Manufacturer: Toulouse (View all products by Marcel Toulouse)
Model: Annice Printed Leather (View all Annice Printed Leather reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: I purchased this saddle from Oros Saddlery for $1,100 after months of searching for the perfect close contact saddle. I had been riding in a older Crosby jumping saddle, but the bridle leather of the Crosby was too slippery and the balance of the saddle put me in a forward position, which was undesirable for my eq classes.
Likes: It is very comfortable, the leather is soft and supple, and puts me in a correct position for eq/hunt seat. At first, I was hesitant about the printed leather, but it takes oil beautifully. I always feel secure in the saddle, as the leather is very "sticky". I did purchase the long flap, and went a size bigger (17.5 instead of a 17) than I would normally ride in. I am so glad I got the long flap (15"), as the Annice is initially made with a shorter flap (13"). I have a longer thigh ratio, so the long flap was perfect for me. Also, it seems like Toulouse runs a bit small in seat size. While other brands I tried I was usually a 17 with some room, the 17.5 fits me to a "T". The saddle also fits my QH appendix well. It has a nice channel for his spine, and seems to spread weight evenly over his back.
Dislikes: I would say there are two down sides to this saddle. One is that the billets are so stiff. I am not sure what they are made out of, but it took a lot of use and oiling to make them even somewhat pliable. The second is that the leather is so soft, that you really need to be careful not to scratch the saddle. It seems like any little bump will cause a scrape or a scratch. I have been able to oil or buff out all but one scratch on the seat.
Quality: Construction and quality of the saddle are exceptional. My mother-in-law has owned Butets, and she was so impressed with the leather of the Toulouse. I have ridden in her Butet, and I can say that the Toulouse is as comfortable as her Butet and seems to have the same quality construction. I have owned my saddle for 2 years and for 6 months out of the year, I ride in my Toulouse 3-4 times a week. It has held up great. No loose stitching. I do clean and condition my saddle after every ride. As mentioned before, the leather takes oil wonderfully. Be sure ride in covered stirrup leathers though, or you may damage the leather on the flaps. I was lucky that the sales person at Oros recommended the covered leathers so I did not have that issue.
Summary: After researching so many brands of saddles, I am glad I purchsed my Toulouse saddle! The overall construction of the saddle and the beautiful leather make it a great pick for beginners who don't want to spend a lot of money but still have a high quality saddle to ride in.
Usefulness Rating: 3 out of 5.
1 reader(s) voted.
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