Manufacturer: Tad Coffin
Model: CD Dressage Saddle
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: I ordered this saddle directly from Mr. Coff who hand makes them, one at a time, at his shop in Virginia. The price was $700,000 approximately five years ago. This is the first dressage saddle I have owned; I wanted a saddle that would continue fit my young horse as he matured/developed and provide me with a correct seat. These dressage saddles are not available yet through commercial distributors, however, Mr. Coffin's jumping saddle is now offered by Dover Saddlery.
Likes: This is a very high quality saddle with outstanding workmanship that is as good as the best you could find anywhere. The leather is French, which is durable, beautiful, and supple. The craftsmanship is superb. The seat is not overly deep and there is not an excessive amount of knee roll or knee padding, which virtually allows the rider to sit correctly rather than forcing her/him into any particular position. It is made with a revolutionary tree that is anatomically designed to follow the curvature of the horse's back, and several layers of shock absorbing materials. The tree is firm and yet non-constricting. It literally has fit every horse I have put it on, from warmbloods, Arabians and Shagyas, a high-withered Thoroughbred and one narrow chested, narrow-withered pony. It molds to whatever horse it sits on, and each horse that has worn this saddle has moved more freely with its back up and freer strides. It provides a wonderful close contact that makes you feel you are truly riding the horse and not the saddle, and yet the grippy leather and minimal knee roll offers security.
Dislikes: I have no complaints about this saddle at all. However I am aware that some individuals, used to deeper seats and bigger knee rolls, may find this saddle quite different and might not like it. But once you have ridden a Tad Coffin regularly, you can tell the difference between it and a traditional rigid wooden tree immediately.
Quality: Outstanding. Mr. Coffin is meticulous in detail and has the very highest standards for quality.
Summary: This saddle is usually discovered through word of mouth as it is not being sold through tack shops. But I can't help but wonder if Mr. Coffin's technology for building trees is going to lead the way in the future as a new standard for saddle fit and comfort for the horse. It takes some time to get one as they are custom made one at a time, but since you'll never have to buy another one for a new horse, or have it adjusted to fit a developing horse, it's well worth it. Also, Mr. Coffin will help you take care of this saddle for as long as you own it: if you have any problems at all with it he will remedy them immediately. His customer service and courtesy is excellent.
Usefulness Rating: 2 out of 5.
2 reader(s) voted.
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