Close Contact Saddles
Manufacturer: Tad Coffin
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle from a tack shop in my area just this fall for $2,400, marked down from $3,000, with two TC leather pads included. I think the saddles, custom from Tad, retail at about $4,200+. I felt I got a great deal on the saddle, as it was in phenomenal condition, and it is seven years old.
Likes: Where to start! First of all it is, hands down, the best saddle on the market today for hunter/jumper. There are no exceptions, really. My horse was one of the unfortunate ones to come down with the Equine Herpes disease this summer (West Coast) at a horse show, and because it is neurological it really screwed up her back. Now that she's better (thank God), I got my Tad, and I noticed an enormous difference in the comfort and movement of her back with my Tad than the Butet I was using. Her stride opened up a bunch, and she just feels looser and more natural, not trapped by the saddle anymore. She's been having chiropractic adjustments too, but the Tad really helped her back out. The Tad Coffin saddles have a great technology in the panels that really improves the soundness of horses' backs. It's a really nice, slim looking saddle that works well, AND looks fabulous on your horse(s). Another thing I love about Tads is how versatile they are. They are meant to be used with the Tad Coffin leather pads, so you can really adjust fit. My Thoroughbred (who is pretty standard for a TB) uses a medium thick pad, and it fits really well. Over fences it gently guides you leg to the right place, and keeps it there. Also, the billets are nice and long, easily mistaken for being weak, but that is not the case. The billets are strong, with lots of holes for easy adjustment and a perfect fit. I love the hole at the very bottom of the billet (real low down) for horses that bloat up. I feel very proud to put my Tad Coffin on my horse's back.
Dislikes: I suppose the seat is a tad harder than in other saddles, but it really isn't bad. After about three weeks in my Tad I got used to the seat difference, and I really don't notice it anymore. Plus, in 2006 Tad Coffin updated the seat (and the saddle, it is called the A52) so it is more comfortable. If you buy a new one, or get a used one from that time, you'll get a softer seat. If you don't it is really not a big deal. You'll spend a few weeks getting used to it, but after that its no big deal.
It is a more expensive saddle, but you definitely are getting your money's worth. If the soundness of your horse's back means ANYTHING to you, you wouldn't get any other saddle.
Quality: Fantastic. The leather is as smooth as butter and wears well. There are about 10 Tad Coffin's at my barn, so trust me here when I talk about quality more than someone who's seen only one Tad, there is not ONE saddle with permanent scratches, leather damage, loose stitching or any problem with construction or quality whatsoever. Even my trainer's saddle, which gets used for about fifty or more rides per week, and is about four years old, is in excellent condition. I have nothing bad to say about the construction or quality of this unit, and frankly, I don't really believe many of the problems I do hear. Unless you or a previous owner has really done something out of the ordinary, whether accidental or on purpose to the saddle, you won't have a quality problem.
Summary: There are a few things I would like to make clear here.
I've read all the other Tad Coffin reviews, and really there are only about 3 I find accurate, so I wanted to clear some things up, and respond to what other's have written.
In one of the articles, it states that the medium tree is too wide for a Thoroughbred. Yes, it is, without the leather pad that Tad Coffins need to fit your horse! If you use the leather pad, you will NOT encounter this problem. My horse is a Thoroughbred and the medium tree has been just dandy for me. This article also says they only rode in the saddle for a few days. If it didn't really work for them, great, but I don't think you can establish a fully correct opinion after about three rides and one saddle. Give it time.
Another article says that the pommel is too low, resulting in you being encouraged to the habit of jumping ahead. Honestly, if you don't jump ahead, you shouldn't need something pressing you in the crotch to stop you! If you are at the point where you do need that, you do have a jumping ahead problem, and frankly, you shouldn't need a saddle to stop you. A saddle isn't going to be the deciding factor between jumping ahead or not. Period.
I think there are some horses that are special-needs for saddle fitting, and a saddle can't fit every horse. Buying used, it is harder to fit perfectly. Unless you buy custom, don't expect a perfect fit.
Overall, I don't think there is a better saddle that the Tad Coffin. You will not be disappointed, so long as you are patient and flexible.
Author: da tad is da bomb
Usefulness Rating: 3.4569 out of 5.
116 reader(s) voted.
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