Manufacturer: Sycamore Creek Saddles
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: This saddle is actually listed under 'endurance style' on the saddle makers web site, but I didn't see that option on the drop down, or it is there and I'm just to dense to see it! Anyhoo - I actually purchased this saddle some time ago for my Arabian gelding. I was seeking a comfortable english style saddle with a centered riding position, ie., stirrup placement and what not - for all the trail riding I do and really wanted some good cush for my tush as well as the ability to attach saddle bags and what not. Not an easy combination to find. My gelding has high withers, is average width in the shoulder area then dips down in the back and has a very sprung rib cage. He can look like a broodmare with that buddah belly. I already knew that local tack shops did not have what I was after - I'm in 'western ville' where everyone thinks it'd be the end of the world to ride without a saddle horn. Goodness sake! Being a veteran of a multitudes of internet purchases which have included saddles in the past, my latest quest brought me to Syacamore Creek's website. As soon as I spotted the GMARATON2 with its apparent abundance of bum cushion and d-rings for attachments, I knew I wanted it. I e-mailed an inquiry thru the website asking if this particular model could be made for a 'trotting horse'. I assumed I'd have to wait a day or two for a response but to my delighted surprise (due to a world now lacking customer service) Tony Pritchett responded to my e-mail almost immediately and answered my questions. The ordering process was simple and I followed Tony's instructions for measurements and photographs. Not once during this process did he ever try to push product on me or make me feel that I had to buy the saddle just because he'd doled out a mother lode of customer service AND late at night I might add! Some people shy away from saddles and internet ordering but Sycamore Creek did have a return policy so I had nothing to lose. If memory serves me correct I paid a mere $600 plus shipping for the saddle. When the saddle arrived not only was there the saddle itself, but a beautifully made leather girth (appropriate length for my specific horse), a crupper and stirrup leathers and irons. Sweet! I don't use the crupper, I admire its quality tho as it hangs in my tack room. It also has 3 billet straps which provides the option to set the girth a little farther back if need be.
Likes: What I liked about the saddle as soon as I unpacked it was the quality. This was not made with chintzy leather or haphazardly put together. It was beautiful and it did not even squeak. It STILL does not squeak! Now after riding in it what I like THE MOSTEST is the extraordinarily plush seat. Can you say 'O M G ' ? Pure heaven! I've ridden many horses and many saddles over the years and the comfort level is off the chart with this one. Just a couple weeks prior to finally writing this review - went camping and rode two back to back days, each were 7-8 hour rides. I'm no spring chicken and normally I'd last perhaps half that long on a ride. Not only did I easily enjoy the ride(s) I did not suffer at all from sore bum cheeks, not during and not even after the ride. A freakin' miracle! On behalf of my horse I also really like the thick cushion the underside of the saddle. This enables me to use a thin quilted dressage pad. My butt is happy and my horse's back is happy. A regular win-win I'd say! The D-rings are heavy duty and attached very well to the saddle. Zero worries about one of those puppies coming off.
Dislikes: What's not to like? I love the thing. Wish I'd had one for past horses so my friends would not have heard me lament that I need to get off and walk for a bit...save my cheeks! Now they are the ones moaning about sore buns! I do not use the stirrup irons that came with the saddle. Not that I didn't like them, just that I had a pair of trail glide stirrups I'd grown fond of so I use them.
Quality: Oops, guess I yammered about that early in the review. Excellent quality in both the leather used and the overall construction. Shoulda cost double what I paid for it.
Summary: If I ever need a saddle in the future, my first stop will be Sycamore Creek saddles. Can't beat the customer service, quality of the product and certainly not the price.
Usefulness Rating: 2 out of 5.
2 reader(s) voted.
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