree warranty is amazing. I had an old Pessoa A/O jr that I was using to start ponies, which the tree had twisted in. It got sent in, checked out and they were willing to replace it with a brand new A/O jr. They let me upgrade the replacement to the GenX Natural for a few $'s.
I got one 4 years ago, and it sucks. The old ones were great (which is why I got one in the first place) and the brand new ones are pretty good I've heard, but a few years ago, not so much. Mine never really broke in, and I agree about the weird mold and how it scratches really easily. The leather quality is crap on mine for the $2k I paid for it. It really is more like a low quality HDR or Dover Circuit, which cost a lot less But I have seen the new ones in personal, and I sat in the GenX Natural and loved it! I know for sure that the leather quality on the new ones is much better than a few years ago. Not sure I would buy one again just because of the crappy one that I have now, but I think the new ones are worth looking at.
I have a new Pessoa Gen X (the prestige model with the darker leather) and IMO it is a lot of saddle for the money. It is well built, nicely balanced, and the leather quality is decent in looks and fairly durable. The adjustable tree is a nice feature. It doesn't compare to a high end saddle, but it is very respectable, comfortable, functional saddle. I typically use it as a back-up saddle and a saddle to ride greenies in, but I probably will use it to show one wider backed horse in this year. If you jump bigger fences & depending on your height, do consider the forward flap models. Oh, no, wait a minute, you say you have shorter legs, forget that.
I particularly appreciate that the FLAP leather seems to be nice and durable. I ride in the rain, snow etc. and it has broken in and worn nicely. So many lower end saddles have flaps that are constructed of two layers of leather glued together, which is not durable.
So, does anyone have an idea on the range of years to avoid? I'm looking at a used one, but won't buy it if it's in the range of years that some of you mention noticing poor quality. So, what years would you avoid?
I don't know the range exactly either but, I have a very old A/O jr that is fantastic quality, a '97 GenX that is pretty good and has held up very well through the abuse of being a school saddle, a '06 Legacy XP that is not the quality I'd expect, and the '10 GenX Natural that I just love.
When I was looking about a year ago the ones I saw weren't nice. I found one from years back where the leather was beautiful, though - quite older though, well before they started making them with the changeable gullet.
I know of someone who bought one new very recently. Within a month the tree was falling apart to the point that the panels were no longer attached to the front of the saddle. Pessoa said they would fix the tree, but it would take several months and they wouldn't offer any kind of loaner. She ended up having to return it to the tack store that sold it to her so she could buy something else.
I just replaced my old Pessoa GenX. It was a great saddle when I was younger because I could put it on (almost) any horse, but then of course when I got my own horse, he was too big for it, so I had to get a new one. In terms of versatility, I rode hunters, equitation, and jumpers in that saddle, and as I said before it was able to fit most horses. However, the quality of the leather was quite disappointing and it always seemed to be dry, even though it was dipped before I even started riding in it, and I cleaned and conditioned it a lot. I think it really depends on what you want. I now have a Stubben Portos Deluxe which I like much better, but in the end, it's your decision.
I got the Pessoa Legacy for Christmas this year. I second the vote about how it drinks leather, but after a few months of semi-regular oiling, it is breaking in nicely. It is SUPER comfortable, well-balanced, and I have been really happy with it so far.
I consider myself lucky. Had 2 AO's (1 purchased in '98, other '99) that were great. In fact the one I just sold cause it was only used a handful of times all these years by my mom & how many saddles does 1 need so no reason to keep it. They had great leather & "my" saddle had a lot of time in it, but still looked good.
I just got a year ago a Pessoa Legacy XP3. Love it! Good leather, looks great oiled up, I feel very comfortable in it, broke in easily. I rode last summer thru a pouring rainstorm (waaahhh!!), but let it dry & a little oil in spots it was as good as new. Very pleased with it. It has the interchangeable gullet feature, but I haven't tried it & at this time see no reason why I would need to.
I do believe Pessoa did go thru a bad stage & feel bad for the people who purchased saddles during that time. I have seen some & they are not good examples. I don't blame those people for having such negative responses to the brand, but I do hope others will give them a try as they have improved.
I have a '99 Pessoa one of the last ones to be made in England. Its still holding up great and is fantastic condition.
It was about 2000 that production moved to Argentina and the quality fell through the floor.
The first ones that were made in Argentina were really really bad but they have got their act together a bit and improved but they are still nowhere as good as the English ones.
I think when the time comes for me to replace mine I will be looking at an alternative brand that is still made in Europe. Maybe something like a Prestige.
The new Pessoas are way over the top in quality compared to the English made. I guess like competition their are some ups and downs, but looking at the new Pessoas, they are definetly back and on top of their game.
I looked at the new Pessoa Prestige when I was saddle shopping last year. The leather was nice and it was a good looking saddle. Very comfy to sit in and I liked the position it put me in. However, when examining it closely I discovered that the tree was crooked. This was a brand new saddle!