Saddle Suggestions/Experiences With ReactorPanel

I’ve been casually searching for a saddle to fit my endurance prospect! Right now I’m still undecided as to which brand would be ‘best’ (and I know there’s differing opinions on that), so I thought I’d ask here.

The horse is a Mustang - kind of chunky at the moment, but narrow. She’s still young (coming 4) and will obviously change shape a little as she continues to grow, so I’d like something that can be adjusted if need be. I’m looking for more of an English-type saddle as that’s what I’m used to.

The company I’ve been eyeing is ReactorPanel - I love all the different options they have for a combination that will fit the rider and horse, as well as the trial policy. If I were to choose a saddle from them, I’d probably go for the Tribute tree, which is described as having a narrow twist. That does make me a little nervous as I don’t want excess pressure anywhere it shouldn’t be (although I suppose that’s the point of the trial).

The other thing I’ve heard about ReactorPanel is that their saddles can be quite heavy. I’m fairly small, but if anyone has insight as to exactly how heavy, that would be much appreciated - I don’t want an overload of ‘dead’ weight on her back, seeing as she’s a small horse. I’m totally open to going flapless if that would take some of the weight off, but that’s another thing I don’t have experience with, so I would love to know if anyone has experience with that sort of saddle!

Has anyone had experience with ReactorPanel or a similar company? Any insight as to what might be a good fit for both my mare and me? Thank you :slight_smile:

I ride in their Heraldic flapless, on I think their second to widest tree. It’s very light, around 15 pounds with stirrups. My Morgan has big shoulders, a wide barrel, and a lot of curve in her back. She’s a hard one to fit! The Heraldic fit her like a glove. At the saddle trial my dressage teacher said “buy that one, it’s the first time I’ve seen your legs in proper position.” I feel very secure in that saddle, and I’ve never been sore (although, disclaimer, I rarely ride more than 15 miles in a day). I am big fan of RP.

My last saddle was an RP Summit and yes, it was heavier than a typical English saddle. Somewhere around 35 lbs with the girth and stirrups.

You will need to get exact measurements and photographs, and they can tell you what tree and what width will probably work best for your girl, and will send you saddles to try out. It’s ideal if one of their saddle fitters can come to you. My first RP, I was in the Bay Area where they were then located and Carmi, the founder, met me with a van load of saddles. But my new Heraldic I got on trial and had to adjust it myself – with endless help from the current owner via email, photos, phone calls, and video. They are superb with customer service.

If you can find a used one that fits, in their classified section, you’ll save a bunch.

Some history: RP split a few years back and Carmi started up a sister company which focuses on dressage and jumping saddles only, while RP is now owned by a former employee, and is only trail/endurance saddles. Much farther back in time, the RP brand went through a big foofaraw because Carmi and her British husband split, and they both made saddles under the RP brand, one designed by him and sold in Europe and one by her, sold in the US and Canada.