The Malaga measures approximately 15inches/38cm from the stirrup bar to the end of the flap. The seat on my model is approximately 12.5inches/32cm. This one is in two tones of Italian leather. The seat is very cushioned with no lines stitched through it and it is a fairly level seat. The cantle is completely vertical with a height of 4inchs/10cm. This gives it a very secure feel, but something to keep in mind with more mature riders or those with hip problems or replacements (it makes it hard to get the leg over when mounting for some riders). This saddle also has the pommel swell of about 2inches/5cm. Again, this feature gives the saddle a very secure feeling, but some riders may find this difficult to lean over when mounting and may bump into it when rising the trot. The stirrup barn is placed nicely under the rider giving a straighter leg position. This really made riding more comfortable for my knees and kept me in a more classical position. Some riders prefer the forward stirrup bar that puts them in more of a chair seat, but I really like this correct position. The saddle has Velcro on knee blocks under the flap that can be changed or removed. The first billet is a very forward point billet, which really helps prevent the saddle from being pulled forward when the girth settles into the “girth grove” of the horse. The back billet is a Y billet system that helps distribute pressure across the back of the saddle. Both billets are easily removed which is a great feature that if they start to wear out, they don’t need to be replaced by a saddler, the owner can just order new ones and put them on themselves.
Overall, I really like this saddle. My horse has been really been happy in it as well. He really enjoys the larger panels found on the Spanish style saddles. I like that the panels on this one, are almost completely concealed by the saddle. There is only a slight bit of overlap where the panel shows, unlike the cut of the flap on the Vienna. The stirrup bars are a bit tight under the flap of this saddle and it’s a bit harder to get the stirrups on and off compared to other Hidalgo saddles. This saddle has gold colored D-rings at the pommel and overall there has been a nice attention to detail on the symmetry and quality of this saddle. The leather provides nice grip, and in the month or so that I’ve had it, it has not required any conditioning and still looks new. With the hotter weather, this saddle settled quickly. I think because of the flatter seat, there is not quite as much wither clearance on this one, but there is still plenty of room and I think this saddle could accommodate many horses. Overall, I have only good things to say about this saddle!
Owner at Shade Tree Stables LLC
Hidalgo US Test Rider
Horsemen’s Council of Illinois Director of the Board