This is the second installment of my new Product review series. In my relentless pursuit to know about all that is available to us as horse owners I will share my experiences and opinions with you to help you make informed decisions.
I just test rode the newest addition to the Ansur Saddlery line. The Ansur excel is a very positive step in the evolution of treeless saddles (also see their new western saddle). This saddle not only looks like a traditional "treed" saddle but it is the most correctly balanced and position supporting treeless saddle I have ridden in.
As always, I like to really test a saddle. I rode several horses in it with several conformations. Here's my report.
First Impression: Beautiful appearance. The saddle exceeded my expectations and was very "traditional looking" for those of you who are afraid of the funky look of some of the others. I actually found the photos on the website did not do it justice and I told them so. It is still treeless and only slightly thicker than their other models.
Quality and Craftsmanship: Beautiful durable Leather and craftmanship I have come to expect from Ansur. Very well made.
Comfort and Fit: This saddle does the best job of marrying comfort without sacrificing performance, correct balance and looks of all that I have seen so far. I rode in a 17.5 and it fit me well. The petite is the most common size as Ansur has there own system of sizing(see site for chart).
Horse Fit: I rode this on several different conformations and found it easily adjustable because it has no tree. It has removable velcro blocks that are easily customizable if need be. I put it to the ultimate test of my super uphill, long withered warmblood gelding ( my saddles slid back on him)and my level narrow shouldered, long withered mare( my saddles slid forward on her neck). It stayed put on both. Amazing! They both performed well in it. It was balanced easily with proper padding on any horse which allowed me to sit in a perfect relaxed dressage position. Since it has panels and a gullet, It does not "roll" from side to side or slip as much as their other designs (it did shift a little though), a common problem with treeless saddles (it may on flat backed horses but you can order a special design for them).
Price: The one I tried is about $3500.00 but different models are available for less money. This one falls in the high range of the price spectrum but it is competitive with the higher end treed dressage saddles.
This is a beautiful saddle. I give it a 9 out of 10. Ansur always seems to make the saddle I want right when I'm looking for it. I have been watching their evolution and I like how they are always improving their products. I chose to purchase this saddle out of the ones I tried and showed Mercury in it two days after I got it and won! Mecury has very strong opinions about things and he will let me know when he is not happy. He should be the tester for all saddles.