Back in December when I ordered Jamie, I added some other stuff on, not only to get free shipping, but also because they were giving 5x the points on all purchases. I figured I might as well make the most of it! I looked around on the website for a bit…and then came across this set! It originally was made for a warehouse club scenario, I’m assuming Costco and/or Sam’s. Not sure why so many of them ended up in the warehouse at American Girl though, usually these things sell out at these places, very odd. But, it was a good deal and I decided it was worth taking a chance on. Advertised as “Less Than Perfect”, the description indicated that the product itself was not damaged, just the packaging. For $60, it seemed like a good deal, but I would also end up earning $15 worth of rewards. Why not give it a shot?
The box had some marks and slight damage, but nothing horrible. I’ve seen boxes in worse shape at Walmart and not reduced. I would have used it even as a gift, it’s not like it was destroyed or anything bad like that.
Once I opened it, I could slide out the insert everything was attached to.
And…another packaging nightmare. Honestly, why???? I’m getting SO tired of overpackaging. I wrestled with this for a while. Especially the part that was holding the horse’s mane hair in place.
Okay, so on to what is in the box after the wrestling match. The horse is cute. But…I was somewhat disappointed. I can say in all honesty that AG does a good job of photographing these and making them look better. First off…the seam down the back.
But then even more disturbing are the marks left on the horse from it being packaged with the saddle and bridle on it. If you order a horse from AG, they come without the saddle. I’m not sure if the bridle is on the horse when it’s received, but it just leaves a bit of a mess from where it’s crushed. (Insert annoyed face here…)
The surface is a plush type fabric, sort of like velour over a solid plastic base.
The feet are done so they look like they have horse shoes on.
Included in the box is a blanket that goes under the saddle. I’m not sure why they didn’t just put the blanket ON the horse in packaging, it might have kept it from getting so marked up. Just like on a real horse! Duh.
The blanket was just a thin piece of polar fleece. And it isn’t even square! Uh…where was quality control???
Okay, on to the good parts. It comes with some accessories besides the blanket–an apple, some carrots and a nice little curry brush. These pieces are cute. The little curry brush even has real bristles on it. But don’t use it on the mane or tail, these are made out of the same material as the doll wigs are, so be sure to use a wig brush!
The saddle is actually very well done. I was especially surprised to find out that the stirrups are made out of metal! It gives them a nice weight which helps keep the saddle in place. I like how they gave the different parts some texture as well.
The bridle is nice too. Both pieces are easy to get on and off the horse as well. I found these easier to use than the ones that come with the Our Generation horses.
Here is a comparison beside an Our Generation horse for size:
The main differences between the construction on these is the fabric covering over the plastic frame. The Our Generation horses are just the hard plastic on the surface. That is a mixed blessing/curse–while you can make them more realistic detail wise, but they also tend to scratch and mark up easily too.
My final take–I’d give this set a C-. The price, even at the sale price and if I factor in the $15 rewards I earned, is still more than I would have spent on a brand new Our Generation horse, without any damage. I think the AG horse is cute, but not as realistic looking as the Our Generation and I was very turned off by the level of damage to the horse from the way it was packaged. I wouldn’t buy another, that’s for sure, nor would I recommend it unless you are really hung up on getting an American Girl brand horse at a good price. I currently have the horse in storage WITHOUT the saddle and bridle on to see if those marks will lessen over time. I’ll update later if they do. Oh well, it was worth a try, and I’m glad I didn’t pay full price! Suggested retail on it was $100, I’m not sure if that is what they actually sold for, but I do know that if you buy just the horse and saddle separately from the AG website, it would come to $110, and it appears that the blanket for the saddle is of better quality. And just one other thing–who is doing the setups for their photography, and the packaging? You don’t put a saddle on a horse that far back! (Breyer horse on left with saddle in the proper place.)
Please keep in mind too–if you buy a “Less Than Perfect” set from American Girl, you can’t return it, it’s an all sales final situation.