Model: Griffin Extra Wide Broadback Dressage
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: I ordered this from Dover in May 2005. It did take over a month to arrive as it was a new model that wasn't even in stock yet. It cost about $500. I ordered it for my very wide Morgan mare. I used the templates from the Thorowgood website and a flexicurve to measure her. She measured a bit wider than their extra-wide size, the widest size on the template. The Extra Wide Broadback adjusts from xx-wide without inserts to x-wide with inserts.
Likes: I like that it has a bit of adjustability. For the wider setting you leave the red plastic Fish inserts out, for the narrower you put them in. It is much easier and faster to change than the Wintec easy change gullets. With a teeny bit of practice you can swap it in 2 minutes between riding different horses. I like the synthetic suede seat and knee rolls. They add a bit of grip and look nice. The saddle also has a stylish square cantle. I can't remember even seeing another dressage saddle with a square cantle (like on a close contact saddle) but I really like how it looks. I like that the seat is not deep compared to most dressage saddles. I really dislike riding in saddles with very deep seats, I feel way too locked into place. I like the shape of the seat very much, it is well balanced. This saddle is very light, substantially lighter than my other synthetic, a Wintec Close Contact. Without the stirrup irons attached it seems like it weighs nothing at all!
Dislikes: It doesn't fit my very wide Morgan as well as I had hoped. Without the Fish inserts, at the XX-wide setting, the gullet does in fact fit her. However it doesn't fit farther back and causes a bit of a pressure point under the cantle. I seldom use it on her. The good news is that it does fit my pony pretty well! When I put in the inserts to narrow it a bit it fits her quite nicely (note that she is still a wide-ish horse, she takes the Wintec extra-wide gullet). So the pony has "inherited" this saddle from the Morgan. The seat is a bit harder than I like. The seats of my County Warmblood and Wintec Close Contact are both softer and more comfortable. The flaps seem a bit stiff and still have a sort of funny poof to them. Even after taking out the removable knee blocks the knee roll area is more built up than I like (I prefer saddles with no knee blocks/roll or maybe a very think pencil knee roll). I am not crazy about the plastic synthetic leather on much of the flaps, I think I would prefer it if the whole saddle was the suede-like material.
Quality: The construction and quality are good. It is a fairly attractive saddle for the price, however I do think most Wintecs look better than the Thorowgoods.
Summary: This is a decent synthetic saddle but not top-notch. I prefer Wintecs to Thorowgoods, Wintecs are more comfortable and more attractive. I chose it only because Wintec does not make a dressage saddle wide enough for my Morgan. If I had known it really wouldn't fit the Morgan right anyhow and that I would end up using it for the pony I would have skipped the Thorowgood and gotten a Wintec 500 Dressage.
Usefulness Rating: 2.91667 out of 5.
12 reader(s) voted.
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