The new model for Barefoot is the Merlyn. This is a dressage model with extra short flaps for the cob, smaller horse or the short legged rider.
Very smart design in a soft leather, soft knee rolls, lower cantle and deep seat.
Narrow seat- twist that allows more contact for the rider. Adjustable S curve stirrup plate to allow the precise positioning of the leathers for the rider. This is an open attachment, similar to the E bar design not used on Barefoot, but an S shape. This might mean you do not require a safety stirrup as with the closed rings, but I am awaiting confirmation on this point.
I have been trialing my new saddle, the dressage formal model by Sensation.
It’s the 17″ and it’s very nice and compact looking while giving me ample seat room. The seat is very soft and very comfortable. The girth billets are the slightly shorter dressage length, I swapped my girths around to find one that fitted.
As it has a hard use setting I found if I wasn’t using that, then the extra strap just pops into the girth. I would therefore use a girth with adequate keepers or a girth as in the photo with its own pocket.
I wasn’t overly keen on the high pommel but after half a dozen rides I dont even notice it. It came with a Barefoot Physio pad and adding two inserts meant that I am very slightly higher and therefore the pommel isn’t as huge looking.
I decided I liked it, my horse liked it, but I wanted my riding instructor to run her eyes over it. I wanted to see if it complimented my position, or made it worse. She gave it a tweak here and there and off we went. It gives me much more feel than any of the other models ridden in to date. My Freeform has a restricted seat by comparison.
I have yet to hack out which I plan to. It’s been used for No Stirrup November. My sitting trot has improved by a change of saddle and tweaked position.
The photo shows a soaked horse and pretty much a soaked saddle. I had been trying to keep it dry but the weather is what arrives that morning.