I'm a pleasure rider and currently ride my OTTB in a Thorowgood all purpose saddle. I have him boarded out, but I have 2 other horses at home with me. I'd like to start bringing my appy back into work, and might have the oppurtunity to purchase a Thorowgood Endurace saddle from a friend. What are the main differences between the 2 types of saddles? I've always ridden in either an AP saddle, or my Circle Y Park and Trail western saddle. Will the flaps on the endurance saddle be longer or the same as the AP saddle?
You may be able to move the stirrups forward or back with the endurance saddle. It's a nice advantage to the longer rides (more comfortable seat position) or alternating leg position (especially of you post/two-point) to help with leg, knee, & back fatigue.
I have the Thorowgood endurance model, and I don't think you can move the stirrups forward or back. That being said, I like the stirrup position on this saddle a lot -- it really lets me get my leg under me. Looking at the AP model on the website, the main differences I see in the endurance model are in the flaps (longer and straighter), seat (deeper and cushier), and panels (broader, for a wider contact area with the horse's back). It has the same adustable billets and movable knee blocks as the AP model.
I love this saddle -- I do 50-mile endurance rides in it with no extra sheepskin covers or gel seat savers. It's super comfortable.
Endurance saddles (the English type, anyway) are often similar in flap set and balance to a dressage saddle (a lot of my endurance and ct riders use dressage saddles, in fact). Most trail-specific saddles will have more foam in the seat and plenty of dee rings.
One caveat I will make about some endurance saddles (and this may be of no consequence unless your Tb is quite short-backed): the extended panels used on some saddles - the purpose is to spread the rider's weight over as large a surface as possible - can extend past T18 and, in some cases, jab the horse in the loin. This often happens with the shorter-backed horses (Arabs, mustangs, some Morgans) carrying bigger riders who need larger seats. Extended panels on horses whose backs sweep up to the croup can cause the "jab" I mentioned; they can also cause the saddle to bridge. I don't know if the Thorowgood endurance model has extended panels, or if they'd cause problems with your horse ... but wanted to throw it out there, just in case.
This is a very informative thread for me, thank you! I am just thinking about looking into maybe starting to condition for a 25 miler. I have an AP saddle that I love and fits my horse and me well. Are there many of you endurance riders out there who use an AP, or whatever saddle you already use for other riding pursuits? In other words, should I be safe getting my toes wet with what I've got, or is there some reason/caution why using a good-fitting AP would be a bad idea. TIA.
The Thorowgood endurance saddle's flaps are a bit straighter and longer than the AP model, but not as much as in a dressage saddle. I was actually using a dressage saddle (Wintec Isabell) before I got mine, and one of the things I liked about the Thorowgood endurance is that the flaps are shorter than a dressage saddle -- I'm 5'3" and there's plenty of my leg below the bottom of the flaps (see here).
Regarding the panels, they're actually quite short, to the point where I ended up getting a custom saddle pad because most endurance pads were too long. My horse is short-backed and sway-backed, and has prominent withers set well back, so a short saddle was a priority for us -- the longer the saddle, the more bridging we had.