I swear by the EZ fit. With the panels on the outside I can mount up my no wither donkeys without the saddle moving at all. Skito pad and a mohair or neoprene girth. Swear by it!
Photo of Shorty a small mammoth donkey.
I bought this saddle in February 2010 after researching on the net about a suitable saddle to accommodate my young Quarter Horse whilst he was growing and provide a functional and comfortable saddle for both of us. He was rising 2 at the time so it was really just for groundwork purposes at that point.
These saddles are made to order by the Amish saddle Eli Beiler, so it is possible to have it in quite a vast range of colours and either with a suede seat or leather seat. You can also choose rigging (english or western centre fire rigging) and what style stirrups and leathers you have. They supply either english leathers, western leathers (about twice the thickness of english ones) or fenders. Stirrup wise you can choose from regular steel irons, endurance style caged stirrups or western style bell stirrups. I fell in love with a photograph of a saddle with tan leather and a blue ostrich leather seat so decided to go with a copy of that one, but with western fenders and stirrups. This saddle is rather unusual in its looks with the buckle system at the rear of the saddle but I think it is rather stylish.
The ingenious thing about these saddles is that they are incredibly adjustable. You can adjust where the stirrup hangers are, where the girth rigging is so you can achieve ultimate stability and also adjust the seat size to get the most comfortable set up for you and your horse. The adjustments are made underneath the seat which is stuck down with heavy duty velcro and fastened down at the rear by the funky buckles. There are inbuilt measurement guides under the seat to ensure you get everything even on both sides, which is a handy feature.
I tested this saddle on my 17 year old Shire x, who is 16hh and takes an xx-wide tree’d saddle which is forever slipping. In 9 years of ownership we haven’t ever found a saddle that didn’t slip. This saddle has a non-slip material on the underneath which is great for stopping the pad from slipping. I have been told you can also use it without a pad in some instances but my riding horse is fussy and doesn’t like grippy materials next to his skin so we used my Professional’s Choice Air Ride pad underneath. The interior of the saddle is close cell foam (including the pommel) so it will mould to fit most horses and to my joy it did stretch enough to fit my wide horse comfortably!!
I have to say I am very impressed with this saddle. We have ridden up and down hills on awkward ground and have had the odd spook and this saddle hasn’t moved an inch. It is incredibly stable! My horse will also rein back and turn on his haunches now which is something he never used to be comfortable doing. He will also stretch down in all paces and he never trips which is something he used to do on a regular basis. From a rider’s point of view it rides very much like a tree’d western saddle, and for surprisingly does have quite a twist, especially as the test subject is almost as wide as he is tall! The pommel doesn’t get in the way when posting to the trot although I keep my rises small. My hips are totally ache free and I also oddly do not get saddle sore in this saddle. It can only be good!
I have recently purchased a 6 year old Quarter Horse who was unbroken and this saddle has been used on him for his groundwork and backing, it also fits him well and he seems very comfortable in it. In fact I look forward to riding all our horses in it!