Arena Close Contact Saddle Review

I have had my Arena Saddle for almost a month now. And I feel that I have a pretty good feel of the saddle. Well, good enough that I can give an honest review of the saddle, and let you know my thoughts on it.

But let me go back a few months, just in case you haven’t heard me talking about Arena Saddles….

Way back in August, Heels Down Magazine had a contest where they were giving one lucky person a brand new Arena Saddle of their choice. And I was lucky enough to win the saddle. I was so excited. I have never won anything like this in my life.

And while I had some bad thing happen while I was waiting for the saddle to get to me, I was very happy to have something to look forward too, and boy did this saddle deliver.

Arena Saddles Close Contact Saddle Review

I was so excited, I put a lot of posts on my Instagram, as well as making an unboxing video of the saddle.

But I couldn’t really talk about the specifics of the saddle, because I hadn’t really ‘used’ it. But after using it, now I feel confident to talk a little bit more about it.

Arena Saddles

If you aren’t familiar with Arena Saddles, they are a saddle company that are focusing on creating high quality saddles that don’t cost a lot of money. They craft each saddle with high quality European leather.

The saddles have HART Technology, which claim to be transformative for horse and rider using  protective cushioning, which is the CAIR Cushion System. And the saddles have the easy change fit (gullet) system, and they have an elastiflex tree, as well as promoting free movement with a performance panel technology and also something called comfort seat technology.

Now that is a lot of information on HART technology, which I don’t completely understand. But I can tell you, the saddle fits well, and is easy to love.

Arena Saddles Close Contact Saddle Review

The first thing that made me say wow when I pulled the saddle out of the box was how soft the leather is. It is soooo soft.

Arena Saddles Close Contact Saddle Review

The panels are very flexible and the knee pad area is like resting your knee on a pillow, but in a good way.

Arena Saddles Close Contact Saddle Review

There are also moveable thigh and knee blocks, so you can adjust them to your liking. It’s almost like you can customize the blocks for your preference.

And this saddle is light. Not in a bad way, but the weight of the saddle makes it easy for me to get it in the correct position on Frisby’s back.

Trying The Saddle

Arena Saddles Close Contact Saddle Review

Before I used the saddle, I tried it on Frisby first to check for the fit. It has the medium gullet, and it seems to fit him well. The cantle does slope down a bit, But that is not because of the saddle, that is due to Frisby’s confirmation. He has a bit of a swayback.

Arena Saddles Close Contact Saddle Review

But this was easily fixed with my correction pad.

Arena Saddles Close Contact Saddle Review

I have the ECP 6-Pocket Inserts Quilted Cotton Correction Half Pad that I bought from Riding Warehouse, and I love this pad because it has removable shims that I can adjust for Frisby.

Arena Saddles Close Contact Saddle Review

Once I had the saddle sitting properly on Frisby, I girthed him up. The saddle still sat perfectly balanced on him.

Arena Saddles Close Contact Saddle Review

And once I got into the saddle, I was very happy.

It is perfect! My leg hangs like it is supposed to, I am balanced in the middle of the saddle, and it’s just perfect. The seat is very comfortable. I have heard it compared to sitting on a couch, but I don’t know if I would go that far. But I would say that I am able to focus on working with my horse, instead of constantly trying to adjust myself in the saddle.

I am able to ride for longer periods of time, because I’m not constantly fighting my position in the saddle. And when Frisby jumps sideways a little, or has a little stumble, my position doesn’t change. I feel very secure in this saddle.

The more I ride in it, the more I love it.

This may sound odd, but it’s true, I feel more secure in this saddle than I did in my Devoucoux saddle. I would rather ride in my Arena Close contact saddle than I would Devoucoux. How’s that for a review?

Arena Saddles Close Contact Saddle Review

I have sat in a lot of saddles over the years, and I finally feel like I have found one that really works for me, and my horse. I am so impressed.

Arena Saddles – Affordable Luxury

And even better, Arena saddles are affordable. They do sell the saddles through Dover Saddlery, but you can also buy them online!

You can by a brand new Arena saddle for $1299.00 and free shipping! They have 3 different styles; close contact (this is the one I have), all purpose, and dressage. They come in seat sizes 16.5 to 18 (mine is an 18, I like a little bit of room) so they have pretty much all sizes covered, as well as different styles of riding.

You don’t have to spend $4,000+ for a great saddle. Which is why I am so happy that Arena saddles are here. They make it affordable to have a fantastic piece of equipment that you will be so happy to have. And I am willing to bet once you try one for yourself, you will be riding more, because it’s so awesome!

Horse and Rider Comfort

I am a huge proponent of not only my comfort, but my horse’s comfort as well. And from what I can ‘feel’ from Frisby when I ride in my Arena saddle is that it is comfortable for him too. With other saddles, I could feel him flinching, or he would toss his head, and just not move like he was comfortable. Once I put my Arena saddle on him, all of that stopped. Even when I ride him right before dinner time, or ask a little more from him, he does it willingly. I think this is where the HART technology comes into play. Aha, now I get it!

Arena Saddles Close Contact Saddle Review

I am so impressed with my Arena saddle. And I am glad that I really took the time to get to know my new saddle before rushing to do a review of it. I really wanted to put it through it’s paces, and really ride in it before I wrote my review. And what I have found is that it gets better and better with every ride.


I am horse crazy and love DIY projects, and finding great deals on everything horse related. When I have a new idea, or find a great deal I love sharing this information with you.

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