Collegiate Convertible Diploma
Good fit, even better price
My 16.2hh gelding with typical TB withers but average width proved extremely difficult to fit for a well-fitting close contact / jumping saddle. 4 saddles later (thanks to SmartPak for their excellent Test Ride program) we found this. I had tried more expensive brands but was delighted that the best fit came from this one which cost so much less, yet is stylish & comfortable.
January 22, 2013
My horse is a petite 15.2 hh Thoroughbred with fairly high withers-they come out more due to her undeveloped topline. She requires a curved panel as well, so if your horse is built like this, I wouldn't try the Diploma. I tried the medium-narrow, medium, and medium-wide gullet plates on her and no matter which way the saddle completely tipped back, had no wither clearance and the panels were not curved much at all.
The reason I give this saddle one star is for the following: For it's price, the leather was hard and stiff and in the same price range, you can get a Marcel Toulouse or other saddle of much better quality. In addition the Easy Change Gullet is NOT easy. I read reviews of this saddle before and some people said the same thing I just did. I thought maybe they were just not good with tools or something. The way this works, you have to really push and hold the under part of the saddle up into the gullet to get the screw in straight. In addition when you change the gullet, the panels get huge creases which in time would make it uneven on the horse's back.
November 14, 2012
I have had this saddle for about four years now. I have used it on my no withers pony, big withered thoroughbred, and my medium tree thoroughbred. It isnt very easy to change though. I use it 6-7 times a week and it is very comfortable and has never given my horses any soreness issues. I am short so i do not like how it has such a long flap but it is great for lower level eventing. Im am searching for a new saddle though, because i am moving up to higher levels. The only complaint i have about the leather is the rub marks that my nice, expensive, stirrup leathers give it. Overall a great saddle though!
October 18, 2012
Good Value for the Money
I've had this saddle for about two years now and I ride in it 3-4 times per week. My main complaint is with the low quality of the leather. It was soft enough that it broke in fairly quickly, however it definitely does not have the leather feel you get in higher quality saddles--it's not supple or tacky to the touch. I also have some nice, expensive stirrup leathers and there are still huge rub marks on the flaps. Despite regular cleaning and conditioning, those rub marks appeared quickly and won't go away. It fits my thoroughbred's back nicely, no soreness issues. I feel secure enough jumping novice level jumps in it and it's never given me an uncomfortable ride. I've never tried adjusting the tree, so I can't comment on that. Overall, I think it's a very solid choice for the price. However, I'd almost recommend getting a higher end saddle used for the same price.
July 23, 2012
I've owned this saddle for 2 years now and it's in great condition still! The only wear and tear its had is the usual stirrup rubs. Very comfortable, broke in quite quickly, great for flat work and jumping! Highly recommend it, great value!
February 5, 2012
Always been a fan of Collegiate!
First, a background: I've always been a fan of Collegiate saddles since I was about 12. I am 26 now. My first saddle, a 16.5" Collegiate Graduate with the suede knee rolls and suede paneling, made by Ruiz Diaz that I got as a present in 1996 and I JUST retired it in December. It's still holding up, some stitching coming undone but no holes in the leather, never had to be reflocked, virtually fit any horse.. it was awesome.
Anyway, the Diploma saddle doesn't have nearly the same quality as that one, but it's far better than some others I've tried. I am still getting used to the more forward flaps on it, it almost makes me feel like I am sitting funny. Maybe it's in my head as I am used to a more normal, longer, not so forward flapped saddle. Either way, I like how the gullet is changeable (didn't need it though) and the color is impressive.
April 20, 2011