We rode in the Cashel Soft Saddle G2, a recent offering from Cashel Copany. The saddle is available in medium or large seats and retails for $279.99. It is universal fit for horses because of its flexible design.
Overall, we liked this saddle when used for its intended purpose, which is light trail and pleasure riding. It is comfortable for both horse and rider, feeling somewhere between a bareback pad and a traditional saddle.
The saddle fit our flat-backed horses well, but it didn’t work as well on horses with a more contoured back. The built-up seat offered our riders security and comfort. Our test saddle was a large, and our test riders were fairly average-sized adults. Cashel cautions you, however, that riders will not be comfortable in a saddle that is too large for them.
Cashel recommends using a felt pad under the saddle. Initially, the pad was difficult to position on the horse’s back and didn’t lay flat. However, once the saddle was placed on it, everything was fine and our horse and rider were happy. Cashel told us that it can take some experimentation to determine what thickness pad will be best for your horse, as it could range from a ¼” liner to a ¾” thick pad.
The Cashel Soft Saddle helps teach the rider balance more quickly than a traditional saddle, and you do have a better feel the motion of the horse. It allows riders whose horses are not comfortable bareback to experience “riding bareback,” in a less-structured saddle that is more dependent on the rider’s position but not like riding on just a flat, thin bareback pad. While we prefer no stirrups on actual bareback pads, we like them on this saddle. The stirrups helped keep the rider centered and focused on body position.
- Very well made, quality construction.
- Synthetic sueded fabric is easy care (just wash off) and provides extra grip.
- Well padded for the rider, very comfortable to sit in. Seat is built up in back and front to provide more security, and be more like a regular saddle.
- Very lightweight (6 lb).
- Comes with Western style stirrups.
- Wither strap for easy carrying or for extra security for a younger or less experienced rider.
- Front and back D rings for attaching packs, breastplates, or other accessories.
- Adjustable stirrups.
- Comes In two seat sizes (Medium and Large).
- Horses seem to like it (lick and chew while riding in it).
- We would appreciate longer, thinner billet straps. We had to use a long English girth on a small horses and the billets barely fit through our girth buckles.
- The Western-style stirrups cannot be adjusted while mounted. They were made of plastic and ran small.
- Padding on the lower skirt interfered somewhat with getting our leg on our horse.
This saddle isn’t a substitute for a regular saddle for long rides, competition or serious training, but it is a good solution for the casual rider, especially for pleasure trail rides (you’ll even be comfortable riding in shorts). Its light weight and easy care are absolute pluses.
We believe it’s also a good in-between choice for those who would like to rider bareback but aren’t quite ready for it. You get a close feel of the horse with “seat” security, but it helps you learn independent rider balance, if you’re struggling with that issue.
Our Western tester enjoyed the comfort of the saddle – it is truly a “soft ride.” Our English dressage/trail riding tester also enjoyed the comfort, but missed a knee roll. Our eventing test rider was not comfortable in the saddle and found it difficult to adjust to the feel and stirrups.
Article by Contributing Writer Karen Havis.