Reviews / Testimonials
Saddle type: western with A-fork and pencil roll.
When I received my saddle by mail delivery 2.5 years ago, I could not wait to put it on my horse Jack and try it. Surprisingly, the saddle fitted him without any additional need for shimming and so I decided to mount Jack on the spot.
I could not believe the difference I felt at that time between my previous 8 -year old roper and my new specialized saddle.
I had the feeling I was riding bareback ! I could feel every movement of his back and shoulders, every muscle that he was using.
This is what I like the most in my specialized saddle, it is like riding without one.
The soft feeling you have with your horse can only improve the partnership and understanding of his movements and ideas.
And no pain in the a… after hours of riding, the saddle gives you all the comfort you need to stay in all day long (or week long as I did last year when driving cattle in Belgium!).
The saddle still looks very new, although it has been frequently used for more than 2,5 years now. The leather is still soft and strong, just how it should be.
The picture was taken a few days ago on the beach, we are both enjoying the ride.
The first time I saw the little Mustang was at Tall Pines Endurance ride. He and his rider beat us by so many hours that I barely caught a glimpse of them. Reports had it that his front leg really swelled, but since he was not lame, he had not been pulled. His owner had turned him loose to find his own way home. He simply hung out by the road until some compassionate folks caught him and iced his leg.
About a month later, the young owner died in a drowning accident. Cisco ended up with his friends, and they did not get along. When they put him up for sale, they said that he needed an experienced rider. The previous owner had put him with a trainer for a short time because of problems with running away.
I am not brave, but I am determined. One look at his big feet, good bone, strong hip and long trot and I was sold.
The young woman who sold him to me said he liked to bolt for home, do leaps and paw with both front feet when tied. She was right. He tried to lose me in many creative and calculated ways. He succeeded twice.
The first time I tried to saddle him, he tried to bite the saddle. I noticed that he had some white hair on his back, so knew saddle fit would be an issue.
We spent many hours in the round pen and his behavior did improve. What bothered me the most was his unpredictability (sound familiar, Mustang owners?). He seemed to be the most troublesome when ridden hard on the previous day. I tried at least a dozen saddles on him, watching for sweat patterns and experimenting with pads. My western show saddle seemed to be the best, but the skirts are square and rubbed his hip.
I picked the brains of many patient soles and invaded tack stores with a tape measure and chart. A western style endurance saddle seemed to be the right one and I bought some expensive saddle pads for extra insurance.
Things seemed to go better and his behavior was getting quite good, but I could never get completely in sync with him. Then last year at Fort Stanton, he acquired some edema on his back. I had been noticing, also that the muscle along his spine looked different.
Many endurance riders were using Specialized Saddles, and I had been too cheap to consider one, but I had run out of options and I could not continue to hurt this valiant little horse. David agreed to look at his back and kindly told me that his back was very hard to fit being asymmetrical and long and that the muscle on his back had atrophied from the poorly distributed weight. The sick feeling that overcame me then visits me still.
Needless to say, I bought a Western Specialized saddle, wanting the extra security. I cannot believe the difference in the horse and in myself. We are so comfortable! He moves freely and his back muscle has actually filled back in!
In 2008, we completed 495 miles without pulls and won a jacket for the SW region (5th) for my weight division. No big deal for some, but a BIG deal for us. Best money I ever spent….no kidding…and this is coming from a notorious cheapskate.
We finally found that missing intangible…..harmony.
In May it was clear that something was wrong with our 12 yr old gelding, Levi. Vet checked him in the round pen with the western saddle I’ve been using for 4 yrs and determined that was the worst saddle fitting he’s ever seen. I guess to make matters worse I had it too far forward and held in place with a breast collar.
We had him treated for a sore back and shoulders, bought a new western saddle that was fitted to him, but he was still not comfortable when I tried to ride him and would not walk out, so I stopped riding him.
Your clinic was our last hope before taking him to Alamo for a complete check.
When I rode him at your clinic Saturday in the saddle you fitted to him he was like a new horse again to me and was fun to ride, free in the shoulders and trotted great.
I purchased the Trailmaster (without the horn) and rode Sunday for a long ride and had a great time. My old boy is back. The saddle is very comfortable and the way the fenders hang I found it easier to move with the horse on sudden moves he makes.
He used to be so uncomfortable that he would get under himself and jump or buck. I think the saddle we bought has solved a lot of problems for us.
I think the whole experience was good for us and Levi. It all made sense.
Thank you all
Love the saddle. I was unintentionally soring my horses back with an ill fitting saddle. I had borrowed a friend’s Orthoflex but didn’t like the seat and the saddle clinic showed how it’s tree was only touching my horse in four places. I purchased the Featherweight Trail and haven’t looked back. My horse is moving better and I can adjust the pads to fit his high withers and hips. It’s a great saddle for a gaited horse.
I purchased a Tracy Webb signature Santa Fe at a fitting clinic near my home in Bear Valley California.
My horse, Choco LOVES the new saddle. Some of the benefits I have noticed already would be a softening of the eye, for sure. He just looks content and relaxed. And keeps that look even when asking him to back now, which took a little while for him to forget it hurt, but now that we have done it so many times w/o any pain, he gets it that the pain is over. Very nice 🙂
He moves more freely and easily, his gait has improved, and it is easier to keep him in a gait.
I love the way the saddle feels to move in. It is a much lower cantle than my previous saddle, so there is a little adjustment on my part to bring my confidence level back up. I don’t think I was necessarily safer in the higher cantle saddle I used previously, but I think more it just felt like it, and I just need to get used to that factor. But the freedom of movement is definitely there with the Santa Fe, and thus makes me feel more “as one” with my horse, and I feel he is responding to that as well.
The “bump” on his back which was a direct result of the pinching on the last saddle is softening and shrinking. Yay! And there is no flinch at all when pressure is applied, so I know we are doing good.
And…it LOOKS pretty with all the bling! We have had a little trouble getting the purses to stay on. If Choco shakes, they fly off. But seems to be only when he shakes. I think the angle of the saddle with all the shims are not helping. I am not overly concerned. We have been working on tightening up the snaps a bit.
(Speaking of the bling, can you get me in touch with the gal who can order me additional bling? I would really like that.)
So, in summary, I am quite satisfied with my new saddle and am very grateful to all of you for educating me and taking the time to get both what Choco needed for his comfort and enjoyment, not to mention performance, and what I needed as a rider. It feels like it has all come together. You guys are the best!!! 🙂
I can’t say enough great things about my Specialized Saddle. I bought it after I had purchased 2 other saddles to try and fit my mare – one of which was a treeless saddle (which hurt her back so much she was unrideable for 5 months). When I tried the Specialized I finally had hope that something would work. I have had it re-fit to my mare 3 times in the 3 years I have had it as her fitness level and shape has changed – something very few if any other saddles can accommodate. When I rode a hard-to-fit gelding that belonged to a friend, I had a spare set of panels fit to him; we did his 2nd and 3rd 50 mile rides that weekend and his back was terrific.
I really like the saddle as well – it is very well constructed and makes me feel very secure. Also, it is a real benefit to be able to move the stirrups into different positions in order to optimize your equitation and make life even better for your equine partners. I’d be proud to wear a Specialized hat and tell even more people how great these saddles are!
Kristen Fisher, Corinth TX
I bought an International model Specialized Saddle for my horse, KMA Chazz Piper. As I had conditioned him for endurance, his body conditioned had changed, and the saddle I first bought for him no longer would fit him. From Winter of 2006 to summer of 2007, I was able to fine tune his fit several times instead of having to go saddle hunting again. How did it turn out? We finished top 10 at the Old Dominion 100 riding Cavalry, and then finished 31st at Tevis. Despite all those hills, and riding with no breast collar or crupper, I never had to adjust the saddle between vet checks. That is what a good fit can do for you. I just bought my second Specialized Saddle for Pipers 3 year old 1/2 brother. As he matures, I can adjust the saddle instead of having to keep buying new ones. Great concept, well executed.
Paul N. Sidio
The saddle has some REALLY WONDERFUL features. It has a narrow twist, and my horse is really moving out freely, his trot too big! I love the close contact feel, the fact it is so light weight, and the ability to adjust fit to the horse is invaluable.
I love my new saddle more every time I ride it.When I ride at speed it makes it so much easier now.If you only knew the things I used to do to try and stay balanced, and how much I hurt after a ride….Thanks again
I am a friend of Judith and Alan Stirling in the UK and I am just so very thrilled with my Trail Master saddle!!!! Just had to tell you. My horse, Jimmy Mac, has recently been selected to be in the Welsh Endurance Team for this year so we are all off to Northern Ireland in August to ride 50 miles over two days. I shall wear my nice Specialized Saddles riding jacket and our horse trailer has your Specialized Saddles stickers on it too. We are very proud to represent these excellent saddles! My horse is going very well now and is muscling up and even his white hairs (in the saddle area) have gone! Fantastic!!!!
Many thanks indeed for a great saddle! We are over the moon! If my horse is not happy, then neither am I! HE IS VERY HAPPY NOW!!!!!!!!!!!
Llwyn y Groes, Tregaron
Just wanted to send a quick note to say how pleased I am with the new saddle I recently got. It is all that you claim it to be and more. I was so pleasantly surprised when I opened the box. It fits my horse great (with a few minor adjustments) and allows me to ride balanced which has always been my goal. Thank you for a wonderful product and Keep up the good work!!
Debbie Taylor Gladstone
Thank you for the phone call asking if my saddle arrived and how did I like it. I waited for a week before trying it out- thought maybe I had made another impulse purchase at the Convention in Tx- however, after riding it on the first horse, then on to another horse, I can’t stop using it. It has been extremely comfortable since the first time riding in it. So far- it fits 3 of my horses without adjusting a thing…. I am amazed. The seat is secure, the saddle is light and easy to place, and the stirups are in the middle position- perfect for my needs. Thanks for such a nice saddle- looking forward to seeing how it performs on my first endurance ride!!! Prineville this next weekend.
Just got back from a ride called the Santiam Cascade ride, we did a 30 mile in 90+ heat and came in 7th and 8th and 2nd and 3rd in B.C. We had some of the vets and some of the other riders asking about your saddles. Just so you know I’m impressed with the saddles both horse and rider fit thanks.
I am quite pleased with my new saddle, it’s beautiful and so light! I do need a set of shims for my ‘hard to fit’ Arab that broke her withers a couple of years ago. At the withers she doesn’t flare as much as the saddle. The pads will lie flat on her back but then there is a space of about one and a half inches where the Velcro lifts from the saddle for a space of about three or four inches along her spine then it fits well. This is with the thicker pads. The saddle fits all the other horses by changing the pads. Amazing that one saddle could adjust to fit four very different horses. I also need to order a saddle pad in black and a girth. Thanks for your call and help.
I received my custom tooled saddle today and it is so beautiful.The matching hoof pick and leatherman holders are just what I wanted!Your detail and quality second to none!”
OMG! It’s here already!! I got it in the mail on Tuesday and got a chance to put it on her and wander around the yard Wednesday and used it for my lesson on Friday – what a TREAT!! I was prepared to wait another couple of weeks and was very pleasantly surprised…then there’s the actual riding! I really didn’t get a chance to ride it much during my demo because Holly was out of commission at the time, but I did put it on my borrowed horse and ride it one night for Drill Team practice and knew I’d like it, but wondered how secure I’d feel in it when the Wild Child decided to romp a bit. It’s my first ‘real’ saddle that was ordered specially for me and Holly and I had become quite attached to my little Aussie/Western cross that didn’t fit her at all, but made me feel like I’d never have to worry about coming off of her. I was really reluctant to give up that secure feeling – I’ve bought 6 other saddles before this one (no demo on those) and ended up reselling them all because I got in them the first time and knew it was NOT the saddle. When I put this one on her Friday I knew this is THE saddle for both of us. I can see us doing LOTS of miles in comfort in this one for many years to come. Thank you so very much for responding to my plea on RC for a saddle that actually fits both me and my horse. If you want references from someone that has one, have them call me or email me…I’m one very satisfied owner. ”
I just took my maiden ride in my new Specialized Saddle. I have competed for 8 years in a name-brand flex-panel saddle but had started noticing white hair on my horses back. Also, had trouble with girth galls in his armpits. Well, I rode a different horse. He was so relaxed and not the usual fretting he has done. When I got through, my girth was where I put it and not forward. I am so pleased. Your new best advocate.
I have just arrived home from the “Endure for the Cure” ride in South Carolina. It was my horses first official ride and when she finished 16th place in a 35 mile ride, with all A’s on her card I was thrilled. No soreness at all in her back at all, which I thought I would never see. This is a horse who went though 3 other brand name saddles and professional fitters. Now with this saddle no soreness at all and white marks going away. I am very pleased with my saddle and recommend it highly to anyone who asks!
Thanks for getting the saddle to me on the time frame requested, I just came back from a 6 day camp trip. logged about 80 miles in your saddle and I just had to send you a e mail and say thank you, not only did the saddle fit the horse without any dry spots, but the balance that it provided me as the rider was outstanding. I have been riding in my wifes Arabian solstice saddle for 6 months, and I cannot believe how much better your saddle works.
I was in the ride the past weekend, and the saddle and horse did great – we came in 9th place. The best part for me was that horse did not have a sore back! Finally, after almost two years, he finished out without a sore anything! I am so happy, Thank you! Thank you!
Duane used my TrailMaster today and he told me to sell the ortho-flex! So I guess we will be getting another one of your saddles, but he would have to have a horn, know anyone who might want a Tempi all around ortho-flex?
I have to say thank you so much for the saddle! I received it while up in Brenham with Cindy Deaton, and it is incredible! I know you’ve been swamped, but getting it to me in time to ride with Cindy was perfect. She did all the shimming and fitting so that it fits the mare I was riding up there (not the same one for whom you have the equimeasure pad) and it rides beautifully. Not only was the saddle beautiful, but the breast collar was detailed to match! I really expected that it would be the same color, but plain. What an added treat! It’s so much easier to ride better when the saddle fits both horse and rider.
The saddle is working wonderfully!! Chivas (my horse) is moving very nicely and is a happier boy. I absolutely adore the removable endurance fenders. There is no stress on my ankles and knees since the stirrups move so freely.
I am extremely happy with my saddle and so is my horse. With the stirrups set in the rear setting I am so balanced I could ride 2 point forever!
As I told you, Bill and Brenda Kuehl have literally had their horses-lives saved by changing to Specialized Saddles. Neither of them would probably be riding at all now had they not acted on my suggestion to get a saddle that would fit their horses back. Both of their foxtrotters are now different horses!
Riding Instructor Sunland Park, NM
I went on a trail ride Sat and the saddle was very comfortable.for me and I am especially pleased about how it fit my horse! She had very even sweat patterns and even after a long ride no more signs of discomfort.I was almost ready to give up finding a saddle that fit my mare.She is a gaited horse and seems to move out more freely now. Thanks so much for making a saddle design that is superb!
Received the saddle only a week after it was sent, that was incredibly quick!
I’m very happy with your saddle, and so is my horse I think – at least it has a wonderfully comfortable seat, and I’m looking forward to testing it out on longer trips. I spent some time fitting it / cutting away bits to avoid pressure on the shoulders, but now it seems to fit very well.
Thank you for an incredibly smooth deal, great product and great communications! Also for adding the two girths – I like both, though the neoprene one really seems stable & stays in place (++ for the buckle equalizer!).
Anne R. Øiseth
I love my saddle. I was worried about doing the fitting–all those pads and shim strips–but it was easier than it looked. My horse moves really well, and in particular is doing much better keeping his rear under him when going down a hill.