HDR Saddle Review: How Good Is HDR Close Contact English Saddle?

Henri de Rivel make beautiful, quality saddles that are comfortable for both horse and rider. They make a variety of different saddles for different disciplines (for dressage and jumping, as well as your standard riding saddle), and each is as well crafted and strongly made as the next. HDR make saddles following a French design and are notably fine quality. They are made for the dedicated rider, and you will find great levels of good value, state of the art engineering and design of the saddles.

Is it also the case with HDR Close Contact English Saddle? Read on to learn more in our HDR Saddle review.

HDR Saddle Review

Henri de Rivel Club Close Contact Saddle 16.5
  • Regular Tree
  • Flatter Seat
  • Low Square Cantle

We are looking at their Close Contact English saddle, which is perfect saddle for children and young people who are keen on their riding, and want to go further into showing and jumping.

This saddle has a notably “showy” look, so it will be the perfect tool for your young ones to set off their riding skills. It is very comfortable for both horse and rider, which is one of the most important things – after safety, of course – for any saddle.

It is suitable for any type of riding, from dressage to jumping to showing – or just for hacking around the countryside. It will keep your little ones, human and horse, happy and comfy as they go out and about.

What Am I Buying?

This is a high quality saddle, with a classic look that will do well in the show ring. It has a flatter seat than some, making it ideal for jumping, and it has padded flaps and pencil knee rolls which will help with good leg position.

It is a leather item, which means that it has that real show quality look and should guarantee it a longer lifespan than some other saddles, and it has reinforced billet straps to add to this longevity. It comes in a beautiful Oak bark printed leather finish, meaning that it will look classy on just about any color pony.

How Comfortable Is It?

The good news, especially for children with a low tolerance for pain or discomfort, is that this saddle is supremely comfortable. Even before it is fully broken in it will not cause any amount of sore patches – great news for those trying to encourage their kids to enjoy riding. This saddle, although designed for smaller riders, should last them for years to come, which means less expenditure for the parents!

It is also very comfortable for the horse, especially as it is easy to adjust – one user reported using it on horses from 14hh to 17hh and it still fitting just as well on each!

What Comes With It?

You are buying just the saddle with this purchase. Some include stirrups, covers and girth, but with this one you have the freedom to use all your existing accessories without having to get used to something new – and you will find that the price reflects this too. This is one of the most budget friendly saddles, together with some Bates saddles maybe.

HDR Saddle Pros & Cons


  • Available in regular or wide – This sizing is great as it means you can choose the right size for your pony.
  • Tree has a lifetime warranty – There will be no worries about the tree getting damaged and having to replace the whole saddle – just send it back and have the tree fixed for free.
  • Concealed pencil knee roll – This helps improve the position of the leg, but discreetly.
  • Made from quality materials – All HDR saddles are made with the finest leather, so you should have no worries about breakage or wearing out.


  • May arrive moldy – All good leather picks up a bit of mould if it is left sitting around – a bit of a clean with good saddle soap will fix it.
  • Does not come with accessories – You will have to provide your own girth, stirrups and cover.

Final Words

This is a great saddle that will help improve the riding position at the same time as being comfortable. It may be too large for a Shetland, but it should fit the majority of other ponies, and can even be made to fit bigger horses. It is a high quality saddle that should last your little one all the way to college. It can, of course, be used by adults as well – it is not just for kids! Smaller adults or smaller horses will also fall in love with this saddle.

If you are looking for a saddle that will last you for years, be comfortable and fit your ponies well, then look no further than this one. It will be equally at home in the show ring or on the trail, and wherever it is used it will keep the rider – and the horse – comfortable and happy.

It is classy enough for the show ring, and suitable for jumping, yet versatile enough to be used as a good all purpose saddle. When the horse is comfortable he can perform at his best, and when the rider is in a good position then they can perform at their best. You can be sure that both horse and rider are considered in the design of this saddle, and they will be comfortable enough to work hard in it.

Where To Buy?

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