Manufacturer: Thornhill (View all products by Thornhill Saddles)
Model: Pro Trainer Event (View all Pro-Trainer Event Saddle reviews)
Category: Jumping Saddles
Purchase: I purchased this saddle brand new directly from the tack store. Retail price was $1095 and for being a frequent customer of many years they offered me a generous discount and I paid $850 for the saddle (less fittings). As a bonus it was rated Tops by the Horse Journal Tack Buying Guide 2000. I thought it was worth a try. Big Mistake. Although it looked beautiful on the rack and also felt great just 'sitting still' on it inside the store that all changed as soon as I put this saddle on a horse and went out for a ride.
Likes: It is an attractive saddle, appeared to be well made and was advertised as using smooth bridle leather in the process. It had leather knee and calf padding with moderate blocks underneath. After viewing it in the store I thought it may be very comfortable for both myself and my horse. And to give credit where credit is due I must sincerely admit it fit my horse well and I do believe it was very comfortable for him.
Dislikes: Two extremely important drawbacks to this saddle: 1. The leather was stiff and no matter how many times I rode in it and used the best cleaning and conditioning treatments afterwards...it just didn't break in and get soft in any way! I gave it one year of hard daily riding....and by then I had enough of it. It looked extremely beautiful but I couldn't even give it away on ebay. 2. The Pro-Trainer Event is SLIPPERY! No matter what I did to try to eliminate that problem, it was still there. No amount of riding and / or professional products were able to change the fact that this leather was slick as ice. ( I believe there is another review that also mentions this fact.)
Quality: Actual construction of the saddle seemed appropriate but that choice of slippery leather was a big mistake. And not only slippery, it was inflexible...and after a year of daily riding it should have some "give" and be a bit broken in. Not this saddle.
Summary: I would recommend that the saddle maker switch to a different type of "grippy" leather that will break in. The actual construction, workmanship, and design of the saddle are fine but it seriously needs a change in material used for the seat and exterior flaps. This Brand and Model is one I would not recommend to anyone. I am a professional trainer with 42 years of experience and the material used in the making of this specific saddle on the seat and flaps is totally unacceptable. Again, to summarize, Very Slippery and minimal flexibility. There is no better way to judge a saddle then with a test ride.
Author: Blue Ribbon Farms in Spring Meadow
Usefulness Rating: 2 out of 5.
5 reader(s) voted.
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