Manufacturer: JJ Maxwell Tack & Saddle Co. (View all products by JJ Maxwell)
Model: Hope Saddle The Prophet Western Trail Saddle (View all Hope Saddle The Prophet Western Trail Saddle reviews)
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: I wasn't looking for a saddle when I heard about the Hope Saddle by Joe Maxwell. I was happy with the flex panel saddle I had recently purchased for my colt. I was visiting my sister in California (I'm in Canada) at a time when she was trying out literally hundreds of saddle/pad combinations for her 'ouchie' mare. She had just finished fitting her mare with the correct tree from Mr. Maxwell, who she met at a horse expo. I tried to convince her to check out 'my' flex saddle, but she never went there. It's now a year later & I'm starting to do more canter work on my colt. I was getting really frustrated, as I was finding my legs were always gravitating 'north', and not staying under me. It was also frustrating to post a fast trot, as my feet would jutt forward & my rear backward at each stride. I thought 'rats... my saddle fits my horse great, but it sucks for me'. By this time, my sister had her saddle & was totally happy with it, not to mention her mare. I got Joe Maxwell's web page from her and made some inquires. Then I made my commitment. My saddle without bells and whistles is $1800, but I added to it so it ended up being $2500.
Likes: I have always wanted a saddle that didn't interfere with my ride. This saddle fits the bill perfectly. I feel so centred, so balanced.... first time in any of the saddles I've had - ever!!! I have used quite a few different makes over the years. Riding feels so effortless after all those other makes. My Hope saddle has an Arabian tree. I've had an Arabian tree show saddle in the past (made by a well known mass produced company). It was pretty, but wide, and I felt like I was doing the splits in it. Aesthetically, the workmanship is tremendous. The patina is lovely on my dark oil. The turned out padded trail stirrups are very comfy. The detailing on the horn is unique. I love the meaning in the various tooling patterns. For my horse, I like that the fronts of the skirts don't advance past the pommel, leaving more shoulder room. The tree is custom to his back, so he can't complain about the fit there. The saddle is heavy duty quality in a lightweight package of only 25 lbs. I have no problem gently lifting it up & on most any height. Service wise, Joe and Cindy Maxwell were great to work with. They went out of their way to meet my needs. Also, if I need to change the tree down the road sometime, they will gladly do it (at a fee of course).
Dislikes: There is nothing negative to report about the Hope saddle.
Quality: The quality and construction is one of the aspects I really like about the Hope saddle, so I've mentioned it in the paragraphs about what I like about the unit. The rigging is a little different so you can go to the website for the explanation: http://www.jjmaxwell.com/
Summary: This is a must for at least one time in your life as a horseman. Should I decide to show pleasure or rein, my second saddle will be another Hope saddle from Joe Maxwell and Cindy Maxwell. I fitted my horse when he was at riding weight. Had I fitted him at his winter weight, it might not have made for the best fit, so I recommend you fit your horse at working weight, no matter what the make of saddle you're getting.
Usefulness Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
44 reader(s) voted.
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