Manufacturer: M. Toulouse (View all products by Marcel Toulouse)
Model: Ariano (View all Ariano reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: I needed a new saddle after returning to the hunter world as an adult and post-baby (meaning I needed a larger size). After researching the M.Toulouse saddles for over a year and looking for either the Celine or Ariano model, I found the Ariano model for a great price on Ebay through Horse-Rider-Etc. I paid roughly $650 for it including shipping and it was brand new! Not even a demo! It came well shipped with all tags still attached and the original saddle cover came with it as well.
Likes: What I like most about this saddle is how comfortable it is! It rides like the Pessoa A/O but the flaps allow you to still have a close contact with your horse. The seat size runs true to size (I ride a 17") and the medium tree width fits my 15.3 well built TB nicely. The saddle took oil VERY well and helped to darken the very soft french calf leather to a shade darker then the Cognac/Newmarket color that it came in. The price was also fantastic! The saddle broke in nicely and did I mention that the knee rolls are movable which allows for a great fit!
Dislikes: There are a few things that I don't like about this saddle. The first is how stiff the billets were but with extra oilings they softened up. The second is how short the billets are. Word of advice: buy a size or two larger girth then what you currently ride in. My horse normally wears a 48 and I went up to a 52 which gave me the right amount of both billet and girth to use. The other advice is to use french leather stirrup leathers. I had read this from other reviews and found this to be true when I had to use my old leathers until the new ones by M.Toulouse came in. My old leathers did scratch the flaps but it was easy to buff out.
Quality: The construction of this saddle is overall very nice! The french calf leather is super soft, the movable knee rolls allow you to customize at your discretion and the comfort fit panels are built to protect your horse's back. While I have only owned the saddle for 6 months, the saddle has stood up to being ridden in it 5-6 days a week with no signs of wear, despite how soft the leather is! The saddle cleans nicely and will continue to take oil, which only aids in keeping the leather very soft and supple.
Summary: Over all I would recommend this saddle to anyone! I love it! It looks and rides great both at home and at shows, especially in the hunter ring. On the flat it allowed my horse to open up his stride more and over fences it put me in a better position. It looks like a very expensive made saddle but for nearly a fraction of the price!
Usefulness Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
6 reader(s) voted.
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