Manufacturer: Thorowgood (View all products by Thorowgood)
Model: Maxam with Fish System (View all Maxam with Fish System reviews)
Category: All Purpose Saddles
Purchase: I purchased this saddle new from State Line Tack for $150.00 on sale in January '07. They normally cost much more. A friend of mine has a Thorowgood, and her saddle fitter gave Thorowgood a thumbs up for the quality and fit of their saddle trees. I was looking for an all weather saddle so I could ride as much as possible in our lovely Upstate NY weather. My mare is a Warmblood/Arab cross with very low withers, and a wide flat back. Her show saddle, a Crosby Centennial, is a Wide. First, I bought the Maxam Cob and it looked perfect when I first girthed it up. To my surprise, after 25 minutes of riding in it, it was just touching her spine about 3 inches behind the pommel. These saddles do settle, and I was aware of that. Thorowgood says to expect the saddle to settle a couple fingers width. I put the "fish" inserts in this saddle, and it did help, but not enough. The Cob really is an Extra Wide. State line was very good about exchanging the Cob saddle for a regular Maxam. Of course, I had wrapped the stirrup leathers and returned the saddle the next day.
Likes: The "regular tree" Maxam is actually a Medium Wide- more towards Wide. That worked great for me. I like that I can use it on my low withered mare, as well as my medium-wide Draft Cross and Thoroughbred. Contrary to what I've read in reviews, the Fish insert system does work...you just can't expect it to make a tree work that is not the correct width in the first place. They are great for minor adjustments. They are easy to pop in and out. One hint- if you have trouble getting a Fish insert out, just hook a hoof pick through the hole in the insert and tug. It will pop out easily. I love the feel of the saddle. The 17.5 fit me, and that is my normal size, but more because of the length of my legs rather than the seat. It put me in the proper position, and the seat is very comfortable. The velour like seat and knee rolls offer exceptional grip and security. I can tell that my mare likes it too by the way she moves freely and with a good attitude when I trail ride her in it. No bucking at the canter! The panels do mold to the shape of the horse. It is very light weight, and you don't have to worry about ruining it in the snow and rain!
Dislikes: One minor complaint. The billet straps are probably never going to wear out, but they are hard to tighten because they are made of a very thick synthetic material. It is a two handed operation if you tighten the girth while mounted. When it was less than 20 degrees outside it was even harder. You definitely should use a girth with roller buckles and elastic ends. Make sure you check the girth after the 20 minutes it takes for the saddle to settle.
Quality: The construction is great, and I think it will last a very long time. For the price, you can't beat it. The Thorowgood website is very good. It offers a good deal of advice about saddle fitting. There is a 3 year guarantee on the materials and workmanship. A 10 year guarantee comes with the saddle tree.
Summary: These saddles are very well made. I never thought I would own a synthetic saddle, but I am sold. It is a great all weather saddle for trail riding. Don't hesitate to buy one.
Author: Diana of Foxtale Farm
Usefulness Rating: 4.25 out of 5.
28 reader(s) voted.
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