Model: Griffin High Wither Selecta
Category: All Purpose Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle new on ebay after extensive (and desperate!) research to find an all-purpose saddle to fit my aging, very high-withered, long-backed ex-racehorse thoroughbred. It was priced at around $400, which was about as much as I was willing to risk because I could find no place locally to try one out. It is a synthetic saddle.
Likes: The Griffin Selecta is specially designed for this body type of horse. He has a decent-sized barrel, so the narrow-tree saddles I had tried were terrible fits. The Selecta has thick padding around the wither area so the pommel stays well clear of the withers. And the medium width accommodates his barrel wonderfully. Then of course there is the significant upside of the synthetic saddle: just hose it off when it gets dirty. I also like the suede-like texture of the seat--you stick to it nicely, which I like for jumping or hacking.
Dislikes: Then there is the down side of synthetic: it squeaks (though not as loudly as some Wintecs I've had the misfortune to hear). Also, it is difficult to predict how long it will last: surely not as long as a high-quality leather saddle (though I am sure it will outlast a cheap and poorly made leather saddle).
Quality: The saddle strikes me as well made, and I think it looks pretty good too. In addition, the saddle comes with three easily interchangeable knee flaps, for jumping, hacking, and dressage, so it is more adaptable to multiple uses than the typical all-purpose saddle--though no doubt not as good for each purpose as a high-quality saddle designed for each specific purpose would be.
Summary: This saddle solved a very difficult saddle-fitting problem for me. I would not hesitate to recommend it to other people with hard-to-fit thoroughbreds and who do not have lots of money to throw at the problem. I'm not sure this particular model is still being made (as of March 2006), but I have noticed some great closeout sales online. Now Thorowgood is making saddles with "fish," allowing for adjust-ability of width. Mine does not have this feature, so I can't comment on it.
Usefulness Rating: 1 out of 5.
2 reader(s) voted.
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