Model: Trail Saddle
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: The Cashel Trail Saddle is made by Martin Saddlery on the Axis tree. I researched this tree and saddle for about 45 days prior to purchasing. I learned about this saddle from the Downunder Horsemanship No Worries Club forums. The Clinton Anderson saddle is also built on the Axis tree by Martin Saddlery. The Cashel is considerably less expensive, however. I purchased the Cashel from Cultured Cowboy, as an internet search found them to have the best price. I ordered the "wide" version, 7" Gullet, for $1,159, and also the matching bridle for $49.
Likes: I LOVE this saddle. I have had saddle fitting issues since I purchased my Quarter Horse mare in October 2009. She has very wide shoulders, and low withers. The Circle Y I used on my old QH was way too narrow for her and left softball sized swellings on each shoulder. After much saddle fit research, I purchased a used wide tree Tucker trail saddle. Better, but based on some continuing behavior issues under saddle, still hurting her somewhere. Blaming these continuing issues on my poor riding (I'm fairly green) I began taking riding lessons. This has been great for me, but failed to resolve her issues. I decided to purchase the Cashel after much research on the fit of the Axis tree. I especially liked the fact that the front and rear of the bars flare away from the horse, so as not to interfere with their movement, as well as the round skirt design. When I received the saddle, I was very impressed with the quality of the leather and the workmanship. The true test of course was riding her in it. It seemed to fit quite well, and my mare didn't pin her ears or try to nip when I cinched her up. She stood stock still as I mounted and fiddled to get my feet just right in the new stirrups. A very good sign I thought, considering she usually walked off the minute I sit in the saddle. She didn't move a muscle until I asked, and then I proceeded to have the best ride I've ever had on her. No breaking gait, no stopping and refusing to move forward, no head high in the sky and trotting at breakneck speed, no tail swishing, no grunting...just one happy relaxed horse! She stayed at a consistent speed until I asked for more, her trot was collected and fluid. I had to stop her after about five minutes to check her identifying markings because, as I told my trainer who was in awe as well, I had to make sure someone hadn't switched horses on me! If they had, I certainly got the best end of the deal! The change was nothing short of amazing. My search for "the" saddle is over, and I now understand why you will RARELY find a used one on the internet. If you are considering this saddle, you will NOT be disappointed. It is awesome, and reasonably priced.
Dislikes: The ONLY thing I don't care for is the color. The ads all say "dark chestnut" but it is a dark chocolate. I almost thought it was black when I took it out of the box. Much darker than the bridle. However, considering the superior fit for my horse, I really don't care what color it is!!
Quality: The construction and quality of materials is exceptional, as would be expected from a saddle made by Martin.
Summary: This is a high quality saddle for the money. It is also relatively light weight, at only about 28 lbs. Much lighter than the Tucker. All I can say is the transformation in my horse's movement was amazing and this saddle is definitely the best purchase I have made yet.
Usefulness Rating: 4.79167 out of 5.
48 reader(s) voted.
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