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Collegiate Saddles?

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  • Collegiate Saddles?

    Comments? Experience?

  • #2
    Used to be made in Argentina, now made in India. Horrible, horrible saddles, I would not make my horse suffer with one on his back. If you are on a budget, buy a better made used saddle instead, or a Wintec Isabell.


    • #3
      I have a very old collegiate that I was given. I have never had any problems with my horse's back. It's very comfortable and fits me nicely. I don't have any experience with the new ones, though.


      • #4
        I have a new Collegiate Diploma. I actually love it. When I was saddle shopping I didnt have a big budget. At the time I would have rather purchased a used saddle of almost any other brand. I was under the impression that Collegiate's were a poor quality saddle. While at the saddle fitting session the Diploma was one very few saddles that actually fit my narrow horse. The Diploma's have the adjustable tree and wool flocking which worked out great since I needed the narrow tree and some extra stuffing. After sitting in all the saddles as well it was one of the most comfortable. Some of the much more expensive saddle I thought were very uncomfortable. I will say that I do not like all the bells and whistles on my saddle. I still think the most comfortable saddle of all is my old PDN with no knee rolls, knee blocks, and calf blocks and all that extra stuff. After sitting in the Diploma and liking it and knowing that it fit my horse well I was still hesitant, but my saddle fitter told me that they are nice saddles and well made and she didnt understand why they have such a bad reputation. I do believe her now.


        • #5
          I owned a pre-Bates Collegiate. The saddle fit my horse and my budget. A good, workman's saddle; it'll do the job. If you can get the right fit, it can be a good match.

          Not the best saddle out there, but it doesn't claim to be.


          • #6
            I have a Collegiate that's in the neighborhood of 15 years old. It was the only saddle I could find that had a padded flap but no knee roll underneath, and I love it. It is in beautiful condition, fits about every horse I have put it on, and puts me in a great position (mines a close contact, not a dressage. My dressage saddle is a Schleese). It was totally worth the money spent, is in lovely condition, and certainly doesn't hurt my position or my horse's back. The most expensive saddle is painful to a horse if it doesn't fit right, and making that generalization about a brand is rather short-sighted.


            • #7
              I have a Collegiate CC and absolutely love it . Good quality leather, wool panels, adjustable gullet, comfy for me, fits my horses... absolutely no complaints. I did try sitting in a Collegiate dressage saddle (the adjustable gullet one) and wasn't too crazy about it.. but it was on a horse model thing, maybe it would have been better on an actual horse. FWIW, I also sat in a Dover Circuit dressage saddle, and it was TERRIBLE. You couldn't pay me to ride in one.
              Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
              Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
              VW sucks.


              • Original Poster

                Thanks everyone for the input!


                • #9
                  One more thought:

                  I don't know if this is still true, but it used to be that Collegiate "dressage" saddles were built on the same tree as the hunter saddles.

                  I agree that for a basic, economic HUNTER saddle, it can be a decent buy (although really, I think you're better off getting a used Crosby or something good).

                  But for dressage saddles, I think they're a poor choice. Despite what the above posters say, I really don't think they position a rider correctly, and you will spend the next 3-4-5 years (or until you get sick of it and buy a new saddle) "fighting" against the position it puts you in.

                  I know lots of people really don't like to buy used saddles... but in this case, I think a used Niedersuss, Stubben, or other reputable saddle is a better choice.


                  • #10
                    The new Collegiates do not impress me very much... Loved the old ones made in Argentina.


                    • #11
                      Still have the Collegiate Baron I bought in 1993. Love it.


                      • #12
                        I don't know what they are like now but the older Miller? Klimke? Collegiate dressage saddles were very decent saddles at very decent prices.

                        I didn't have one but know a few people who were very happy with theirs and they seemed to fit a lot of horses.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rileyt View Post
                          One more thought:

                          I don't know if this is still true, but it used to be that Collegiate "dressage" saddles were built on the same tree as the hunter saddles.

                          I agree that for a basic, economic HUNTER saddle, it can be a decent buy (although really, I think you're better off getting a used Crosby or something good).

                          But for dressage saddles, I think they're a poor choice. Despite what the above posters say, I really don't think they position a rider correctly, and you will spend the next 3-4-5 years (or until you get sick of it and buy a new saddle) "fighting" against the position it puts you in.

                          I know lots of people really don't like to buy used saddles... but in this case, I think a used Niedersuss, Stubben, or other reputable saddle is a better choice.
                          yes this is true. my position was horrible in that saddle. i have since moved on to a bates caprilli. now, both me and my horse are happy. i had one that was made in argentina. it fit the horse pretty well, but made me look horrible.
                          be kind to your horses mouth!


                          • #14
                            I rode in an 'old' collegiate Jessica for a while and while it probably didn't do my position any great favors, it wasn't all that detrimental either.

                            It was also the most astoundingly comfortable thing I'd ever ridden in, and the shark finned TB mare loved it too. I could have lived in that saddle, I just loved it. Also, my first saddle was a sr. event, again an 'old' one- also very comfy and fit a wide variety of horses.

                            The new collegiates seem to be really badly made- hard stiff leather, strange stirrup bar positioning, hard panels, odd tree sizing, etc. Not so impressed.
                            bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
                            free bar.ka and tidy rabbit


                            • #15
                              I got a laugh yesterday reading PH.

                              Collegiate has these ads talking about their long history.
                              Funny because, the new Collegiates do not have very much of a history as they are not the old real collegiates... I love this marketing stuff


                              • #16
                                My daughter had an older model, and I will say, she loved it. I did not, but then it was cc with no knee rolls, and I like a bit more support. However, it fit all the horses we put it on, from TB to ClydeX, and we never had a back issue because of it. Now that she has switched to western, however, it has become a decoration in the tack room. )
                                "The only easy day was yesterday" USN SEALs
                                courtesy of LCDR K.R.W, USN (ret) RIP, 4/10/09


                                • #17
                                  I had a Collegiate dressage saddle about eight years ago (it was used then), and I loved it. I think it was the Lisbon, but can't remember. I've owned a lot of really nice saddles (Black Country, Smith-Worthington, Bates, Laser, Ideal) and I have to say I sometimes miss that Collegiate. I loved riding in it. Unfortunately, it was too narrow for my XW horse. I wish I still had it for my new horses!

                                  Can't speak for the new Collegiates.

                                  (Personally, I would stay away from Stubben -- talk about quality degredation over the years.)
                                  "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."


                                  • #18
                                    Interesting reading.

                                    I first rode in a Collegiate in 2000/2001 and then from 2005 - I've had two in that time. I have Flair in mine and I LOVE it. It fits my Andalusian TB mare like a dream. It isn't a top level saddle but I'm not a top level rider


                                    • #19
                                      I have a Bates Caprilli for my tb/draft which i thought was the most comfortable ride ever, once I'd had an experienced fitter adjust the flocking (despite the Cair they do also have flocking), but my elderly horse did not suit the shape, and had to make do with the Wintec2000 all-purpose the same fitter customised to her once she'd made it plain she preferred the softer plastic tree. When the Collegiate Convertable from Bates became available here I did wonder if it was a leather version of the Wintec Pro dressage, so I booked a try, and it was as if it was custom made for her. And me. Nothing moved, and I'm confident that with the flock, a good fit will be maintained. The leather is not the very soft Bates stuff, but good at the price, and the squeaks were cured with hide-food!
                                      I'm very pleased with it, even my arthritic hips dont complain on this wide horse!


                                      • #20
                                        I know you're talking about the dressage collegiates which I have zero experience with, but I do have a close contact collegiate. I absolutely love it. It's super old, you can barely read the stamp on the underskirt. I've never had problems with my horse's back because of it. Two good friends of mine also have a old collegiates and love theirs too. We all have stock type horses though, and we have old collegiates, and close contacts, not dressage models. Maybe that has something to do with it? -shrug-