Manufacturer: Circle Y
Model: Bob Marshall Sports Saddle
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: I purchased this saddle about 10 years ago and it solved my problem of fitting a fat, round horse. She is half Morgan and half Saddlebred with the primarily Morgan body, but no withers. Talk about an easy keeper. I think she would get fat on straw! We had several western saddles, but none of them fit the two horses we preferred to ride -- both hard to fit. My husband's is an Anglo-Arab with high withers and western saddles slide down immediately. We had several years of wonderful riding with our treeless saddles. The first one fit my mare perfectly so we bought another treeless for my husband and his Anglo-Arab. Unfortunately our horses are now old (30 and 26) and so are we. I'm now disabled and will never ride again, but thanks to the treeless saddles, we were able to enjoy our final years of riding. We got our first horses in our 40's, about 20 years ago, so were real novices. We purchased the saddles on sale at a tack store in Olympia, WA for $899 for the 16 inch smooth leather and $799 for the 15 inch suede. They were both new and are still in like-new condition. We had looked for used, but all the tack stores in this area stated they never got them in. If people got them, they kept them.
Likes: It is light, easy to handle one-handed, fits both our slender, high-withered, slim Anglo-Arab and our round, fat, Morgan-Saddlebred. We LOVE the close contact with the horse and the feeling of security. The saddle hugs your buttocks and makes it much more difficult to fall off, even for a klutz like me. I am short-legged and long-bodied, so my center of gravity is high and I fall off easily. Prior to purchasing these saddles I fell off pretty much every time I rode. One ride I fell off three times. Always got back on, but it was so much more fun when I didn't fall anymore. I had such close contact with my horse I could feel her muscle action and know her intentions, and correct naughty behavior, before it happened. You can ride for hours and have no saddle sores, just the leg spread thing, which with my mare and my short legs... you get the idea. I'm a living cartoon. Also on the plus side, if you are riding in the cold, you get more heat from your horse through the saddle so you stay warmer. Big plus in cold weather.
Dislikes: My only complaint is that in the heat of summer -- 100 degrees or so, you do feel the heat of the horse more than in a regular saddle because of the close contact. However, if you frequently give your horse a break, which you should anyway in that heat, it isn't as noticeable. The suede can give you a wet seat after a few hours of heat, but not the leather.
Quality: Remember, I'm a novice and don't know the technical terms. You have the look of a western saddle without the weight. Unless a person lifts the saddle, or you bend it in the middle to show them, no-one knows it is treeless. The hookups are just as secure, it has a horn, plenty of rings front and back to attach bags or what have you, thick, soft fleece underside. We use a thin blanket underneath simply to keep the fleece clean. I had no trouble mounting from a block (short-leg syndrome) and my husband also had no trouble mounting (he's 6'8" with a 16 hand horse).
Summary: I would recommend this saddle to anyone. It would be wonderful for someone older who can no longer heft a regular saddle onto a horse, or for a handicapped person, someone who has MS or a child because of the security of the hugging buttocks and the reduced danger of falling off. I believe this was originally designed for barrel racers, and I can certainly understand why they would benefit from it's security features.
Author: Pat Kasprowski
Usefulness Rating: 3.4 out of 5.
10 reader(s) voted.
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