Manufacturer: M. Toulouse (View all products by Marcel Toulouse)
Model: Merina (View all Merina reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: I purchased this saddle at Bit of Heaven in Collegeville, PA for $999 with free leathers. Wonderful store that was extremely helpful.
Likes: It's a great looking saddle that gets a ton of compliments. The leather is quite soft and although it scratches if you get too close to it, the marks do come out easily when cleaned.
Dislikes: After owning one for a year, I'm not impressed. I bought mine new, and it seemed super comfy at the time. I don't know if all the models are like this, but my Merina has a slippery underside on the flaps that WILL NOT break in. It almost damaged the outer leather on the flap when it started to crack. It's not well balanced, and the tree flexes. I started using it on my wider Hanoverian until his topline became built up and I could accurately buy a new saddle. The gullet of the Toulouse now measures 5" across, after using it with a front and rear shim pad. I've never seen a tree stretch the way this one has. Overall, I'd say its just OK. I think they'd be great for someone who had an older, better saddle for everyday use, but wanted something nicer looking for the show ring. I am not happy with mine as an everyday saddle. Whenever I get a chance to ride in something else, I see an immediate improvement in my position. If you're looking at spending $1K for a new one, I'd definitely recommend looking at better quality used saddles. The resale on them is not so great either. After this one, I'll NEVER buy another saddle made in Argentina.
Quality: Nice leather on saddle, tree is poor quality that does not hold its shape. Matching leathers are junk that stick to the saddle, come apart at the stitching, and are destroyed by the stirrup bar.
Summary: Might be fine as a second saddle for shows, but skip it if you're looking for an every day saddle.
Usefulness Rating: 2.85714 out of 5.
14 reader(s) voted.
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