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View Full Version : Tekna vs. Thorowgood - help me decide



meaty ogre
Feb. 20, 2011, 11:16 PM
I am leaning heavily towards a synthetic dressage saddle. I'm not ruling out the wintecs, but there are some features on the Tekna and Thorowgood that make them frontrunners at the moment.

I was pretty much set on the Tekna because I like the look of it, and I like that the tree can be adjusted, and that they are flocked (again, adjustability). However, I have heard that they are introducing a model with a changeable gullet later this year. So, do I wait until it comes out? The reviews I have seen for Tekna have all been positive, but it hasn't been out very long at all.

Then I stumbled across a Thorowgood in my searches. They have a ton of features (shims, adjustable gullet, adjustable girthing system, wool flocked). The reviews I've found for them seem to be pretty positive too.

In my price range, I could hold out and try to get a used leather saddle, but mostly what I find in my range are older saddles with features that I am trying to avoid (like narrower channels or banana panels). If anyone can help me weigh the pros and cons I would really appreciate it.

arabiansrock
Feb. 21, 2011, 12:25 AM
I havenn't sat in a tekna so I can't address that one but I own a thorowgood T4. They are very adjustable, good quality, good workmanship. they also have a pretty wide twist, and the seat is pretty shallow, not even medium deep really. With that said, I feel very secure in mine because the seat balance is very correct, I can be where I want to be without fighting. Also be aware, like most synthetics, they squeek when you are wearing boots.

FWIW the tree in the thorowgood is getting very popular, it is also in Kent and Masters, fairfax, and Hastilow concept saddles.

good luck with your decision

alto
Feb. 21, 2011, 02:04 AM
I looked at the Tekna's last summer - it's noticeably heavier than most of it's contemporaries; the adjustment needs to be done by a specialist (none of my local saddle fitters have the machinery); the tree was too curvy for FP so didn't actually try the saddle.

Have you spoken with the techinical rep for Tekna about the new saddles?

Sabovee
Feb. 21, 2011, 08:14 AM
Tekna hands down.
Cheapest place is Cheshire Horse in NH - $525 for the dressage saddle. Email and see if you can get a trial saddle as well!

To me the Tekna is a real saddle, the Thorowgoods are very visibly synthetic (and made painfully aware when you ride in one).

KarenC
Feb. 21, 2011, 11:25 AM
I just purchased a Thorowgood T6 dressage and really like it - although I've always been a fan of the Thorowgoods. The billeting system is infinitely adjustable which is important to me because one of my mares has a very forward girth groove. I think they are much better made saddles than the Wintecs (which I have also owned). It is working really well for me; however, it is not a deep saddle (which is good for me); it gives more of a close contact feel which I love (the balance is very good, which makes a big difference). If you prefer more support from your saddle, you might not like the Thorowgood.

(FYI, this is a standard model - I've had the broadback model in the past and the twist on that stucker was so wide it felt as if it had no shape).

meaty ogre
Feb. 21, 2011, 12:14 PM
Oh, jeez now I'm really torn.

I actually have a Kent & Masters synthetic saddle that I love, so if it shares design features with the Thorowgood I'm betting I will like it. I do prefer a shallower seat for the most part. I am not a fan of huge thigh blocks (mine are built in to my ample thighs :lol: but I think the blocks are velcro and removeable on both the Tekna and Thorowgood).

Oh, what to do now. The Thorowgood I've found cheapest. But the Tekna prices may go down when they roll out the new model with the changeable gullet. And I do think the Tekna is prettier. The wide twist on the Thorowgood could be problematic.

I've found surfboard type wax to be very helpful with the boot/synthetic saddle squeak in case that helps anyone. A very light application to both boot top and saddle maintains the grip but eliminates the squeak.

kcmel
Feb. 21, 2011, 02:23 PM
I have a thorowgood. I like its looks and it fits my horses pretty well. I don't like the wide twist. It's ok for schooling in the ring, but horrible for hacking out. I'm also intrigued by the Teknas and will be interested in hearing more feedback.

TBDressage916
Feb. 21, 2011, 10:11 PM
I LOVE my tekna. Yes its synthetic, yes it cost $500, but it makes me feel like I'm riding like the cool girls with the expensive saddles. It makes my life so much easier because it puts me in the right spot without fighting, and it fits my mare with a curvy back really well. I do find that it does sometimes squeek (the dead giveaway that I'm riding in a generic i guess!) but that is my only complaint. I might try the surfboard wax that was suggested to see if that helps.

alto
Feb. 22, 2011, 12:13 AM
A friend has an Hermes & it squeaks too :winkgrin:

BetterOffRed
Feb. 22, 2011, 12:17 AM
I LOVE my tekna. Yes its synthetic, yes it cost $500, but it makes me feel like I'm riding like the cool girls with the expensive saddles. It makes my life so much easier because it puts me in the right spot without fighting, and it fits my mare with a curvy back really well. I do find that it does sometimes squeek (the dead giveaway that I'm riding in a generic i guess!) but that is my only complaint. I might try the surfboard wax that was suggested to see if that helps.

Sat in one a couple of weeks ago. Gorgeous saddle. I am a Prestige fan and that is why the tack shop owner showed it to me. I really like the feel I got sitting in it. Those are all the reasons I would like the Tekna.

For the squeek, squirt some talcom powder in it, it will go away.

meaty ogre
Feb. 22, 2011, 11:20 AM
For the squeaking, powder for under the flaps or anywhere that it is rubbing that is not visible; surfboard or similar type of wax is for the squeaking that is caused by your leather boot against the flap (where you want to maintain grip and not have white baby powder visible!).

Thanks for all the input guys. This has been very helpful even though I still have no idea which one to pick. The wide twist of the Thorowgood is off-putting, but the shims and the adjustable gullet would be ideal because I think I could make it work on both of my horseses (not changing gullet every time, but with the fish or shims or whatever they're called...those are easy to slip in and out, right?).

But, the Tekna looks so nice. I wonder if the price will drop when they roll out the changeable gullet ones.

I guess I should just be happy that I have 2 decent choices even at my very limited budget! I just wish I could find a tack shop that stocked both. I may have to call around and see who offers them on trial.

myhorsefaith
Feb. 22, 2011, 11:23 AM
So I emailed Tekna yesterday wanting to know when I could purchase their white dressage boots, and also to find out when the changeable gullet would be available.

They forwarded me to their US rep, who wrote me right away:


Thank you for your interest in the Tekna line.

The dressage boots are due to hit the US mid-March.

We are hoping to have the exchangeable gullet at the end of this year or early 2012.


:D:D:D

BigHorseLittleHorse
Feb. 22, 2011, 12:48 PM
Thanks for all the input guys. This has been very helpful even though I still have no idea which one to pick. The wide twist of the Thorowgood is off-putting, but the shims and the adjustable gullet would be ideal because I think I could make it work on both of my horseses (not changing gullet every time, but with the fish or shims or whatever they're called...those are easy to slip in and out, right?).

The fish inserts are easy to put in and take out. The gullet can be changed out, but not easily -- my saddle fitter did it for me, and it took her quite a while. After having watched her do it, I could probably do it myself, but I wouldn't want to do it on a regular basis.

If you like the features of the Thorowgood, I would suggest sitting in one yourself to evaluate the twist - what one person calls really wide may be ok for someone else... I rode in a borrowed Wintec Isabell for a year and felt like I was riding a barrel, even though others have said it has a narrow twist, and now I have a Thorowgood T4 (endurance model) and the twist feels much narrower to me.

LaLuna
Feb. 22, 2011, 01:41 PM
The older Thorowgoods are AMAZING. I think the T6 is the best one, but you have to special order them and getting a hold of one is HELL.

I just tried out the new Teknas and I LOVE them. They were my first choice saddle when I saved up enough, but I found a Wintec for practically nothing so I just went ahead and bought it.

arabiansrock
Feb. 22, 2011, 01:42 PM
regarding how easy/hard it is to change the gullets in the thorowgoods, it is very easy. Much easier and faster than the Wintecs. My son can do mine in 5 mins total one out, new one in and sealed up ready to go. The first time is the hardest, but after that it gets much easier because you know what you are doing. Truly don't be afraid to tackle it.

meaty ogre
Feb. 22, 2011, 02:02 PM
Ok, so I know the Cheshire Horse in NH allows trials of the Teknas, but does anyone know of a retailer that does trials on thorowgoods. Dover saddlery has them but they are not on the test ride list.

I think I'm going to have to order both and try. (Wish me luck on beating Mr. MO home so I can hide TWO saddle boxes! :) )

BigHorseLittleHorse
Feb. 22, 2011, 05:28 PM
I got mine from Annette at Hastilow USA (http://www.hastilowusa.com/). She is fairly local to my area, so she came out and did a saddle fitting and then let me keep it on trial for a bit. Not sure what their policy is if you're not local... I think Thorowgood's website also has a list of US dealers. Their site seems to be down at the moment so I can't check.

asterix
Feb. 22, 2011, 05:32 PM
I got a Thorowgood from a place in North Carolina on trial -- they were very nice (didn't fit horse, but...)...let me see if I can find them in my email...
mmtackshop.com
-- email saddles@mmtackshop.com

arabiansrock
Feb. 22, 2011, 05:32 PM
Try Hastilow Competition Saddles USA. They carry Thorowgoods. You will have to ask about their trial policy, but I am working with them on my "bench made saddle" and Annette is very nice (even tho I am having trouble on my saddle, they have said they will remake it so it should all be good). But... you need to talk to her in person, she is very minimalist in what she communicates via email.
She is also a master saddle fitter. She is in the UK right now tho, am not sure what day she is due back. But her assistant will probably reply to emails in her absence.

I went to the tack store at lunch today specifcally to sit in a Tekna with all this talk about how great they are. So... my impressions for what they are worth. Saddle is very nice looking. I would never confuse it for leather from anything closer than 10 feet, but it is probably the most realistic of the pleather saddles. Fit and finish was great, good tight stitching. Sat in it and decided very quickly that it will not find a place in my tackroom. I found it to stretch my leg down much more than I am comfortable with, and it tipped me onto the front of my seatbones. So it basically put me in the opposite position that my thorowgood did.

I would be willing to bet that people who find the thorowgood comfy will not like the tekna and vice versa. Based on that, I would really suggest that you try both because they are very different in how they seat you.
good luck

TBDressage916
Feb. 22, 2011, 06:13 PM
[QUOTE=arabiansrock;5443578] Sat in it and decided very quickly that it will not find a place in my tackroom. I found it to stretch my leg down much more than I am comfortable with, and it tipped me onto the front of my seatbones. So it basically put me in the opposite position that my thorowgood did.


I'm sure it is a personal thing- but this is what I like about the Tekna, I have a problem falling into a chair seat, so this makes me sit with my thighs stretched down and my seat bones "plugged" into the saddle, it doesn't really force me there, it just places me there and takes away any urge to sneak my thighs up and roll my seat bones under to sit the trot.

arabiansrock
Feb. 22, 2011, 06:47 PM
[QUOTE=arabiansrock;5443578] it just places me there and takes away any urge to sneak my thighs up and roll my seat bones under to sit the trot.

Ah ... see thats the difference, I was TAUGHT to roll my seat bones under to sit, whereas the other school of training teaches to sit on the front point of the seat bones. So that really influences which saddle seat conformation we like.:winkgrin:

meaty ogre
Feb. 22, 2011, 10:32 PM
Very interesting arabiansrock and TBDressage - Can I ask a personal question?

What is your build? (i.e. - are you long and lean or shorter with more ample thighs?)

I understand if you choose to recuse yourself from answering but just wondering if this might affect my decision as well. I have ridden in and own saddles with both narrow and wider twists, and I have deep and flat seats. I think I will probably have to sit in both the Tekna and the Thorowgood to decide but am just curious. Thanks!

MelanieC
Feb. 22, 2011, 11:04 PM
I think it'll depend a lot on your horse's conformation. My Arab has a wide curvy back and the Tekna was recommended to me as more likely to fit than the Thorowgood or Wintec (actually just likely to be a good fit over all). I like the idea of a synthetic saddle but ultimately decided against trying it out (there are no local retailers to me) because the smallest seat size it comes in is a 17" and I really need something smaller.

I have seen the Tekna strap goods and liked them very much.

arabiansrock
Feb. 22, 2011, 11:26 PM
No problem. When I learned how to ride with the trainer who taught me to roll on the back of my seat bones, I was short and thin ( 5 ft 1 in and 110 tops). Now I am still short but now fluffy (still 5 ft 1 in, but pushing 175). My legs are very average length for my height. When I was young and riding warmbloods my trainer told me I looked like a bump on a pickle up there!

My ample derriere certainly is probably one reason why the deeper seated saddles are uncomfortable for me. Hence my devotion to weight watchers before I go looking for a saddle for my new horse! But as TBD poiinted out, I really think themain reason I am not comfortable in them is because there isn't room to "roll back on the seatbones". FWIW my trainer was a man, that may be why I was taught to sit the way I was!!!

Unfortunately for me, I really WANT a deep seated saddle, just can't find one I like. Only ones I am comfortable in are open seats. grrr.

Both saddles are very nice, I am sure you will be happy with whichever one you choose,

TBDressage916
Feb. 23, 2011, 05:33 PM
I'm on the shorter side- about 5'3 and about 125lbs, with shorter legs. So in a perfect world the flaps on the Tekna would be a tad shorter- they hit me about 2 inches below my knee, but I haven't found them to hinder me at all, and actually my mare, who is super sensitive on her sides seems much more comfortable with a little extra length on the flap so she doesn't feel like I'm YELLING at her all the time.

alto
Feb. 23, 2011, 08:22 PM
No problem. When I learned how to ride with the trainer who taught me to roll on the back of my seat bones, I was short and thin ( 5 ft 1 in and 110 tops). Now I am still short but now fluffy (still 5 ft 1 in, but pushing 175). My legs are very average length for my height.

My ample derriere certainly is probably one reason why the deeper seated saddles are uncomfortable for me. I really think themain reason I am not comfortable in them is because there isn't room to "roll back on the seatbones". FWIW my trainer was a man, that may be why I was taught to sit the way I was!!!

Unfortunately for me, I really WANT a deep seated saddle, just can't find one I like. Only ones I am comfortable in are open seats. grrr.



My kid is 5' 4" & 115lb & rides in a 17 1/2 dressage saddle (& that's an older not very deep seat) so maybe try going up in seat size on the saddles you'd like & see if that helps ...

Her coach is maybe an inch taller & 5lbs lighter & she rides in either a 17 1/2 or 18in saddle (again not particularly deep seat) - her coach likes her position better in the 18! he clinics mostly in Europe & complains that most americans ride in saddles that are too small :lol: (but at least they don't argue as much as the germans!)