Manufacturer: Crosby (View all products by Crosby)
Model: Mark VI (View all Mark VI reviews)
Category: All Purpose Saddles
Purchase: I've been riding in a Mark VI for 26 years and will never buy anything else. When I purchased by first Mark VI from Libertyville Saddle Shop I paid about $350.00. Crosby stopped making this saddle years ago and I've purchased about 10 of them (for myself and my students) over the last 25 years. I never pay more than $350.00 on Ebay.
Likes: The most important feature of the Mark VI is its cut-back pommel, which makes it ideal for high withered horses and horses with unusually shaped withers. It also fits wide or even "mutton" withered horses because it is such a close contact saddle with very little interior blockage. It seems to open up on wide horses, but will lay off the withers on narrow ones! It fits almost every horse that's come through my barn in the last 20 years, including the horses that are "hard to fit!" I also love the Crosby detail, including the strong, tiny stitches all around, the ample billet guards, the low pommel (say goodbye to hitting your pubic bone painfully on the front of the saddle), and its lightness. The Mark VI is easy to sling around with one hand, and young riders can heft it easily onto the back of even a tall school horse. And finally--it's very, very comfortable.
Dislikes: My only complaint about the Mark VI (which holds true for all the Crobsys, and most other leather saddles) is that if a saddle is ridden in by a rider wearing blue jeans (or any pants with the heavy, fold-over inner leg seams)the seat will begin to crack and will eventually need to be replaced. It can be difficult to find a competent saddle maker to replace the seat affordably.
Quality: The Mark VI is a simple saddle, originally called a "combination" saddle, with no knee or thigh rolls. In addition to the cut back pommel, the cantle is rounded, which now is referred to as an "all purpose" saddle. It could be argued that this is a saddle for an event rider, but I ride jumpers in it (as well as hunters, some dressage, trail riding, and I safely break babies in it as well). It has always been "enough" saddle for the big, fast fences and turns in the jumper classes, but light and unobtrusive enough for the hunters, and very supportive when a baby gets bucking around the turns!
Summary: I think the Crosby Mark VI is the most useful and under-rated saddle available today. It's considered an "old-timer" because they don't make them anymore, but each one is a treasure and a find. And you can't beat the prices, which seem to be always under $500.00. Comfort for both horse and rider, and quality workmanship!
Author: Susie Whelpley
Usefulness Rating: 4.7973 out of 5.
74 reader(s) voted.
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