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Buffalo leather - is it "THAT" much better?

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  • Buffalo leather - is it "THAT" much better?

    The buffalo leather upgrade over the regular leather on an Albion dressage saddle is over $600

    Is it "that" much better?

    Anyone has buffalo leather? Love it? Hate it? Worth the $600?

    I would love to hear your opinions.

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    The saddle company I ordered my dressage from did it for free or very little cost. I like buffalo leather better than the leather on my Kieffer . . . but not for $600. Is the whole saddle made from buffalo? On my saddle it was just the seat.
    "You gave your life to become the person you are right now. Was it worth it?" Richard Bach

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Gloria View Post
      The buffalo leather upgrade over the regular leather on an Albion dressage saddle is over $600

      Is it "that" much better?

      Anyone has buffalo leather? Love it? Hate it? Worth the $600?

      I would love to hear your opinions.

      Thanks in advance.
      I have one saddle in the Ultima leather and two in the plain leather.

      I can not detect a difference when I ride in them.

      Also, I just got a brandy new jump saddle in the plain leather, and a hunter trainer was like, "Wow, what a nice saddle, what kind is it?" and couldn't believe that it was only on its 5th or 6th ride with how soft and broken-in the leather already was.

      For a hunter trainer to think a saddle is nice without knowing what brand it is or how much it cost is a revolution in itself, but the plain Albion leather is obviously holding its own against saddles that cost twice the price.

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      • #4
        I like smooth, non-grippy leather. I think I'm in a minority though.
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        • #5
          My Smith Worthington is buffalo leather, but it was the same price, or maybe a small upcharge from regular. It definitely wasn't $600!

          I do like the buffalo leather a lot. It's got just a little extra grip to it that helps me stay stable in the saddle. It's tough, and seems to wear well. I use my dressage saddle for trail riding, and there are no visible nicks and scratches on the saddle, despite going through some pretty rough trails.

          Oh, and there's basically no break-in time. It comes soft from day one. The one minor downside is that it's not as "pretty" as regular leather. It's got quite a bit of texture, and you'll never be able to get it to shine up like regular leather.

          So, I'm definitely a fan... BUT... I don't know that I like it so much better that I would have paid $600 more for it...

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          • #6
            I have buffalo leather on the flaps of my Custom saddle- I do not like it, and would order bridle leather (or whatever you call plain saddle leather) next time. I found it stiff and hard to break in, and somewhat more slippery than the seat which is plain leather.

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            • #7
              I hate buffalo leather. I feel like it never looks as clean and isn't as easy to ride in. My plain leather Custom took zero time to break in. It's been wonderful and I could ride it in it all day. I just absolutely cannot stand buffalo leather. I realize I'm a minority though *shrug*
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              • #8
                Hmm. I actually do love my buffalo leather! It is super grippy and was broken in pretty much from day one. I've had some interesting moments in it and I have to say, in my jumping saddle (plain leather), I probably would have come off. Knee rolls probably add to the security but really, I love it.

                That being said, I also tried a Black Country dressage saddle with their Vintage print leather (think that's what it's called) and it was just as nice as the buffalo that I ended up with (different saddle brand). So, I think I'd not want to pay an extra $600 for it unless you had a chance to compare it in person to decide.

                I am planning on upgrading my jumping saddle to a BC with the vintage leather - that's how much I loved it!
                ~* Be kind to one another *~

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                • #9
                  I love the buffalo leather on my Trilogy saddles. I think the real test is durability so ask me again in 10 years.

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                  • #10
                    I personally love it on mine. I have it on the seat and the knee rolls and it is super grippy, comfy and durable (it's on a 10-year-old JRD saddle and the buffalo shows no wear at all, but the smooth leather portions do).

                    I think it saved me from coming off more than once on my old lease horse, who had a wicked, athletic canter-halt-spin-bolt spook.

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                    • #11
                      I love mine, but it wasn't $600 more. Today, I don't know if I would pay that and I know I like it. If I hadn't ridden in it, I really doubt I'ld pay that difference.
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                      • #12
                        Another buffalo leather lover here, its soft, sticky and wears well. Currently have it on my Cardanel. Bought my saddle used however, I don't know if I'd pay $600 upgrade for it, I'd have to really like it on that particular saddle to pay that much.
                        Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

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                        • #13
                          I wanted to add, that i did not find mine to be soft and sticky, but rather to be hard and slippery= different leathers from buffalo's????

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mickeydoodle View Post
                            I wanted to add, that i did not find mine to be soft and sticky, but rather to be hard and slippery= different leathers from buffalo's????
                            I like all my Albions but the plain leather is softer and stickier than the buffalo. I agree with the harder/slippery-er verdict.
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                            • #15
                              I think there's two different things being talked about here.

                              Buffalo (water buffalo or Memel) is thick, grainy, wears like iron, but quite soft and supple especially for how thick and grainy it is. I ordered this for my super-nice, custom made, big birthday gift, GP trail riding, beating through the brush saddle, because I intend it to see me out... But I have no illusions that it's going to be completely "me shaped" until I've ridden in it every day for several weeks.

                              Completely different from, say, the "Elite" leather on my very nice Trilogy dressage saddle, which if anything is rather softer and stickier than a standard saddle leather and was, and remains, "me shaped" very quickly.

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                              • #16
                                I have a county dressage saddle w/ it...

                                Soft and sticky, yes. Easy to break in, yes. I still hate it because it never looks clean. There is dust in the creases that I just can't get out... I don't like it to the point that when I got my next county, a jumping saddle, I downgraded the leather to smooth. And guess what, the saddle was still soft and easy to break in...

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by millerra View Post
                                  I have a county dressage saddle w/ it...

                                  Soft and sticky, yes. Easy to break in, yes. I still hate it because it never looks clean. There is dust in the creases that I just can't get out... I don't like it to the point that when I got my next county, a jumping saddle, I downgraded the leather to smooth. And guess what, the saddle was still soft and easy to break in...
                                  AHHHH but you must treat the buffalo like the royalty that it is. No common sponge, it likes only ultra plush velvet washcloths
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                                  • #18
                                    Ohhh. But no one around here gets treated like royalty except Mr. Important, the horse.

                                    Poor saddle. It's treated like a commoner.

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                                    • #19
                                      I have an Arc De Triomphe saddle in full buffalo, the upgrade for ADT is $400 but I was discounted that price. It was definitely worth it for me, the leather was already broken in on day one and is wearing very nicely after about four months of at least one ride a day. I was also told I could ride in jeans and I wouldn't injure it.

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                                      • #20
                                        I have a buffalo leather saddle (not Albion) that I LOVE. I bought it new and it still started out softer than a well-used and well-broken-in, 20-year-old County (which can't compare in any way!), and has just gotten better.

                                        I also have a new regular leather (i.e., not calf-skin) saddle that I've oiled, condition, rolled the flaps, and hand-worked to soften it and it's got a LOOOONNGGG way to go to ever approach the buffalo leather's softness and broken-in feel.

                                        If I had a choice, I'd definitely choose buffalo, but, I can't say if it's worth $600 or not. I guess the answer on that would be how well it holds up over time compared to non-buffalo, but, in my case, I'm gonna enjoy the hell out of that buffalo leather saddle every time I use it for however many years it lasts.
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