Our Macel Samba was purchased after attending the 2017 Science of Motion International Conference in October of 2017. I had read all of the recommendations and testimonials by other members of the IHTC course but was finally able to see and touch the saddle at the conference, as well as speak personally to other saddle owners and Patrick Fesquet of Macel. I took a leap of faith and ordered the Samba because it looked as though it could work but I was not entirely sure it would.

Fitting my 14.2HH quarter horse over the last several years has been frustrating, even with the help of a professional saddle-fitter. My girl is a heavily muscled (now), short coupled, short backed, almost mutton withered quarter horse. The saddle we were riding in was a custom made, for us, eventing saddle, in a generous medium-wide, leaning toward wide. It was very close to fitting but not totally stable once in motion.

The Macel Samba arrived two weeks ago and we are both (the horse and myself) thrilled! Ecstatic is also a good word. We are both able, for the first time, to feel each other, muscle by muscle, and communicate back to back. The mare has been very clear – this is our saddle. She now looks forward to the work and cannot wait to get tacked up to go. It fits her well, even though it is a medium width, and is totally stable on her back in motion. We are able to better analyze where each of our weaknesses are and address them throughout the ride. But the saddle stays put while also somehow moving with her and the changes in direction of her back muscles. It fits both of us! It is so very comfortable for me as well as the mare. This will be the last saddle I buy, unless or until, Macel offers the same stability as the Samba in a jumping style.

Marge Nickels

I love my Macel Samba. It allows me to ride horses without back pain. I believe the reason is the classic design: the seat positions the rider in the ideal place on the horse, allowing to achieve neutral spine and manage the forces acting on the spine more effectively.
This differs from the modern dressage design, deep seat, excessive padding and leg rolls. I found myself fighting these saddles rather than focusing on the horses coordination.
It felt difficult and painful to find my balance and remain motionless through my pelvis. This excessive movement created searing lumbar back pain as well as disrupted thecommunication with my horse. The Samba was like better cell phone reception, no interference and the conversation was much clearer. I found an immediate response from the horse to the slightest changes in my muscles nuances.
Above all, I was able to ride four horses in one day and amazingly, had no back pain during or after my ride.
The price is very reasonable compared to most other saddle brands on the market.
The Samba fit all four horses, all different breeds, sizes and body types, and they also love the comfort and stability of the saddle. No saddle fitting needed!
The Samba stays with the horses, no slipping or moving during motion, essential to helping the horses remain focused on their body coordination.
I no longer feel like a nuisance, passenger perched high on their backs, but I feel much more involved, connected, as we can move as one and work together.
The mindful rider cannot do without the Macel Samba.

Sarah Lindsay Miller, Spruce Grove Alberta

I own three horses for which I wanted to have the best tools I could to better prepare for the athletic demands I may ask of them… I was nervous to buy another saddle…

Well….I took the calculated risk… I absolutely love my Macel Samba! This saddle is EVERYTHING it was promised and designed to be! I have found this saddle much more stable than any previous saddles I’ve ridden in… Its design not only gives me freedom to find my seat and posture better, but I can also feel my horses movement so much easier without the saddle adding further complications of instability…. 💜

The Macel Samba saddle not only Is a beautiful saddle and a work of art, it is also an awesome tool to help develop my horses athleticism…

🎨 Now… Onto painting my dream…

Bonny Curless

When I took a test ride on a friend’s Macel Samba I also noticed something wasn’t quite right with the way my horse was going. I can’t remember now what it was, it was just a small difference. However, having heard a lot about the virtues of this saddle I got off thinking “Huh .. well I didn’t notice much about the saddle.” It was when pondering this fact afterwards that I realized that this was the magic of the Samba! Instead of fighting the saddle I was free to concentrate solely on what was happening underneath me with my horse and was able to very quickly pick up the tiniest details. Needless to say, not long after I bought my own Samba!

Having ridden in my Samba for just over a year now I can honestly say I am 100% satisfied. I love the close contact of the saddle, and the fact that it doesn’t hold me in place but allows me to subtly nuance my pelvis and balance to achieve a better ride. I ride not only my 16.3 hh TB x Percheron in it but many other client horses which range across the whole gamut of sizes. I use it mostly for schooling in the arena, but also for hacking out along the dirt roads and going for a gallop across the ranch. It gives me a close connection and stability that I’ve not had before with other saddles. When working at a high level of concentration and collection this saddle doesn’t shift laterally on the circle and turns so the horses aren’t having to battle slight saddle shifts when they are trying to work at their best. I am much better able to help my client horses with therapy through motion when I ride them in the Samba. One saddle for life. This saddle is truly unbelievable!

CC Brewer, Larkspur, Colorado

I purchased a Macel Samba a little over a year ago.

I was in the market for a new saddle and had contemplated getting an upgraded edition of the dressage saddle I rode in at the time, which had minimal knee rolls and did not have too high of a cantle. But I hoped to find a saddle that would truly allow me to find my neutral position, to actually feel my horses’ backs, not place a wedge between my body and my horse, a saddle that did not feel like a wall between our communication. Also, a saddle that I could use on all the horses I work with, not just my own; the Macel Samba design allows such adaptability. I ride nearly every day, working together with my horses in the arena and also hacking throughout the desert hills and the steep Sierra Nevada mountains, thus the simplicity of one saddle to fit my needs is of importance to me. Reading about the Samba piqued my interest and I liked the looks of design, allowing freedom of movement for the horse and not locking the rider into a constrained position. I took the plunge and ordered. I am so glad I did!

The Macel Samba is a joy to ride in, a lightness in “feeling” in the connection with my horses’ backs as we adjust to nuances in tone,communicating through our sensors, a great awareness from one another emanating through the close contact. As a chef, I insist upon excellent quality tools in the kitchen to help the craft and art of cooking be as efficient and effortless as possible. As a student in the art of riding, the Samba saddle has helped me to refine my skills, to achieve an awareness of subtle tones and feedback I’d never found before. Good tools are an essential asset for the practitioner of any artistic endeavor!

(Several friends who are Western and/or Cowboy dressage riders have now tried my Samba on their horses and have been amazed by what they can feel; their own saddles set them high above their horses and they have been unaware of the movement beneath them, or how very tight they are in their knees and lower thigh. This has been an eye opener for them) Amy Potter

, I bought my Macel Samba after I had my botch hip replacement surgery. It is the only saddle that I can ride in comfortably. It doesn’t force me into a position that isn’t natural for my own body, nor is it so deep that it makes me rock back and for with the horses stride. I had purchased years prior to meeting JL a County saddle. The saddle fitter came and had me try 3-4 different styles, then I selected the one I liked and she took measurements. Well I tried a 17 1/2 in seat, she ordered and 18 saying the deeper the seat the bigger it needed to be…then the regular tree she said I needed an extra wide. Well when the saddle came, it was too wide and to long, sat back on Maggies loins. It also fell down so I had to fold towels and build it up in like 2-3 inches easy. So the saddle fitter blamed me and then stuffed the saddle so it sat level, it was like riding a camel. There was no way I could even feel what my horse was doing.

With the macel, my horses can feel the slightest muscle adjustment in my body, it’s like becoming one with my horse, my thoughts flow thru me to her. I could never ever have achieved this riding in an over stuffed super deep saddle. I’m not a tall person so the cantel hit me mid back, not good for me. I wouldn’t trade or sell my saddle for anything in the world.

Plus it has helped me find my balance with Maggie.

Monica Gray and Maggie

I started my riding with second hand saddles, a Röösli, added a Kieffer, Passier GP, followed by Equipe dressage (new saddle), Prestige eventing, changed the Equipe to Kent & Master GP drop panels for my chestnut and Albion K2 all second hand saddles. Now finally I got the Samba from Macel. It came highly recommended by Jean Luc Cornille and members of Science of Motion. My expectations of course were high!

First thing I noticed, the leather quality is the best I had so far in my life with saddles and it is very lightweight. I ordered as suggested, 17inch, medium tree, and no further details except for colour and name plate. First fitting with both my horses confirmed that it really fits very different horse types without problems, the high wither, dropped back type of horse, the regular horse, and my friend tried it on middle sized Irish pony and it is a fit.

My horses are happy with the Macel Samba. There is space at the wither, the shoulders can move freely thanks to the special design of the tree and the panels.

The deep seat saddles altered my seat in a very unfortunate way, it kept me in a certain position and did not allow to follow the movement of the horse. I feel much better now what is going on in regard of the movement of the horses. During the chance from the deep seat saddle to the Macel Samba I lost balance once in a while in trot and canter, work in progress to find my balance with the new saddle. The communication between my body and my horses via the saddle is a lot more subtle than it used to be.

So I can truly say that my high expectations were met and my horses can move freely under the saddle.

Heidi Renken
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Hey guys! With a few saddle questions lately I just wanted to share my thoughts. Ruby is a very wide girl (2XW in light purple ##### gullet). I just couldn’t sit properly. I had a lower back that was killing me. With Ruby’s big push, the cantle would push my pelvis forward. I tried sitting so many different ways to figure it out and to stop smashing my ‘bits’ into the pommel. I tried two inexpensive flat seated dressage saddles but still had that same problem. I had been going back and forth with buying the Macel. I’m not rich. I don’t own my own land. I don’t own a float or tow vehicle and I drive an $800 car. (It rocks!!) I have never been to University and I work in retail. Bryden and I will live with my Dad forever so we can do what we do. I 100% understand the financial decision with the Macel. I get it. It is now the most expensive thing I have ever bought.

I brought the Macel home from Conference with me to NZ. My first month in the Macel I was amazed at what I could now feel. My legs weren’t having to do the splits in wide saddles. And I could adjust my seat as I wasn’t locked in. This past week JL has corrected important details to the way I was sitting in it. I am blown away by the difference. Ruby is a laid back girl that usually takes some encouraging. Now I feel I have to be very careful with asking quietly. I have had a couple of moments where I felt her connect to my back and she felt like a butterfly in my hands. (I have posted in the comments JLs advice to me as I was still riding lower leg to hand)

In the end I thought… you know what, I have worked hard my whole life. I have spent thousands of hours with horses. I am passionate about IHTC and helping my girls move pain free. I deserve to have the tools that are going to help me. This work is challenging. Why make it more challenging? So start selling unwanted stuff (I had to). Have a garage sale, re-mortgage your house or sell one of your kids! lol you won’t regret it. Ok you might regret selling your kid but you can have another. (why is there no tongue in cheek emoji!)

Jaime Wilson
New Zealand