These are useful should you wish to change your set up. You can convert either way, English to western or Western to English. Usually these retail at about £30 and can be located directly from Cashel or various worldwide stockists.
This is the first review of this model. If you have a review from a non wide horse, please let me know.
I had the original Cashel and its interesting to note they have put fleece on the underside. The original just had a foam base.
I attempted the Cashel G2 on my 14.2 Haflinger mare. She DOES has withers! She has a very large shoulder and what i would call a short back as she cannot take a western with a full skirt, otherwise it would hit her hips.
She normally weights in the 875-900lb range (using a weight tape so i am sure not 100% correct). She is barrel shaped.
The G2 arrived with a very strong “gas” smell. I am guessing from the foam. It appeared well made and i liked that it could be opened up and adjustments made to stirrup locations. The seat of the saddle seemed very grippy. The underside of the saddle was a faux fleece.
I used my own western girth. For starters, i could not get my girth tight enough. So i attempted the fit with a shorter girth. Again, it felt like i could not get it tight enough. I could hardly fit my hand between girth and the underside of the horse, but i could fit my first between girth and side of horse (just below saddle flap). So that meant all of the pressure of the saddle/girth was concentrated on her withers and underside.
I still attempted to sit in the saddle on her. I used a mounting block and hopped on without using the stirrups. The saddle was soft for my seat, but otherwise i felt like i was sitting about 2 feet above the horse, but still had no twist. The saddle flaps, because of their padding and the wideness of my horse did not actually curve to fit my horse. Perhaps after hours of riding it would start to conform, but i was not willing to try it. I also could tell the saddle would slip from side to side when i alternated weight in the stirrups to test slip ability.
Shipping back to the manufacturer was difficult. Costs were really high so i had to ship via USPS for around 40$. I did receive a full refund of the saddle (but of course i was out the money it cost me to ship back).
For a wide horse, i would not recommend this saddle. Perhaps it would work on a thinner horse. I think this saddle would work if they changed it to keep the seat, change the flaps to have less or basically no padding, changing the fleece to nonslip material and have shaped padding on the underside to provide built-in spine clearance.
For comparison, i normally ride my Haflinger Marcel Toulouse Premia with a wide tree. I have heard that their wide is more like a Medium wide. Sizing wise, she would fit a MW wintec gullet.
The ultimate saddle alternative! Layers of Cashel closed cell foam and superior quality neoprene are constructed over a sculpted front and back foam wedge to provide you a close contact seat. It is wonderful for a peaceful trail ride or can be used for improving your balance and natural seat position. Comes complete with nylon latigo and nylon off-billet strap.
I chose the black medium saddle and i found it very comfortable to ride in. The pony being a low withered wide also liked it. The cashel has moved the stirrup fitting further back, this avoids extra drag on the wither. It is versitile and can be used on a horse that you haven’t got a saddle that fits, or for backing a youngster.
I only decided to sell it as i do more riding than it is designed for. As it is foam there is no mention of spinal clearance. As i can do up to 40 miles in a week plus jumping it was not going to withstand this use. You may wish to consider cutting some of it to produce this effect. Also store correctly it is not forgiving in it’s shape and you can nick the underside and crease it.
There is some debate as to whether or not this is a bareback pad with stirrup or a treeless saddle. I prefer to call it, “The Best of Both Worlds and it’s a cross between the two.