Model: T-4 All Purpose
Category: All Purpose Saddles
Purchase: I purchased this saddle at Dover Saddlery in Wellesly MA for $529.00 I had become a chronic saddleholic. I bought my mare and a gelding for my husband to learn to ride on 4 years ago. As we were mostly walking the fact that the saddle was not real secure on her did not become a problem. After about 2 years he had progressed enough for us to trot and do more exciting trails. Now I needed the saddle to stay put! To shorten this story a lot, I went thru over a dozen saddles, several expensive pads and girths and finally figured out with the wonderful women at Trumbull Mtn Saddlery in VT that my mare is a Pear shape and a med wide. Unless the saddle fits well behind her shoulder(had to learn after 4 years where to set the dang thing!)and had an extreme forward billet- like on the fancier dressage saddles- it would slide up her withers. The pear shape makes all girths and saddles with no slip pads and shims etc, slide forward on her if the girth billets hang from the central position which is the most prevalent set up. With the 4 billet positions you can customize for forward and backward slipping! Very handy!
Likes: I am able to fit my mare precisely with the easy to change gullet system. Wayyyyy easier than the Wintec, and was able to substitute long dressage billets for the shorter billets AND place them in the "v"system format that you find on really really nice dressage saddles.(and also on the Thorowgood T4 and T6 dressage saddles. Also my own 5'2", 55 yr old rusty body with tight hips needs a narrow twist seat, and adjustable knee and thigh blocks which this saddle came with. Yahoo!I found out from the Classic Saddlery website about pelvic tilt and I have the extreme pelvic tilt which requires a more shaped seat than a flat seat which this saddle seems to have to some degree. This is the first saddle in my life that my short legs fit. Also the all purpose flaps are short enough that my heels are a good 4 inches below. I'd ride a kid's saddle but my butt is too big.(!) Also love the sueded texture seat because if gives me great gription! I feel very secure and happy in this saddle and so does my mare! Also, the shape of the saddle where it goes behind the shoulder is more full than most saddles. You can see an example on the Trumbull Mtn Saddlery Black Country Equinox saddle- it is called the K-panel. And that saddle is $3000K! Not surprisingly both that fancy saddle and this inexpensive synthetic are both made in Walsall England.
Dislikes: The seat is hard but I also bought a merino sheeps skin seat cover like a lot of the endurance riders use. It is heaven, so that removes the sit bone issue for longer rides. After I paid $529 I found what looked to be the same saddle on Ebay for $250! Arrgh! BUT, Trisha at Dover Saddlery spent so much time with me helping change over the short billets to long ones- cannibalizing 2 Thorowgood dressage saddles in the process and showing me how to change the gullet system twice with 2 different gullets that I felt the customer service was worth the extra and to know exactly what I was getting AND be able to return it if it did not work out. I have already lost too much money on saddles from ebay and shipping costs on demo saddles that I wanted the process to end!And a bird in the hand.... I feel so relieved to have ended my journey that I feel some recognition should go to all the fine folk that put up with me!(I did order a custom endurance saddle over a year ago, but those really small niche saddlemakers can take for ever to get the saddle done, you pay in full when you order then you need to make sure you are keeping that horse even if it means bareback riding! I saw one new custom endurance on ebay that was brand new and had arrived after being on order for 2 years! They had sold the horse!) A shout out to Vicky at Briggs Stable tack shop in Hanover MA for insisting that I try the a new dressage saddle with a "v" system as I was curious about. That experience opened up the fit ability by knowing that I could keep the saddle secure on my mare as the v system would keep the girth in place in front of her barrel and thus keep everything from slipping forward! She said, just see if it works on your mare. Great service and what a shop! I had purchased a used saddle from her a couple years earlier befor I really understood my challenges! As I mentioned earlier, Trumbull Mtn Saddlery sent me a total of 3 saddles and really helped me figure out my problem. Nancy became my saddle therapist. They just did not have a saddle that would work for me. Very nice folks. Also Heritage Carriage in Middleboro MA for selling me several less expensive, used saddles in the beginning of my process and Merri the tacksmith for altering a couple saddles for me.-actually she even sold one of my saddles for me.
Quality: I believe this is as good as it gets for synthetic. Just make sure the shop spends the time to show you how to change the gullets. I have learning anxiety so even thought it turned out to take less than 5 minutes once you know what to do, I would have been worried about mauling the saddle if I had not seen what you can do with it!
Summary: Phew! I LOVE this saddle. Due to the secure seat, customizable billets, velcro knee and thigh blocks, fish system, and stuffing that can be easily adjusted and the unofficial "K" panel. Very sophisticated saddle for the money! If they had had the T-6 which is the all Pleather model with shorter tree points I would have gotten that. But I was ready to ride! So the T-4 model will be fine! Happy Trails! Christie Lawyer, Norwell MA September 17, 2008
Author: Christie Lawyer
Usefulness Rating: 3.125 out of 5.
8 reader(s) voted.
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