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Synthetic Endurance Saddles for Thoroughbreds

4092 Views 13 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  4horses
I'm looking for a synthetic endurance saddle for my shark finned thoroughbred. I need something that will hold up in hard riding, but supple enough to allow my horse to move freely. I like the idea of treeless saddles, but I don's know how well they will hold up doing intense riding. I plan on doing some endurance races but mostly long riding with my horse. Long riding includes riding for more or less 20 miles a day with a few days rest each week. I also need it to be a close contact and completely synthetic saddle. I know this is pretty specific but has anyone got any suggestions?
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Tekna saddles are good but probably won't fit larger riders- they added a cutback for the withers but this moves the pommel nearer to the riders pelvis. I love their dressage saddle. I haven't tried the close contact.

Wintec English saddles probably won't fit a shark fined horse. Their western saddles are very nice. I have 2 in fact. One is up for sale, if you know anyone interested. They might work with a cutback pad. I can post the trot in mine, and it puts the rider in a good position. My wintec western is 15 years old and has held up better than leather and will probably last another 20 or 30 years.

Thorowgoods- that might be a good choice, if you can find one.

Most of the endurance riders i know ride in dressage saddles. Maybe it is a regional thing?

I personally can't stand any of the treeless saddles out there. I need a saddle with a twist, that supports the rider at a trot. Maybe Ghost saddles?
 

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I'm assuming you're looking for an English style endurance saddle since you said close contact?

What's your price range?

As far as synthetic English styles go I think your options are Wintec and Thorowgood. From what I understand the Thorowgood are the best for high withers, they have several models that are designed just for horses shaped like that. They have changeable gullets like Wintecs so you can adjust a little as your horse grows. They make some leather models and some synthetic models.

If you were wanting a western style Endurance saddle Abetta and Big Horn make them. I have an Abetta that works really well on my wide APHA mare but I don't think any of their trees are really great for high withers.

As far as treeless goes there are tons of endurance riders who do 1000's of miles in them so I don't necessarily agree with your thought that they wont hold up to intense riding. From what I understand the Bob Marshall's aren't great for high withers due to their shape. I have a Ghost that I bought mainly for my very narrow high withered Arab but I don't have much of a review on it yet because I haven't even tried it on him since I only got it 2 weeks ago and we're in the middle of rifle hunting season here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks 4horses! I actually have a Thorowgood dressage saddle which fits my horse beautifully and is lovely for dressage but isn't suitable for long rides as it can get a bit uncomfortable for the rider. I'll check out Tekna and Wintec but I'm a bit wary of some western saddles as my thoroughbred is pretty fine-boned and sometimes western saddles can be a bit big on him.
 

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I hated the Wintec Western, most uncomfortable, poor fitting saddle I have ever ridden in!


The Wintec Dressage are very adjustable and fit well. I had a 16.1H shark-fin Appendix and he used a medium gullet in my Wintec Pro Dressage. I also used a Circle C endurance saddle on him and that worked great. (no horn but a medium western-style tree. It is not 100% synthetic there is some leather on it but very lightweight.


Both the saddles I have for sale, The Wintec Pro is size 17.5 with CAIR and adjustable gullet. The Circle C is a size 15 (in western sizing)


I currently use a Barefoot Treeless but it is all leather and my horse loves it. I don't ride endurance because my horse is just not fast enough, but know lots of endurance riders that use treeless...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
QueenofFrance08, thanks for responding, I'll look into Wintec and Thorowgood and experiment with my current Thorowgood saddle. Do you have any suggestions for treeless saddles however? I don't have any experience with them but I've seen very mixed reviews about them, some people love them and some people hate them.
 

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@ScottyEndurance @AnitaAnne who posted above will tell you about her Barefoot Saddles which she loves. I've seen a lot of them in endurance, there's a really tall narrow Quarter Horse who has over 3000 LD miles (so you can imagine how long that took reaching 3000 miles in rides of 25-30 miles!) who goes in a Barefoot. I looked a lot at them and really considered them. They have what they call VPS (Vertebrae Protection System) which helps with weight distribution more than a lot of the older style treeless saddles.
@greentree rides (and rode endurance in) a Bob Marshall so she can tell you about those!

I went with a Ghost for a few reasons.

1. They have panels similar to the VPS system that Barefoot uses for weight distribution. Technically you don't need a special pad (special aka expensive) due to this system and they're better for riders who aren't featherweights (aka me, a light to middle weight depending on my tack weight)
2. They have thigh blocks that do a seriously good job of keeping you on. My mare is 6 and has her opinion of how we do things and she likes to trot down hills a lot and I wanted to be sure I would stay in (coming from western saddles) and my other horses are all a little green or spooky so this was important to me.
3. Adjust-ability, you can change it to fit different size horses by changing the position of the velcroed on panels. Good when you have a 14.1 stock horse and a 15.2 Egyptian Arab!
4. Got a great deal on a used one! (Although if you buy new it's still very reasonably priced and you can pick your style and material which includes lots of synthetic options)

Like I said I haven't tried it much (just a 6 mile ride on my mare) since I've only had it a few weeks but it was insanely comfortable. I have trouble on rides where we are walking with knee pain and since DH was riding a green horse on her first trail ride that day the 6 miles was 75% walking and I had no issues at the end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
QueenofFracence08, thanks, I'll check out the Ghost saddles, they sound great! Do you know if you can try out the saddle for a few days and then send it back without having to buy it? My horse has only ever been ridden in treed saddles so I don't know how he'd like a treeless saddle.
 

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Yep, are you in the US? The west coast dealer is Badlands Equine (badlandsequine.com) and they do a 10 day demo for $100 (which is shipping both ways) and a security deposit. There's a new east coast dealer (gallopinggrape.com) who does free trials I believe for anyone in her region and "just pay shipping" trials for anyone not in her states.
 

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I actually have a Thorowgood dressage saddle which fits my horse beautifully and is lovely for dressage but isn't suitable for long rides as it can get a bit uncomfortable for the rider.
What part(s) of you is this saddle bothering? We may be able to help you trouble shoot ways to make the saddle you already have work for you, too.

Personally, we have Arabian Saddle Company Rubicons (which are sort of a hybrid between all purpose english and dressage saddles), a Pandora (which is synthetic, but not english - would likely be adjustable to a high withered horse though), and my catch ride saddle is a Torsion treeless.

Welcome to the forum!
 

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Anita Ann- what kind of horse did you use the wintec western on?

I've used mine on 4-5 hour rides and find it comfortable. I can post the trot in it and it puts me in the right position. I used it on my appendix mare with high withers until she was retired. Now i use it on gaited ponies and it seems to fit well. It doesn't fit my paint mare or foxtrotter though but both are wide built with withers.

i have not had any luck with wintec English saddles fitting any of my horses right. But my friend had a percheron and wide/round welsh pony and it fit her horses fine.
 
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