Success stories

This page is dedicated to our valued customers. We will be adding customer success stories with Desoto Saddles below.   If you already own a Desosto Saddle please feel free to send us your story.

Hi Marilyn,

I am so emotional about what happened today I just had to write you. I gave my mare a couple of days to get used to the Desoto; shorter trail rides and longing while saddled. Initially she tripped quite a bit but that stopped on day 3 wearing the Desoto. Today was time for me to practice cantering on the Desoto. Marilyn, my horse never liked to canter previously. That made canter very hard for me, trying to balance while trying to get her from the "cantrot" to a willing canter of more than just a few strides. Today in the arena she went into canter immediately and would not drop gait until asked. This has not happened in the four years that I have owned her. This has been a very emotional experience. Thank you for helping me and my horse.

Helena Fieldstone

Hello Marilyn,

It's been a while since we ordered and received our custom saddles from you, and I feel badly, because I don't think I ever took the time to let you know how the saddles have been working out ...or to say Thanks!
Our horses haven't experienced back soreness, due to the saddles not fitting properly, since we've been using the Desoto saddles.  Any soreness, which has been minimal, has usually occured during the first spring ride after winter; and I must admit, it was mostly due to the horse being out of condition at the time.  We have a very good chiropractic vet who keeps our horses adjusted from time to time.  This, along with the properly fitting saddles has made a world of difference as far as the horses staying sound-backed and comfortable.  I don't know, exactly, how many other saddles we purchased and tried, before finding the Desoto saddles...(too many).  I do know that it was worth the wait to have these saddles made especially for our horses.
As for rider comfort...well, it took my husband a little while to adjust to not having that horn right in front of him, but he has adapted. And, we have spent many hours on long trail rides, coming back to camp no worse for the wear.  No complaints of sore knees, butts or backs, like we hear from our fellow riders who rode the same distance.  We are both happy with how light weight the saddles are.  Having had 2 shoulder surgeries prior to getting the Desoto saddles, the one priority I had in searching for a saddle was the weight, in order to lift it above my head and onto the horse's back with ease.  I remember using a step stool with other saddles, just to give me the added height to get the saddle over the horse's back because it was so heavy.  The light weight of the Desoto allows me to place the saddle onto the horse's back with ease and grace.
Besides our 2 primary trail mounts, we often have 1 or 2 other horses here for riding, which the custom saddles don't fit properly on.  I eventually found 2 more Desoto saddles on Ebay, purchased them, and they seem to work well for the other horses.  One of those horses is 16H, and I have no problem whatsoever lifting the Desoto onto his back.  That alone speaks volumes, in my book, regarding your saddles...because I'm a shorty with bad shoulders.  Plus, we're sold on these saddles for their quality construction, along with the fit and comfort they allow for the well as ourselves. 
I'm never hesitant to talk about or recommend your saddles for others to consider, who are shopping around...for whatever reasons.  And willingly offer or loan out one of the spare saddles, for others to try. 
Also, for a custom saddle, I feel that you are keeping the price in an affordable range...right there with most of the "straight" saddles that may not fit properly for one reason or another.  This is just another plus!
All that said,  I just want to say Thanks!  We've enjoyed many trail rides and many hours in the Desoto saddles...and no regrets whatsoever.  Keep up the good work!
Mary Koenig


Hi Marilyn,

This morning I got up and saddled the 'ol nag to take him out for a short spin. Our first ride in six weeks. The thing on his back seems to almost be healed. Thinking, of course, that it would be an ordinary day in the saddle.

It was not to be so...

I saddled him up, brought him out into the pasture for mounting and warmup - To my surprise......when my butt hit the saddle......all hell broke loose. My butt went crazy! All of a sudden all these ooooohhs and aaaaahhhhhhs were just coming out of the air... My Butt was "out of control"..... What could I do? Then, the squealing and giggling started! This just couldn't be right... could it? My BODY joined in !

I decided my ONLY option was to wait it out... So... I rode around in the pasture for a little bit... then decided--what the heck..... Can my butt do any more? I have to listen to it...for God's sake it's connected to me... I just can't get away from it...May as well be out in the woods on the trail.. As long as it doesn't spook the horse.

So...out we went. All the way down the darn trail... I had to listen to it - gurgling like a baby, ooooohing and aaaahhhing ---exclaiming......sighing!!! It was downright NOISY.

Thank goodness I was alone (except for Hazy, of course)... and I could see by the end of the ride...he was darn tired of listening to my butt, too! Well... when we were almost home, my butt FINALLY got tired and quieted down.

I couldn't imagine what was going on... until I got off the horse, unsaddled him, washed the sweat off, picked everything up and came inside to sit down... I finally figured it out..... It was the.. are you ready?

the Desoto Custom Cushion (name for the seat, especially designed for the female anatomy) MY BUTT HASN'T HAD IT SO GOOD IN YEARS, and it just couldn't stand the unbelievable B A L A N C E!

My butt and I are happy and thank you SO MUCH! Yeah, I guess you would call it a buttgasm??? Seriously.. Within the first minute of going down the trail, I KNEW it was worth the wait!

The comfort is unsurpassed. The balance is a total work of perfection. It removes as much stress from your body as I could imagine is at all possible by putting you in such a centered and balanced position. The dressage saddle I have does not hold a candle to the comfort, nor the position that your saddle provides.

Hazy's back had a wonderfully even sweat pattern...I'll keep you posted.. and hopefully
keep my butt under control.

Thank you so much!

Charlene (are you really going to put it on your web site? :*) ) haha
What a hoot that will be!

Before the Desoto saddle, I had a terrible time getting my saddles straight on my mare. She has a very round back and no whithers and I'd get the saddle positioned correctly but when the cinch was tightened, the saddle slipped to the side. Also, when I mounted, the saddle slipped and there were many times when I couldn't get it back centered and had to get off, take the saddle off and start over again.

With the Desoto saddle, I have not have any issues with the saddle being crooked. It takes no thought, I just put it on, cinch it up and it is automatically straight. I didn't realize how much time I spend for several years trying to get my other saddles straight.

Also, my mare was very cinchy - she tossed her head and even looked like she really wanted to bite me when I tightened the cinch (she's mild mannered, so she never actually did - but she certainly thought about it). Although she still tossses her head, she seems much better about cinch tightening than in the past and I'm thinking that eventually she won't respond at all.

Anyway, I'm thrilled for these reasons alone. Then, to add to the pleasure, the saddle weighs nothing compared to my big western saddles and is very comfortable.

All-in-all, I'm one happy camper and very glad that I found your saddle, Marilyn. Thank you for solving issues that I didn't think were fixable.

PS - the elk continue to visit our yard - last weekend, we had about 60 of them that decided to spend the night.

Marcia C. Green, Vice President
KeyBank Real Estate Capital
Home Builder Group

Hi Marilyn,
I've been able to use my saddle a few times now and wanted to let you know that I'm very pleased with it.  I'm much more balanced with this saddle.  I didn't realize before how much trouble I had staying in the middle of the saddle and trying to use my seat with my horses.  With this saddle I don't have to worry about that.  My other saddle would constantly tilt to the left.  I was always compensating for that.  This saddle seems to stay right where it should and I can be a much quieter rider.  I'm looking forward to competing in it and seeing how that goes.  The horses seem to do well with the saddle although I can't say I see any amazing difference in the way they go other than my being able to concentrate more on using aids better.
I would certainly recommend the saddle to others as a very comfortable and well balanced saddle.
Mary Prowell

I have had the opportunity to ride in my saddle for 3  years.  So what do I saw after 3 years?  I want another for my other horse,but just cannot afford it yet.  My time will come.  But I remember the day the saddle came, I had previously used a marciante, and a SR enduro (dont like the low cantles of either these saddles), have tried the stuebben endurance saddles, the vssg and the sigfried, not empressed by any of those.  So I get the saddle and my endurance riding buddy who works across the street at the library, while I am coming out of the post ofc.  we had to crack open the box then and there, we were both excited to see it.  I was in shock and amazed at how light it was.  We made plans to go out riding, and wow I was so impressed with it. My mare has an excellent ext trot and this was the first thing I noticed, she could do it with this saddle on!!!  When I have company over they all like to ride the desoto that belongs to the sweetest horse, it wont work on any other horse here since I had it made for Jetta, so i get ousted from riding my own horse.  So the only remedy is to find a good used desoto with a semi QH bar to fit my other horse, so I can ride my own, and my friends can still ride a nice horse and a great saddle!!!   Seriously this is the best saddle I have ever ridden in and I have done competetive trail rides for over 10 yrs.  I wish then that I had what I have now.  This is a saddle you neve regret buying ever!! Thanks for the great saddle I LOVE IT!!!!!!

Sincerely,  Pam Nielsen

Just rode the Del Valle ride over the weekend and did the limited distance. This was one of the hardest rides I have ever done and the concensus from everyone else is the same. Thought you would like to know that we got Best Condition and under the heading where they evaluate surface factors/tack lesions, etc we got the perfect 10. Well, that means the Desoto saddle is perfect. (But we knew that already!!) Kody also got high vet score. I was very proud of him and it is nice to be back in the winner's circle again.


Heidi A. Caldwell, RN

Dear Marilyn,

The new saddle arrived a couple of weeks ago and I couldn't be more pleased - it's more beautiful than I had dared to hope for, having never had the chance to actually see one of your saddles before ordering. I put it on my gelding this past weekend and it fits him perfectly. It's as comfortable as it is lovely, and I can finally get my legs underneath me and align my shoulder-hip-ankle points. And posting is almost effortless. A true balanced ride, just as you promised. Thanks so much!

Happy Holidays,
Shef Worboys

Dear Marilyn,

I wanted to let you know how pleased I've been with my Desoto saddle. I've put over 2000 plus ride miles on it and countless training miles with absolutely no problems for me or my horse. I had previously used an Orthoflex saddle on this horse and thought it fit fairly well, only occasionally did he have a sore back or rub place. Not only did your saddle fit both of us perfectly, there was an immediate improvement in my horses gait and overall attitude. Thanks for the quality product and fast service.

Jim Matthess

Floresville, Texas

Dear Marilyn,

Thanks so much for my saddle.  Prior to this saddle my horse would stumble at least 25 times during a short 2 hour ride.  This past July 4th weekend we spent 7 days at Goose Creek Trail Camp in Grayling,  Michigan.  His stumbling is now virtually nonexistent!  He only stumbled twice during the entire week!  And then it was when all the other horses were stumbling!  There were some tree roots hidden in the sand.
Before your saddle I thought my horse was a total klutz!  Now I can appreciate what an outstanding athlete he really is!  Thanks for making my horse back riding a SAFE experience!

Marcia Nelson

Dear Marilyn,

I got my saddle Friday and had the opportunity to try it out yesterday.  I can't tell you how happy I am with this saddle.  It is the most comfortable saddle I have ever ridden on and the leather is just beautiful.  I love the size and weight also.  But, that is not the main reason I am in love with this saddle.   The main reason is the way my Pooh moves in this saddle.

As you know my poor little Pooh has been ridden for years in saddles that did not fit him.  I purchased him two years ago and rode him in my Ortho-flex®, which they claim fit almost all horses.  What they fail to mention is their saddles fit all horses that use a regular size tree.  I had to use a crupper to keep the saddle from sliding forward.   Pooh  would start out the ride fairly calm, but as the ride progressed he would become more and more hyper.  If I got off him and let him rest for 30 minutes or so, then he would ride calmly for a while.    Unfortunately, I did not realize that the ill-fitting saddle was causing the problem.

He is a very very sweet little horse and I never could understand why he had been sold so many times.  I now believe it was because the saddles he was being ridden in were causing him great pain.  He ever has a scar on his back where hair does not grow.  I believe it is because previous saddles dug into his back.

Yesterday when I rode him in my new saddle the change in this little horse was amazing.  He was so relaxed and he moved so fluidly.  It was like riding a different horse.  He never tensed his back, and he carried his neck in such a relaxed manner.   Always before, this little horse would rush down even the smallest hill.  But not yesterday.  He walked down in a very relaxed manner.  I am absolutely thrilled with this saddle.

I can't tell you how glad I am that I found you and your wonderful saddle.  I used to think my Ortho-flex® that I paid $2,000 for several years ago was a nice saddle until I rode in yours.  If I could afford it, I would throw my Ortho-flex® in the garbage and buy a Desoto for my other horse Monte.  Unfortunately, I can't afford it and Monte uses a regular size tree so I will just continue to ride him in the Ortho.

Thank You Again,

Debbie Peel
Eads, Tennessee


I followed your suggestion and rubbed a paraffin bar on the portion of the saddle where the cinch is fraying the holes--this seems to be helping. I have had my Desoto saddle since mid-1998 and have ridden over 3,000 miles in it (about 2800 in competition--competitive trail via NATRC) and several hundred doing conditioning and training my horse. The fraying of the holes where the cinch connects to the saddle is the only obvious wear of the saddle. I clean and oil (use Leather Therapy) fairly often, have worn out one cinch and have put some wear on the breast collar (wore clip that connects the breast collar to cinch completely in two and begun wearing the biothane off in one place). However, the saddle itself looks great and is very comfortable. I typically ride 60 miles over a two-day competition and compete 12 to 15 times per year. Both my wide and daughter are still using their Desoto saddles and we have several friends in NATRC (Gayle Littlefield, Mary Ann Barnhill and Art Bartlett come to mind) who have Desoto saddles and really like them. People often ask about my saddle and I tell them it is very lightweight, durable, comfortable and a real leather saddle (not a lightweight synthetic saddle).

By the way, I finished 4th in the county in horsemanship in NATRC in 2002 and won the Championship Challenge ride (Grand Champion Horsemanship) last October. Thanks for mailing the new breast collar--I will use my old one until it gives up the ghost sometime this year I expect.

Best wishes,
Wayne Tolbert

Back in 1993 at the AERC Trade Show in Atlanta, GA during the snowstorm of the century I had a booth across from DeSoto Saddles. I looked over Marilyn's saddle and we were visiting. I ask Marilyn if she ever traded and she said yes. For those of you who know me, you know I love a good trade. I wanted a saddle for Sackett and for those of you who have seen Sackett naked you realize his back is not your ordinary back. Marilyn gave me the instructions on how to measure Sackett's back and I made two of everything I had and we were in business. I figured if the saddle didn't fit I could always carry it with me and trade it off. I had done that before. I did all the measurements and photos and sent it all to Marilyn. Then when the saddle arrived and it seemed to fit Sackett, I started riding it and the rest is history, I have not ridden any saddle but that one since I got it. The only pad I have used is pure wool and about 3/4" thick. The really funny thing is that it not only fits Sackett, it also fits his half brother Talon and Talon's niece Prissy. This little saddle has been ridden thousands of miles and this winter I ordered a duplicate saddle so I could lead one horse and ride one both saddled and then switch horses without switching saddles. I have never ridden a more comfortable saddle, it has been used on multiday endurance rides as well as CTR rides. I not only feel good in it but must look fairly good also as my horsemanship scores went up. Some of you have seen me on the trail as I look like a billboard for Lovell of Mack. I have also sold quite a number of these saddles to my friends and they like them just like I do.

I have been a strong fan of DeSoto saddles since 1992 when I borrowed a spare from Marilyn to use on my horse, Ben Amil, during a ride. It worked so well that I had one made using the same tree size as the one we borrowed. That saddle still works great on Ben. The only times that I had a back problem occurred when I tried to use other types of saddles on him. The DeSoto was the saddle that we could depend on to fit both of us. When I started my young horse, Rocketeer, three years ago I had Marilyn fit him for a new saddle. Luckily, a saddle with the same tree was being sold by a friend who decided that endurance was not her thing. We used that saddle until it was taken from my horse trailer along with another saddle in November of 1999. To say that Rocketeer and I both missed that saddle which fit us both so well is a huge understatement. In February of 2001, some 15 months after the saddle disappeared I got a tip of where I might find it. The word was that it had been dumped in a sinkhole because it would have been too hard to quickly sell a custom saddle like this. My wife and I began searching the woods near our home. I found it lying on the ground with the velour side down in the mud and leaves. Except for a couple of places along the jockeys and one of the fenders that had been chewed by some animals, it was in amazingly good condition. The leather was obviously stiff after so long in rain, snow, and summer heat. However, it had been liberally treated with Leather Therapy and that probably helped preserve it. The velour was dirty but unharmed. The stitching appeared to be unharmed and of course, the tree with fiberglass covering was fine. I think that the quality of the materials and construction made a big difference in the saddle surviving as well as it did. After thinking about it and exchanging emails with Marilyn, I just cleaned the saddle and soaked it with Leather Therapy. We had a spare set of fenders because my wife rides her DeSoto with english leathers. So, I put those fenders on it. Now I am happily riding it again. It was like getting an old friend back. It's not nearly as good-looking as it was when we lost it but not bad at all. And it sure feels good to my horse and me.

Thanks Marilyn!

David Bennett


We had our first ride this morning. It fits us both great. Easily the best fitting saddle I've ever had on him. I love it. I love the pad. I love the girth. I love the stirrups. I love the way it smells. I love the rigging I really love the rigging). . . you get the picture! I hated to leave it in the tack room. PE likes it too, his back came right up! I was talking to Elaine at Skito yesterday, she asked me what kind of saddle I had and when I told her a Desoto she said "You lucky woman". I agree.

Now that we've been down the road a few miles I wanted to update you on our "DeSoto Experiences". What I expected from this saddle was a more comfortable horse. I knew that his increased comfort would improve our overall performance and potentiate our partnership. I knew the saddle would be beautiful and exquisitely engineered because I looked at one and spoke to several happy owners before I ordered mine. What I did not expect from this saddle was that it would improve my own comfort and abilities to the degree it has. Correct position is effortless, my legs are under me without a struggle and this allows all the building blocks of my riding position to align correctly without any conscious thought on my part. What a concept! PE's response has been equally dramatic. He has come up with this marvelous swinging walk - where the heck has that been all this time? We can almost walk up with our gaited buddies now. Hills have become "places to run up" and it's wonderful to ride down a bank on a PE with ears forward and neck relaxed. Even flat schooling is more fun. PE's back comes right up, his transitions are lighter and more subtle and even his reverse has improved. He's listening to my seat much more and he seems to be free from "saddle irritation" for the first time since we've been partners - maybe for the first time in his life. Every ride I wonder why I didn't do this sooner (and I'm sure PE wonders that too!).
EUREEKA! The best description for the DeSoto Experience is Liberating.


Dear Marilyn:

Just wanted to drop you a note and tell you the saddle is wonderful. I am very, very happy with it. I still miss my other one (it had a lot of sentimental value) but frankly this one is even more comfortable (makes sense). It is a pleasure to ride Raif with a saddle that fits him - I no longer feel guilty that I may be hurting him by using a saddle that does not fit properly.
I can't thank you enough for your promptness and quality workmanship. Perhaps one day we can meet face to face.

Jeane DeFelice

Hi Marilyn,

I wanted to check back with you, now that I've put a few miles on my new saddle. It's WONDERFUL!
I am able to ride in a much more centered position--my aching knees are gone, hurrah! Going up and down hills took a little adjusting; the old saddle had a very high pommel that would support my legs as I went down steep hills, which the new saddle doesn't do. Instead, I am able to swing my legs into a better position for climbing and descending hills--and I can duck under low-hanging stuff better, since the front of the saddle is low enough for me to crouch down beside my horse's neck. That's a great improvement for riding in our muddy hills, especially now that fall has come and the trees are dropping branches all over everywhere.

But the really cool thing is the way the horses behave in the new saddle. They love it! My mare Story is a STB off the track, who only learned to canter in the last 10 months; before this she would only trot fast. Now she not only canters along happily (both leads!), she's started to pace under saddle again--which she hasn't been able to do for a couple of years, since her shoulder muscles got too bulky under the old saddle. She's much more comfortable now, and her performance really shows the change. She did a tough 25-miler at the Dunes ride--almost 20 miles was very deep sand--and came through it with no tightness or soreness in her back. Billy, my "alternate mount" is also more comfortable with the new width; his strides have become gigantic!

Thanks so much--I am a very happy customer!

Aarene Storms (and Story and Billy)


Dear Marilyn,
Have had my saddle for about 2 months now and am more in love with it with every ride. As you may remember,  my old saddle was pinching the horse in the bars, too long, and causing loin rub. I am so struck by the width of the tree and shortness of my Desoto every time I pick it up - I just say YESSSSS! I love the rigging and girth and Gunner, who has always been quite the barnstormer, is much more willing to walk on the way home now since he isn't in agony from the ride. Horses have long memories and I'm sure as he forgets the pain, he'll improve more yet. I have a lot of back and shoulder problems and just the thought of saddling up is more attractive now that I have this beautiful, lightweight saddle. I thank you for your knowledge and understanding.

Jeanette Hall (Michigan)



One problem that endurance riders face as we begin riding our horses longer distances and spend more time in the saddle, is finding a saddle that is comfortable to both the horse and rider. I have found many saddles that are comfortable to me, but over time have proven to be uncomfortable for my horse(s). I have a mare that as a three year old would stand in the center of the round pen, halterless, and let me put a saddle on her back. As a six year old, she would not stand still to be saddled, and would throw herself on the ground during the saddling process. We had tried many different saddles on her over a three year period, none of which would work. We had tried different styles and different brands. The day her custom made DeSoto saddle was put on her back, she was so certain it would hurt her that she again tried to throw herself down.
When we finally did get the saddle on her back, and the girth snugged, we put my six year old granddaughter on her back and the two of them rode around the campsite at the Carolina ride in Bethune. She was happy and comfortable for the first time since we had started her under saddle. Since that time we have completed 950 endurance miles, and countless pleasure miles. She has taught all of my grandchildren how to ride. She is now thirteen going on fourteen, and has not had a problem with a sore back since using her custom built saddle. Her stable mate has a totally different body type, and has completed almost 2,000 miles of endurance, including several one day 100s, wearing her custom made DeSoto saddle.
As for myself, I find the saddles to be comfortable for me as well. They are built to be comfortable to both the horse and rider, and I do not, of choice, want to ride any other saddle. I would also like to add that my husband's outlook has changed. He used to say that spending that much money on a saddle was a waste. Now I hear him telling other riders that it was the best money we have spent on our horses. And my husband does not ride.

Lucie Hancock, SE region, just under 3,000 AERC miles, and manager of the Hallelujah Benefit Ride in South Carolina.


I also have a Desoto saddle - I love it! I did not order her pad, though, since I already had an almost new pad from Sharon Saare.  My Desoto fits so well, that I find I really don't need a thick pad. I have been using Sharon Saare's slim cotton pad (it's about 1/2" thick), with her very thin cotton liner pad (it just keeps the other pad clean, really - it's great to just throw in the washing machine) underneath.  This allows for good contact with my horse, not a really bulky feeling.  So far so good! I haven't even been using a breast collar and my saddle and pad have stayed put even climbing steep hills. 




Hi Marilyn,

Just a quick note to say that we have just returned from our trail ride in Mountain City, TN. The terrain was extremely rugged and the horses worked ery hard! (Not to mention that it was a heat wave while we were there). We rode every day for 3 to 5 hours.
The DeSoto Saddle was awesome! This is the first time that Casper came back from a major ride without pain in his back. I checked him daily for the slightest sign of soreness and found NONE. He was energetic, moved freely, gaited wonderfully - all with no more stumbling!
Of course Casper is first on the list where comfort is concerned, but I have to say that I was very comfortable as well. I am one to get stiff and sore in the knees (and other places we won't mention). This is the first ride that I didn't come home with some type of saddle rub or soreness that makes me walk like Festus on Gunsmoke.  The other thing that I was pleased with was the security of the saddle.
The terrain tended to be straight up and straight down. I was confident and secure in the saddle at all times - good thing I bought the crupper!!
Anyway, thanks for a wonderful saddle and I am looking forward to many
years of comfortable riding for Casper and I!


Pam Borst
Mercedez Ranch



Hi Marilyn,

You asked that I send you a note and tell you how my new saddle is doing on Tshane.  Well, it's wonderful!  At last no more bridging, loin rubbing and feeling like I was teetering above my horse.  I now feel balanced and comfortable and Tshane is able to collect in a way he just couldn't with the other ill fitting saddles.  I'm so glad I didn't sell the horse and tried just one more saddle.

I'd like to tell you how secure the deep seat is.....but my horse has not shied since getting this saddle.  The most he's done is a little step to the side.  Whatever the reason, I think it's great!

His P&R's are better too, probably because he is not being stressed by a saddle that doesn't fit.
Tshane and I thank you for making a believer out of a skeptic.  I honestly thought no saddle would ever fit both of us, after all I had tried at least six other saddles from different saddlers.  I'm so glad I tried "just one more saddle".


Elinor Schultz



 "When I first tried out my new horse, the owner had a Desoto saddle on him.  I had not seen one, or even heard of one.  After not having ridden for about 3 weeks and on a strange horse to boot, I was skeptical to say the least on how I was going to feel the next day.  I felt so good, I telephoned the owner and told her I had to have one of those saddles.  This now new horse of mine was going to have a new saddle one day, but I felt he would probably grow a bit, so I waited.  As he filled out and grew the first year I had him, I worked my way through the various saddles I owned.  He never seemed comfortable and was always resistant to work.  I worked for months with a trainer for the horse, took additional lessons myself to try to correct my form as I thought I was doing something wrong.  Nothing else helped.  The time came to get a custom saddle for this horse.  I followed the steps for the fitting guide, ordered my saddle and anxiously awaited its arrival.  The day it came, I rushed out to the barn, caught the horse and proceeded to do the adjustments for him.  I had the adjustable rigging put on my saddle so as to avoid an old injury on his belly.  After all adjustments were made to rigging, stirrups and my breast collar, I got on the horse for our "test drive."

We did our warm-up walk and then I asked him to trot.  I was prepared for the usual response.  To my amazement and joy he immediately relaxed, his head dropped and he gave me the nicest big swinging trot.  That was the horse I remember trying out and where has he been for the last year??  He was saying, "thanks mom, I feel so much better."  Everyone at the barn that knows this horse noticed the difference.  They all had to get a good close look at it.  Those folks that had other "custom" endurance saddles were envious.  Even during that first time in the arena when something spooked him, I went with him, completely relaxed, in control and securely seated and balanced.  What a difference it has made.  Thank you from both of us."


Heidi Caldwell

Hi Marilyn,

Just wanted to let you know that my Zena is on the mend and I'm finally getting to put some ride time on my saddle. It's a dream, I really love it. My horse made me wait almost as long as you did :0), but you're both worth it. I will recommend your saddle to others for sure. Dr. Ann saw it last week and said "Ah, a fresh Desoto".

Take care and thankyou again.
Jennifer Robinson and Zena (who is sure glad that stick is out of there)


This story is true and no names have been changed to protect the innocent......

I, Linda Hickam, bought a mule sight unseen over the 15.1hh weighed in at 750#.....being underweight was not his only problem.........he didn't know how to trot!!!! say FESTUS was rough is an understatement..........more like a jackhammer! {maybe that's why I got migraines after my first 2 25's!......luckily my DeSoto saddle was being made as I was being jolted.. the saddle arrived...just came back from a 25 mile training ride.....WOW what a difference....Festus doesn't get mad when I put the saddle on, when I tighten the girth...when I get on {you can see I was having problems!!!!}...the saddle fits Festus ridging, no major movement back and forth.....and as for me I was in trotting heaven!!!!no longer the jackhammer is a miracle!!!!!.....Marilyn is a master saddle maker!!!!...

Thank you Marilyn!!!