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Bareback Saddle Review

The Trail Rider magazine tests the L'Apogée bareback saddle to see if it will be a good fit for trail riding.

The L'Apogée Bareback Saddle, made in Austria, is cut from hospital-grade sheepskin, which is antibacterial and temperature regulating. The wool on the bareback saddle is shaped to look like a saddle, with a built-up cantle to help keep the rider in place. Quilted fabric skirts the seat, and D-rings allow you to add a breastcollar and stirrup leathers. The pad attaches with a dressage girth. The bareback saddle is available in both child and adult sizes.

The test: The Trail Rider's Saddlebag Savvy editor, Heidi Nyland, tested the pad. "I was interested to see if it would help me focus on my seat and relax," she says.

Nyland ordered a L'Apogée Bareback Saddle to fit her six-foot-one-inch frame and tested it while visiting a central Colorado ranch. "The 'saddle' was soft to the touch and appeared to be well made," says Nyland. "It fit the horse perfectly and was easy to put on. The wool seat was soft, yet firm. The skirting lay nicely against the horse's sides and was soft and smooth below your leg placement."

In use, "The high cantle design allowed me to sit in a good position, while also providing cushioning for me and the horse," reports Nyland. "The pad stayed in place and made it easy for me to sit the walk and trot. The double layers of sheepskin provided support and helped my test horse move freely. When I tested it later on my own older horse, the saddle provided cushioning for his slightly swayed back and helped me feel that I wasn't hurting his aging vertebrae.

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"I think this bareback pad would be a great addition to any rider's tack room if they want to improve their riding by working on balance and rhythm during flat rides or if they want an easy-to-tack saddle for quick rides around the pasture or over flat lands.

"I'd love to see this saddle used in a therapeutic setting, too," she continues. "As a North American Riding for the Handicapped instructor, I know the importance of riding close to the horse to absorb therapeutic movement and build core muscles. Plus, this is so easy to put on."

Cost: $495.

Contact: Smith-Garrity, Ltd.'s L'Apogée; (800) 800-4261; www.lapogeesaddles.com

Posted in English Tack, Tack & Apparel, Western Tack | | Leave a comment

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