I'm slowly but surely buying new tack for my first horse, (arab/ dutch wb mare) and I have a jump saddle that fits her well but I'm sort of an eventer in training and eventually I know I'll need a dressage saddle. I don't have a very high budget and Have been looking at this saddle: http://www.doversaddlery.com/t4-dres...rd/p/X1-15754/ (its the Thorowgood t4 standard dressage saddle.) Does anyone own this saddle (or any Thorowgood) and have an opinion on it? what kind of horse would it fit best? it seems a lot "classier" than a wintec but still in that price range, and I like the fitting options. any opinions? Or does any one have any good dressage saddle suggestions? anything helps! thanks.
I have a Thorowgood dressage saddle, for wide-backed horses...had it for about 5 years now. I was on a budget and it was all I could afford. Once I got use to it, I really liked it. Still do, but I use my jumping saddle more...doing a little eventing myself.
If it's What you can afford, go for it. The seat has a great suede on it and really helps you sit deep in the saddle. I have a 14.3 Haflinger, with a wide back and chest. He's never had problems with it, that I know of. I liked mine. Good luck!
It is smart to pay the small fee to have a professional saddle fitter trace your horses back and make suggestions on saddle style. That being said, I test rode in a thorowgood and was surprised at the quality for such an inexpensive saddle. Ultimately, it didn't fit my horse and I didn't find it comfortable to ride in. For me the seat wasn't deep enough and I felt like I was sliding around.
IMO it's not "classier" than a Wintec, in fact as far as synthetic saddles go Wintecs are a lot nicer. I had a Thorowgood and I found it to be unbalanced and cheaply made. I also have a Wintec jumping saddle that has served me well for many years (I don't ride in it any more, I have a Pessoa and a Passier but I still keep it!)
I've bought two used Thorowgood dressage saddles (for $100 each) and really like them. They were made in the days before adjustable trees, so I have a medium and a wide. I haven't used the medium yet (bought it for my new horse but am sidelined with a broken leg)... but the wide fit a few wide horses very well, and I found it very comfortable for long trail rides as well as ring work. It's held up well with several years of use.
I also have a newer close contact Thorowgood (adjustable tree plus fish system). It's OK, but the quality doesn't seem as good as in the older saddles. The pommel was assembled with staples, which have gotten loose. However, since I paid only $200 for it (barely used), I can't really complain. I don't think I'd be happy with it if I'd paid retail though!
In terms of how they compare with Wintecs... I like the styling of the Wintec Isabel and Pro saddles. However, I've seen some that look pretty worn out after a few years of use.
I've heard good things about the Techna (sp?) saddles but haven't seen them. Supposedly they are well made and look more like leather than other synthetics do. But I guess time will tell in respect to their durability....
I have the high wither T-8 and I like it a lot. I was looking for an inexpensive interim dressage saddle to use on my new underweight, shark finned withered TB as he gained weight and muscle.
The horse and I both like the saddle. He's put on a lot of weight as well as some muscle. He will eventually be changing gullets and I found that to be a great feature of the saddle as well as the wool flocking.
I tried both the T6 and the T8. I found the T6 fine when I tried it, but then I tried the T8 (much of it leather) and the T8 had a much nicer feel to it. The T8 also looks like a regular leather saddle to the casual viewer.
I had the Hastilow rep come out to do my saddle fitting.
I haven't tried the T4 or the Wintecs so I can't say how those feel.
Thoroughgoods have changed a lot in the last 3 years or so. I sat in the new dressage saddle yesterday at the shop (T8?). It has leather seat and knee sections and is a very nice looking saddle. Much nicer looking than the Wintec Pro I used to have. It was very comfortable and felt balance. The T4 is an older model. The TG's have a fairly flat tree front to back.
FYI, TG, Fairfax, and Kent & Masters saddles all use the same tree, made in Walsall, England. All owned by the same guy. Fairfax was the leather version of the TG. Fairfax is now being discontinued and they are going to morph it into something else to try and make it a higher end saddle they can charge more for. The Kent & Masters will be the new Fairfax. I have their new K&M dressage saddle on trial right now, exactly the same as the Fairfax, but with a smooth flap and velcro knee blocks beneath instead of the Fairfax's external blocks, which I did not like. The K&M is lovely, very comfortable, fits my TB with giant long withers BEAUTIFULLY. I think I'm going to keep it after trying Passier, Prestige, Verhan, Kottas, Baines, Albion and heavens knows what else.
But that's the story on those three -- can you tell I'm saddles shopping, LOL?
PS The TG's also have longer gullet points with longer tree points in the dressage saddles -- so they do not create the pressure points of the shorter tree points that always plagued me with the Wintec (and yes, I work with a fitter).