Product Review: Toulouse Annice Close Contact Saddle

I have begun the process of selling my Toulouse Annice, and figured it was a good time to review this saddle (that I hopefully won't have much longer.)  Here are my observations after spending 18 months in a brand I never wanted to buy and a color I never wanted to buy:

1. Yes, it's not the greatest leather, so you're going to get out of it what you put into it care-wise.  This is what my saddle looked like new:

Sidenote: this saddle was acquired via remote fitting from Lynda at Classic Saddlery.  If you need a remote fitter, she is great - she recommended this saddle, and it fit like this from the very first try, after a phone call and sending a few pictures to her.

And this is what it looks like after 18 months of wiping it down with ammonia/water after most rides, cleaning it about once every month or two with Higher Standards, and conditioning it a few times a year with Passier Lederbalsam:

Not orange anymore, yay!

But I have seen pictures of other Toulouse Annice's that were not as lovingly cared for, and the leather looks pale, splotchy and worn.  Your mileage may vary.

2. It really is balanced well.  This shocked me.  It's the first jump saddle I've ever sat in that encourages me to keep my hips underneath me and didn't tip me forward onto my pubic bone, which made it a great lower level eventing saddle - it has a forward flap, but is easy to do lower level Dressage in thanks to where it puts my hips.

Perfectly acceptable lower level Dressage saddle

3. It held up to my shenanigans really well, and did not scratch.

4. Velcro knee and thigh blocks are the shiz, and I felt very secure in this saddle.



5. The matching Toulouse calfskin leathers DRIVE ME CRAZY.  I've had this saddle this long, and I still have to have my trainer adjust my stirrups from the ground for me, because the leathers do. not. move.  Is this a calfskin leather thing or a Toulouse thing?

DIE.

All in all, I was surprised with how much I liked it, and how well it fit Connor, and if I didn't need a more forward flap, I wouldn't be getting rid of it yet.  It wasn't something I wanted to keep forever, but if you're on a budget (I paid $999 new for this one with leathers), I'd say give Toulouse a chance.*


*(All except the Marielle Monoflap, which I've heard from multiple saddle fitters is not something that should ever sit on a horse's back.  Never used one, so I can't vouch for that statement).

10 comments:

  1. I have the Jeanine and i love it however i have the same issue with the leathers. Its been 2 years still cant budge them from the saddle. They match and look good but they don't function.

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    1. I'm glad you say that, that makes me feel better. Yes, beautiful, but not functional, that's a good way to put it!

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  2. My Dressage saddle that I had for years was a Toulouse Aachen (non-Genesis tree model, which my fitter dislikes) and I freaking loved that thing. I thought the french leather was nice and grippy and soft and it was of-so comfortable. I kind of miss the Toulouse leather in fact now that I have moved on to the Prestige. PS I always used Prestige leathers, so I can't comment on the Toulouse stirrup leathers.

    My XC saddle is also a Toulouse- and it happens to be the Marielle. After trying lots of saddles, this was the only one that didn't pitch me forward and send my leg back. I don't know if my model, which is now several years old, is different from the new ones, but my fitter doesn't mind it and I quite like it. I need a pad with shims to balance it, but otherwise it works for both myself and my horse, so why change? Curious to know why the people you know hate it so much?

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    1. I'm firmly in the "if it works, don't question it!" camp, so there's that, but I remember reading multiple well-respected saddle fitters on the CoTH forums sound off on the newer Marielle monoflap being poorly designed for the horse's back, and they were adamant that they would never recommend it. That said, maybe they were being elitist or maybe they weren't talking about the older models, I know Toulouses have changed a lot in the past few years. Saddles are too hard to fit and too expensive to change, so if it's working for you don't change it! But I couldn't unequivocally recommend all Toulouses based on how strongly they felt about the Marielle, so I threw that in there at the end. My Toulouse, personally, has really changed my mind about the brand. I'm only set on a CWD so my best friend can make adjustments to it for me!

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  3. sounds like it's been a good saddle for you! every time i read a post like this i start fantasizing about saddle shopping... but will probably stick with the wintec for the foreseeable future... booooring.

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    1. Haha, I'm in the exact same boat as you!! Wintec and all! I told myself I can't have nice things until I start showing rated BN lol

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  4. I know what you mean about the leathers! I bought some for my dressage saddle and they do not move well!

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  5. My BFF had an M Toulouse for a long time as well and it held up remarkably well considering she rode 3-4 horses a day in it and wasn't super diligent about cleaning it.

    I think if the saddle fits you and your horse it's not a bad buy for the money!

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  6. When you are ready to sell it you should let us know price and all that, it looks like a saddle I'd be interested in buying. I'm looking for a good starter saddle and it sounds like this could work

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    1. I am ready to sell it! It's currently listed on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/121489557050?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

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