Riders' real stories

Riders' real stories

On a regular basis we get a wonderful testimonials and updates from our TC community , I thought you might like to see a handful of them just to get a flavour of what people (and horses) think about their Total Contact Saddles.  The TCS has helped many people who are at their whits end wondering if they will ever find a saddle to fit their horse, in various different ways they tumble across the Total Contact Saddle and don't look back.

From JR -UK

Hi Lisa, you helped me with my saddle back in the summer
The physio and independent saddler is happy. His top line has come up considerably since using the TCS (see templates)
Have jumped, hunted, hacked, shown and done dressage. Saddle has been fab for all.
So all going very well so far 🙂

From CKJ - UK

If anyone is hesitating on getting one of these, I highly recommend taking the leap!
December last year, I had a really unexpected fall off my pony while asking for canter. I’m a nervous rider and my pony has always been very predictable. The times I’ve come off him, I’ve always understood why it happened. This one was out of the blue and it really shook my confidence. Since then, asking for canter has been an utter disaster. Me clinging to him and hunching up, him rushing and throwing his head around. Just all around a bad time.

Around this time, I realised our saddle wasn’t working for us. My pony had changed shape and the saddle wasn’t fitting him properly. I had also put on a lot of weight and I wasn’t sitting in my saddle properly either.

I considered getting our saddle refitted, but that only halfway solved the problem. So it was then I took the plunge and ordered our TCS. It took a while to arrive, as there was a backlog at the time and while I was waiting I started getting nervous I wouldn’t feel secure in it at all and whatnot. But finally it turned up and wow. It was comfy right off the bat, though it was a mission to find stirrups short enough for my tiny legs. 😅

But today my pony and I had the best ride in so so long. A combination of my friend putting some work into him for me to up his fitness, a coach giving us some important help, and this saddle has been the perfect combination for us. Today his canter transitions were amazing. Popping right into it without any of the fuss.

I definitely think this saddle has been a key factor for us, and I’m thankful that it’ll be able to fit us both no matter what size or shape we both fluctuate around.

So to anyone thinking about this saddle, I definitely recommend it! I know it won’t work for everyone but I’m so grateful it works for us. 🤗


A few years ago I was interested in the TCS but pressure points etc put me off so didn't buy one. I have a homebred Cleveland Bay x moorland pony who has the biggest shoulder! Even though she's only 14hh she rides more like 15.2hh, just her little legs let her down 🤣 since I started her at 4/5 years (she's 13 now) I've gone through probably around 15 saddles! We've tried western, thorowgood (t4, t8), saddle company, hoop tree, standard tree, 2 barefoot saddles, a bareback pad, torsion, ghost and recently she was in a monarch cob xxxw. She's really sensitive and let's me know pretty quick if she's not happy (normally with me ending up on the floor). Her canter has never really flowed and I always put it down to her way of going. I've had multiple vets see her and even had her whole backend and legs xrayed!
I have an amazing saddle fitter who got her current saddle as comfortable as possible but recently she hasn't been happy ridden again, wouldn't canter and lots of bucking!
So looked at the TCS again and bought one as a last hope.
I wished I bought one years ago!! I have a completely different pony! Wow, her canter!! Today we cantered across dartmoor for 6 minutes in the most slow motion rocking horse canter I've ever experienced on her. Her trot is so much better too and instead of her asking me to go back to walk she just keeps going! She's also stopped toe dragging in trot. I love it too and feel so secure. Nice even sweat marks after our 2 hour ride today 😁 she must of been so uncomfortable in her previous saddles

Best little saddle - I feel my riding has improved in the shortest time, I can't wait for better weather to ride more! EG

So, I have had my Total Contact Saddle ( Total Contact Saddle Community ) about 6 months now and feel it's time I did a little review. I haven't "not" publicised that I have one but I certainly haven't shouted from the roof tops about it as I know there are a lot of people who don't fully agree with the concept.
I probably heard about the TCS just over a year before I purchased one, I was intrigued, but not overly interested in getting one. so what changed my mind I hear you say? Well I am ashamed to admit that it was doing some damage to Smartys back in a saddle that wasn't fit for purpose that made me rethink what I was going to ride him in when competing in the sport of TREC.
Smarty has a very nice jumps saddle. It was fitted to him when he was about 6 and has been regularly re fitted as and when needed throughout his eventing career. He evented to 2* in this saddle and has always been very happy and comfortable in it. The thing is, this saddle is a very forward cut xc saddle and while it is perfect for jumping, it is not designed for me to spend up to 8 hours in it while competing or training over 30+kms.
Unfortunately, when competing at the 2022 British TREC Championships, one of the air bags in Smartys jump saddle deflated a little and because we were in the saddle for 8+ hours that day, it caused damage to his back that has ultimately left him with white scar hairs. I had already been feeling that the jump saddle wasn't comfortable for me for that length of time but having this happen to Smartys back was heart wrenching to me and I knew I had to find a solution that was comfortable for both of us.
Because the TCS was so affordable I thought I would get one to ride in over the winter while I decided what I was going to buy to compete in the following summer. I was really lucky to come across a nearly new one for a bargain price on Facebook and took the plunge. I am sooo happy I did.
It took a while to find the correct padding. I started in a Cavallo western Built Up pad which was soooo comfy(and for sale if anyone is looking) but was too long in the back for short coupled Smarty and rubbed his flanks. I tried some other combinations but found anything comfortable tended to be bulky and so didn't feel secure unless I over girthed. After hours and hours of internet research I then decided to invest in a Thinline bareback pad and a Premier Equine shimmable half pad and I am sooo glad I did. The shims give spinal clearance and the thinline fabric is so comfortable and I find the saddle really secure and doesn't slip at all when I mount using this pad combo. I also don't feel the need to overgirth to achieve stability. I actually ride with the TCS done quite loose and then girth up the Thinline over the top and tighten this a bit more securely.
Even though I have been so so comfortable in the TCS all winter, I was still in two minds as to whether I would be happy to compete in it at a summer TREC competition as I wasn't sure how secure I would feel doing low branches etc but after doing a winter TREC in it last week and scoring lots of 10s, I am totally sold.
Smarty is clearly so comfy in this saddle, he is going better than ever and his back feels so strong. He also now urinates when we go for rides which might seem like an odd thing to say but he NEVER had a wee when wearing a conventional saddle!!!
I think you can see from this mounting video just how secure the saddle is and how comfortable he is when I mount, he has always had a tendency to move when I mount but in the TCS he is happy to stand like a rock while I get on.
I am so lucky that I do a sport that allows different tack choices, now that I have ridden in a TCS I hate going back to a conventional saddle, I honestly feel so balanced and secure in it and would urge anyone thinking of trying one to give it a go!!!! A Girl, Her Horse & A Compass
Hi Lisa
I am absolutely blown away with the saddle, I was very impressed with the quality but had doubts about how it would work they have proved to be unfounded, 
my girl has not been ridden for months due to issues with both of us, she looked so relaxed her stride length was amazing ( this is a 28 year old arthritic) she took a lovely even contact and her movement was totally straight, so yes I will be keeping the saddle,
Thank you for all the information you sent via email.
Yours AP xxx