Marcel Toulouse saddles
I am looking for a new saddle because my Circuit Close Contact is leaving dry spots on my horse's back. I am considering the Marcel Toulouse saddles. (I am a hunt seat rider.)
A few questions...
1) Do they seem to fit a wide range of horses? Do they fit horses well? (Mine is a high withered QH needing a medium tree.)
2) Are they comfortable for the rider? (I am tall with long legs but only need a 16.5 inch seat.)
3) Which of these would you most recommend and why?-Annice, Celine, Dennise, Jennine, Laura B, Natina, Premia
Also, isn't it better to have a wool flocked saddle because it can be adjusted by a saddle fitter? Do any of these have a wool or a wool/foam mix?
Thanks so much for your advice!
1) This is pretty much impossible to answer, as every horse needs to be fit individually and no saddle will fit all horses, MTs fit my high-withered Thoroughbred well.
2) Mine is definitely comfortable for long-legged riders. I'm 5'10", and most of my height is from my femur, and the flaps (17.5" seat) are forward enough to accommodate my legs.
3) I sat in most of these models, but I own a Celine. Love it and definitely recommend it.
They are foam flocked, so there's not much adjustability, which is definitely something to consider.
1) It depends, but I have a very hard-to-fit TB (not necessarily tall withers, but LONG withers). Out of everything I tried, the two MT saddles I put on him fit him the best (Premia M tree and Laura B Genesis [adjustable] tree).
2) I ended up buying the Laura B, and I LOVE it. It's very comfortable, and everyone who has sat in my saddle agrees!
3) Like I said, I tried the Premia and Laura B. The Premia was comfortable, but I didn't feel like it was anything to write home about. The Laura B is great.
If I might make a suggestion: Visit Classic Saddlery - Quality English Horse Tack & Horse Supplies for the Equestrian. and talk to Lynnda. I found a recommendation on here for them, and I am SO glad I called her! She was incredibly helpful at talking to me about my horse and myself, and from there she was able to make a good suggestion for me. Plus she has a lot of clearance MT saddles that were samples and such, so they're brand new for a great price!
Something else to note: I use my saddle with a Thinline half pad. Since I don't have the budget for a custom-fit saddle, this pad gives me a little extra peace of mind. It's a great pad. I absolutely love it!
I have the Denisse, I was told it has the longest flap on any of the close contact M Toulouse models..
I do find it puts me in a weird position. If I go back to my old Crosby xl which I -LOVE- and is much higher quality in my opinion.. My equitation goes back to near perfect. In the Denisse, I almost have a chair seat, and have to fight myself to put my legs back a bit further. It's not that big of a deal, and it's the only saddle that I've found that fits me and my horse aside of the minor chair seat.
But, I mainly use this saddle on my OTTB, where I kinda tense up. When I use it on my other seasoned horse, I can easily fix the chair seat, as long as I keep thinking about it, if that makes sense.
It's got non-movable knee and thigh blocks which I find to be a pain.
I'm very tall and thin 5'7 110 pounds, so I only -need- a 16/16.5 seat. But even with a long flap, most saddles didn't fit me so I went with a 17.5 Denisse.. I had a real struggle with finding a saddle that fit, and I didn't even set a price limit..
I have MT Claudine (I'm tall/long legged and it fits me well). It feels very comfortable and sticky to the bum (unlike some other saddles I tried). Also put me in a correct position.
The only note, I tried several models, and they all seem to run more narrow (I use wide on my paint, while my Thornhill is medium).
I have the M Tolouse Premia w/Genesis that fits both my horses very well (1/2 Arabian x 1/2 Appendix quarter horse) and (Cleveland Bay x Thoroughbred) - very different builds and comfortable for both horses. Nice sticky leather that's comfortable for me as well. This saddle is actually my daughter's saddle and I plan on buying my own. I know there are other more expensive saddles out there but I'm sold on the M. Tolouse for now.
I have an M Toulouse Jennine with the Genesis tree, and I really like it. It fits my moderately stout QH mare, which can be challenging to find in an English saddle. It is an acceptable fit on my Welsh/Arab cross, but I think the forward flap gets in the way on such a small horse, so I usually use a youth dressage saddle on her instead. I've had the saddle for about 6 months now, and it seems to be holding up well so far, and it's much more comfortable than the old Passier I was riding in, and the Collegiates my university used. I think the Genesis tree is great, but you should still try to find somewhere that will let you test out the saddle, because even an adjustable tree won't fit every horse. If I had bought this saddle for only my Welsh/Arab mare, I'd have been disappointed. If there's no tack store near you that does that, some online tack stores like SmartPak allow test rides for a small fee. It's definitely worth it when you're talking about an $1800 commitment.
I haven't owned one myself but know several people who have had them. The general consensus has been pretty mixed, some like them, some don't. They tend to put you in more of a chair seat, but again of course it depends on the person riding and the way they are built. I've seen it more than a few times with these saddles so I don't think it's strictly the rider. The majority of people I know who've had them have had to sell them on to buy something that actually fits their horse, the foam flocking is not adjustable at all, as opposed to wool which you can reflock and adjust. You are definitely limited with the foam flocking. They either fit or they don't, there's no middle ground there really. So what fits your horse now may not fit a year down the road, etc. Something to think about.
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