Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Beautiful Pacific Northwest
• Horses: 0
My review of my Thorowgood T8 Compact
When I was looking for this saddle, I couldn't find a review of it anywhere online, so I'm posting my review of it in case anyone else is interested.
Background: I worked with Happy Horse Tack in Fort Collins, CO to determine which saddle would be the best fit for me. They were wonderfully helpful, and very knowledgable, and we got it right with the first demo they sent me.
I have the following saddle:
T8 Compact GP, in brown, 17.5" seat, and extra D-rings added at the factory, since I trail ride and need all the D-rings I can get. This saddle does have the adjustable gullet bars. The flap on the Compact isn't quite as forward as on the regular GP model.
Rider fit: I'm 5'9, 140 pounds, with a 34" inseam. Fits me like a glove. Very supportive, but leaves me room to move around and shift my position. I feel very balanced, and my leg is in a great, correct equitation position. It has enough padding that I don't get a sore bummy on long rides, but not so much that I can't communicate with the horse through the seat.
Horse fit: The Compact has a slightly shorter tree than the other models. It uses the same tree as the dressage saddle. I've had it on an Arab and a National Showhorse. They required different gullet plates, but I got a good fit for both horses. Both horses moved comfortably and unrestricted. I don't think the panel shape would fit well on a horse without a somewhat flat back, as the panels are gusseted.
Features: The leather is butter-soft and not slick. The synthetic seems more flexible than what I've seen on most synthetic saddles. Hope it holds up. Billets have adjustable positions. Both knee and calf blocks are adjustable and removable. The gullet plates are pretty easy to change out, and you don't have to feel like you're reefing on the tree to get them in. the plate seems to change the whole rail width and not just the width of the front of the saddle. The panels are wool-flocked and are smooth and soft.
My only dislike is that the brown is a bit dark. It's really dark. I thought they'd made a mistake and sent me a black one at first.