Talk to me About Tucker Saddles and Other English style Endurance/Trail Saddles
My husband and I are really doing a lot more riding and camping with our horses. I had forgotten how much fun it is after a long break from it! We just got back from the Uwharrie National Forest a few days ago and are already planning our next outing!
Anyway, my old Wintec AP is KILLING my bottom. After a few miles in that thing walking, I was nearly crying. I managed to get through two days of riding but I'm still sore. It also has no way to attach saddlebags, etc...
I much prefer english type saddles...I don't like horns..I just get hung up on them. I had someone show me a used Tucker Equitation saddle that he had for sale and it was intriguing. I was not able to ride in it but did sit in it and I felt it was too large for me. My thigh did not reach the knee roll..and it was a 17 inch more or less. I'm petite. I like the idea of the saddle though but wonder how they are to ride in in practice.
Tucker saddles seem expensive and seem to hold their value. I've been watching Ebay and am surprised at how much even the used ones go for. I'm curious if they are "all that" or mainly hype?
I'd also appreciate budget conscious suggestions for a trail/endurance type saddle if anyone knows of any. I looked up an old thread and tried to look up Thorowgoods but could not find any Endurance models. I really would rather find something more suited to long distance riding than just another all purpose style of saddle for my horse's comfort.
I'm not opposed to treeless...I own a Fhoenix dressage saddle I love...but that saddle is way to straight in the flap for long trail rides and the thigh block makes it hard to get your leg in front of you for steep downhills. I found that out on our last ride on a Snowy River kind of slope.
I love my Sensation Hybrid treeless saddle. It is secure, stable and absolutely the most comfortable saddle ever. I demoed and purchased mine from www.freedomtreeless.com. If you prefer a more forward, shorter flap rather than the dressagle flap you can get it made with the shorter, more forward english trail flap. These saddles are highly customizable to suit any individual. They also make english trail, dressage trail, jumping and western type saddles. All of them are super secure and comfortable.
"My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."
I had a Tucker Montreal Trooper Light that I loved and was very sad to have to sell it. I put a lot of miles on it though and it held up beautifully and fit the horses I had at the time well.
I currently have an Ortho-flex dressage and an Ortho-flex Patriot that I really like- both are very comfy but the mare that I currently ride the most is not thrilled with the Ortho-flex. This weekend I purchased a Black Forest Aspen treeless that should be here soon so I can give a review of that once I get to ride in it some.
“While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.” Mark Twain
Tuckers are nice. I don't own one, but I've ridden several.
I ride in either my Stubben Aramis (a dressage model) or my Siegfried II (a close contact model). I do endurance rides in the dressage saddle. It obviously has a straight flap, but has minimal blocks and is really comfy to ride in for a long time. I can get out of the saddle enough to pop over small logs if I need to.
I don't like to ride in those heavier saddles, too much bulk for me and I don't really consider them English saddles. Have you thought about a dressage saddle? You could get a very comfy used one easily. I also always use a thick sheepskin seat cover.
Thanks for all the replies. I already have a dressage saddle and I don't like it for longer rides nor for the thick thigh block. I tried taking out the block and my leg just swung around. :-\ The AP was nice in that I felt very secure but it chafed the heck out of you know where...
I've never ridden in an Aussie saddle. It might be worth trying but the thigh block looks restrictive.
Glad to hear some decent reports on Tuckers. They do seem a bit heavy don't they?
I'll check out some of the suggestions you all made! Thanks!
I do the camping/trailriding thing, too. I looked into saddles this spring for a new one.
Tuckers are made by Circle Y, and yes, they are very good quality.
I ended up with a High Horse saddle - also made by Circle Y. They are basically the economy line for Circle Y, but they are not lacking in quality, just the fancies. I got a 'hybrid', the fenders, and skirts are cordura, the seat, cantle and jockeys are leather. I LOVE my saddle. It has the flex tree, and because it's not all leather, it only weighs 20 lbs.
If I were you, I'd take a look at the High Horse saddles. They have just about every style you could want, with much more reasonable prices.
I've put 400 miles on my saddle this year, and it's held up and then some.
I ride a Stubben Scout (police/military saddle). Very comfortable, lots of D-rings.
Sometimes you'll find an M1936 Phillips Officer's Saddle available. I've tried them and and they don't work as well for me. You might find them quite comfortable.
I've seen some German Armeesattles from time to time. There are a number of variations on these (from both the German and Swiss military). Lots of folks like them. Very popular in Europe.
The McClellan is the choice of many. It was designed to carry a trooper and 60 pounds of gear, weapons, etc. I find them uncomfortable, but many like them. There are a number variants from M1859 to M1928 with sub-varients, too. The enlisted models had a very hard seat, the officer versions often had padded seats.
Two of my favorites for exploration would be the Grimsley Dragoon Saddle (predecessor of the Mac; very comfortable, deep seat, good carrying capacity). The other would be a Whitman military (almost selected as the Mac successor in the late 1880s; not done as there were so many Mac trees in storage).
The Tucker is a modern variation of the British Universal Pattern (UP) saddles, first used in about 1795. There is a current version used today with some of the Royal ceremonial horse units. It's a "suspended seat" which gets you up off the horse's back (a Good Thing) but it's not very "close contact" (for some folks, a Bad Thing). It excellent for hanging stuff on.
I've tried Aussies before and they just don't fit me.
I've made my views on "treeless" know before (I don't like them). For camping saddles they would be even worse than for just riding as you're going to be carrying lots of other stuff with no solid foundation. 'Nuff said, I suppose.
Some endurance saddle models can do well, as long as they are substantial enough to handle camping gear, bed role, etc. as well as the rider.
There are a lot of choices out there. This might give you some more ideas:
I HATED the western Tucker trail saddle that I had. Talk about uncomfortable! It fit my horse really well, but that saddle about killed me. I had the Gen I High Plains model. I hated how the seat sat so high off the horse. Not a close contact seat...and after being a predominantly english rider I found the Tucker to feel awkward and bulky. But the biggest issue was that it really hurt me after about 30 minutes of riding...therefore, I got rid of it!!
Treeless!!!!! There isn't a treed saddle on the planet that I can ride in for any length of time without being in agony. I have fibromyalgia and have found that I've become extremely sensitive to anything the tiniest bit uncomfortable. But I can do 50 mile endurance rides in my Bob Marshall and barely felt like I rode at all.
A friend of mine does competitive endurance and loves her synergist. Real nice quality saddle.
Another very good friend has a big horn endurance and might chime in here.
Said good friend also has a really cool saddle that her husband rides that I can't remember the name...
My daughter (and said good friend) also have abetta endurance saddles. My daughter struggles with the fenders on hers but she's quite short and that seems to be a short person problem on nearly every saddle. I can't say I'm super thrilled with the saddle but it was worth the price for a 10 year old kid.
I ride a BMSS treeless which I like real well on some fronts and do not like on other fronts. I'd proceed with caution with a treeless. It depends a lot on your build, your horse's build, and where you're both comfortable.
I have two Tucker Trail endurance saddles kind of hybrid English/Western/Aussie looking. I am a very small person that rides a very tall horse. These Tuckers only weigh 26 pounds, I know the western versions are REALLY heavy. Weight was a factor in my purchase. My Tucker seat is a 16.5 and I can ride in a 14 inch Western comfortably.
I am a former Saddle seat rider and this is the saddle I chose. They will give you more of a chair seat considering the position of the stirrup bars. They are made for comfort in trail riding. Oh and the gel seat is marvelous.
Do try one out before you buy, some people don't like them.
I had a Tucker River Plantation I loved- but it encouraged a chair seat so if that bugs you, then it'll bug you. I rode miles and miles and miles in rugged Montana wilderness on a little Arabian mare of CBMs and it fit us both like a dream. You are 'off' the horse in the seat but close through the legs...not like sitting in a western saddle with a lot of bulk under your thigh. No horn, just a pit of a peak and open between seat and gullet so you can hang stuff off of it. I sold it b/c I just didn't need it. Well made, soft leather, not really heavy. Any of their Western saddles are heavy as Hades.
I have a no name from Ider, Alabama that lives at CBMs house- once a year I ride the Hell out of it and it's really comfortable. Low cantle so it's easy to get out of - for long rides many prefer a higher/steeper cantle for lower back support. I think Valley Saddlery made it, it's not a Big Horn. Do I have a Big Horn endurance? LOL too many saddles!
The Abetta is a workhorse but you get what you pay for- you don't mind tearing it up but the thing I dislike about them in general is they do not break in and mold to your shape like a western leather saddle would.
I have a Tucker (the Cheyenne, a western style w/horn) that I really like. It's not one of the newer ones, and from what I've seen, the newer ones aren't nearly as nice as when they were made by Tucker themselves. When I got mine, I had to order it directly from Tucker in Tennessee. Fantastic workmanship and quality leather. The newer ones I've seen on eBay and in person don't impress me much, and I think they're way overpriced now.
That said, while I do love my Tucker (which only weighs around 25 lbs), it doesn't give me the great seat that my vintage Circle Y did (which became hubby's saddle). But it's a trade-off I can live with to avoid hefting that iron-weight Circle Y. It's a monster to lift.
Interesting about Circle Y now making the Tuckers, but not surprising that I don't like the newer Tuckers since I don't much care for the newer Circle Y's either. IMO, older is better in both cases.
For an english-style trail saddle, I had a Miller Collegiate Marathon (which can be found for sale on eBay for around $400-500) that I really liked. Unfortunately I had to sell it a few years ago when I needed the money and couldn't part with my Tucker.