Manufacturer: Bob Marshall
Model: Endurance saddle
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: I have an 50 mile Arab who always fussed about his saddle, ducked his head constantly, and usually had a sore back. When he started making saddle face too, I borrowed a friends Bob Marshall for a month to try it out. After a month's use, I bought it for $950, fully rigged. Thanks Pam!
Likes: As with all treeless saddles (that I've seen), the center line of the saddle is not raised at all, so an excellent blanket with pads is needed to keep the saddle off the spine. I use the Equipedic with one inch memory foam inserts, and it seems fine. I always ensure that the centers are aligned to keep the saddle off his spine.
Interestingly, there is NO slippage problem on the Arab, but there is some slippage on a much wider flatter horse that we tried it on. This horse is notorious for slippage, so its probably only an issue with the widest horses, or with heavy riders during mounting! I use a mounting block, but if forced to remount during the ride, have no problem (140 lbs).
I wondered if the saddle would be deep enough for me, as a deep saddle helps with the Arab tendency to shoot sideways at terrific speeds, but the saddle bends to conform to his back while in use, so it's actually deeper than it looks. Once I got used to it, I felt secure enough.
I tried another Bob Marshall endurance saddle briefly, and the stirrups felt like they were much too forward and swingy, so that is something to watch for. With this particular saddle, the stirrups seemed well placed for endurance.
My Arab prefers this saddle MUCH more than the other (a Wintec Pro Stock Aussie), and his jackhammer qualities softened noticeably with the treeless saddle. The other day, I used the old saddle on him, and the head ducking came right back. We went back to the treeless, and all is well. You can't argue with that!
Dislikes: This Bob Marshall is the endurance model and the leather is of good quality.
The rigging is Western with nylon straps, and my preference is for English rigging. I'm not overly fond of the stirrups, which (being Western) are not easy to adjust and also use nylon straps, rather than leather. The stirrup itself is plastic too, but is wide and deep and is comfortable enough for at least a 25 mile run.
Also, the leather flaps that cover the stirrups are not attractive, and don't match the rest of the saddle. They function well enough though, and I didn't buy it for its looks.
Summary: For the price, I was surprised to see so much nylon, but my horse prefers this saddle, and that means we'll keep it!
I would prefer raised pads under the saddle, so that it didn't sit on the spine, and better rigging, but the comfort is good for both of us. Ideally, I'd like one in equileather (like a Wintec), but the synthetic material may not give enough for a treeless saddle.
See if you can try one out before buying it. If your horse likes it, its probably worth buying!
Usefulness Rating: 3.25 out of 5.
4 reader(s) voted.
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