Model: Griffin GP
Category: All Purpose Saddles
Purchase: Stateline Tack used sometimes sells Thorowgood English saddles under its own label. I bought two of their AP saddles on year-end closeout for $200 each (free shipping). Although they're labeled as Stateline products, they're really Griffin GPs. Both saddles have wide, not regular, gullets.
Likes: This is the only saddle that my barrel-shaped mustang (she's built like a quarter horse) accepted without so much as a pinned ear. All the other saddles I've tested on her, both English and Western, have caused her to skitter around at girthing and slide sideways on mount. This saddle fit her perfectly, and she was so relaxed that she dozed off during the cinch-up. Oddly enough, this saddle also appears to fit my 18hh Percheron draft horse...though I expect him to grow out of it eventually because he's only 4 years old and still bulking up. (I plan to use the second saddle as a training one for my yearling Shire draft.) Riding in this saddle was incredibly comfortable. I never use stirrups, and my body found its own "sweet spot" within the curvature of the saddle seat. I felt secure and balanced.
Dislikes: No dislikes.
Quality: These saddles are made exceptionally well for the price. Despite extensive use, the saddles still look brand new. Tight stitching, uniform seat padding and panel stuffing, symmetrical all the way around. Incredibly lightweight -- I can literally lift the saddle with my pinky! The "equisuede" knee pads are just the right amount of grippy; I kinda wish the seat were "roughout" with equisuede as well, since I rely on my derriere for staying centered rather than stirrups. Most English riders prefer a smooth seat, though.
Summary: If you're looking for (1) humidity-, dirt-, sweat-repellent synthetic and (2) an extremely affordable, knock-around saddle for schooling or trail riding, you can't beat these for the money. If my sensitive, cranky mustang approves of this saddle...well, what more can I say? Keep in mind that I bought wide ones for my flat-backed, low-withered horses, so I can't speak for other gullet configurations. An inexpensive, easy to maintain, knock-about English all-purpose. Would serve well as a jumping saddle, too -- the flaps are ever so slightly forward.
Usefulness Rating: 4.33333 out of 5.
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