Best saddle options for a Tennessee Walker - Page 2

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Best saddle options for a Tennessee Walker

This is a discussion on Best saddle options for a Tennessee Walker within the Gaited Horses forums, part of the Horse Breeds category

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    02-23-2011, 01:32 PM
I ride in an Imus 4-beat saddle, we use cutbacks for english.

I tried out a Barefoot Treeless Saddle on the weekend, not 100% on them as I would need to spend more time in the saddle, but the connection with the horse is great on a walker in this saddle because you can feel every movement.
The breeder I bought my mare from is all treeless and bitless and she loves them, my BO likes Imus bits and saddles as the horse responds well under that as well as it is comfortable.
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    02-23-2011, 05:22 PM
I looked at an Imus western saddle - but it weighed a bit too much for me to lift easiloy - and I did not like the rigging. I have been looking at treeless saddles - although I wonder if they would not displace my weight enough and be too hard on my horse (I weight about 150lbs).
    02-23-2011, 05:42 PM
Did you look at an Imus endurance? They're a little lighter and it is great on the walkers backs for gaiting. I am a weakling myself and so found all saddles heavy at first, but now I just chuck it up there lol my BO also has a Tucker endurance saddle that she uses on her walkers for competitive trail and trails in is lighter than the Imus and also good on the walkers backs.

I am not an expert on Treeless myself, but what I found is if you have good balance you move with the horse and therefore it is easier on a horses back than the trees that keep you off of the back of the horse in a treed saddle. The lady I bought my mare off of is ballpark about your weight and i'd say about 5'7" and she has had nothing but success with them. From what I can tell, the key is a good seat and ability to move with the horse for the treeless to work.

I am looking at a 17hh TWH gelding right now for my boyfriend and she actually recommended a treeless on his saddle bc it is easier on their backs than the BO also said that was a good option.

I think in walking horses if you're horse is properly gaited (or doesn't dead pace) you're not bouncing around and so it is easier to move with the horse.
    02-23-2011, 05:50 PM
17H! Wow he will need a ladder! :) I might look at the Imus endurance - but they are so expensive and hard to find used. I might also try out a treeless saddle. A few people at my barn have them. My horse does have lovely proper TWH gaits - flat and running walks and canter. I am improving my seat all the time - but my balance is not perfect.
    02-23-2011, 06:01 PM
I know and he is still growing! He is only 3 right now so if we do purchase him, it will still be light training this summer. He has the most wonderful disposition though and although he isn't show quality like my mare, he is a companion horse for my boyfriend and will be just for trails (he'll have no problem keeping up on those just to utilize his overstride and he'll be able to enjoy a coffee at the same time haha!)

The one thing I can say in regards to a saddle is save and get a quality one as your horse will thank you for it day after day by behaving...There are a couple people at our barn who have gone the cheaper route (as it is so hard not to when you're saving for all this tack!) and have spent more money than the cost of one Imus on 4 different saddles and she is just now realizing her horses back problems are because of this and is now purchasing something with the quality he needs.

I am in the same boat as I am saving for one myself, but am lucky as my boyfriends mom owns the barn and so is loaning me her Imus endurance until I can afford one myself. I can really only go from how I have seen the horses at our barn, but the horse with the back problems from the saddles, she put the imus on him as well as the tucker to try them both and he was like a new horse with just that change alone.

Treeless are universal to all horses as well so that is the benefit there too.
    02-24-2011, 12:52 AM
I'm not a fan of the Imus saddles. The quality I've observed is spotty. They are made by subcontractors. Not all subcontractors create equally. They are quite pricy.

The tree in a saddle has multiple jobs, but one critical job is weight distribution. The "treeless" saddles generally do not do this job well and you end up with two, big pressure points under the rider's buttocks. This is, in general, a Very Bad Thing.

The "gaited horse saddle" is more a marketing angle than a design feature. Every saddle needs to fit such that the horse has adequate shoulder room. Horses jumping 60" in a puissance or running a cross country course need at least as much room as a Walker gaiting around a flat track!

Saddles made of cheap materials are almost always of cheap design, too. Remember when you examine a saddle that if you're not impressed by what you see then you should be very concerned about what you can't see (like the tree).

After you strip away the "night soil, bovine, male" from the saddle business you're left with some basic principles of fit.

The easiest way to fit a horse is to load it up and head for the biggest tack store you can find. When you get there start trying them out 'till you find one that works for you and the horse.

    02-24-2011, 09:53 AM
Originally Posted by Guilherme    
After you strip away the "night soil, bovine, male" from the saddle business you're left with some basic principles of fit.


. Love that, G.!

G., do you have an opinion on whether the sales people at these stores will really be honest when they try to sell a saddle? If someone knows nothing about fitting a saddle and has to rely on someone else to explain the principles, it would be easy to sell them something that isn't a great fit, but suits the salesperson's need to be rid of that particular saddle right now, for whatever reason. What do you think about professional saddle fitters, people who (claim that they) are not in it to sell you a saddle?
    02-24-2011, 10:07 AM
All great feedback. What does everyone think about the flexible tree saddles? The Ortho-flex or the various brands of saddles made on the flex trees made by Steele.
    02-24-2011, 10:38 AM
I have ridden my walker in a Big horn walking horses saddle. Fit's him well and is very comfy.But is a heavy saddle. I sold it.. dumb mistake on my part. Buy I ride him now in an Eli Miller saddle A buena vista w/western fenders. It's lite weight and very comfy. I use a Simco Dusty Taylor gaited saddle on my fox trotter.
Basically any saddle will work as long as it fits properly...
    02-24-2011, 10:45 AM
I haven't seen quality problems in the Imus around here, but there are always lemons inevery bunch and we may have just gotten lucky.

I agree with G, take it to a store, I prefer buying used as you can often try the saddle out for a ride and see how your horse reacts, as every horse is different. The horse that had the back issues is a QH/TB and worked extremely well in the Tucker Endurance.

I think if you're getting a quality saddle it doesn't matter the brand (I think that saddles made specifically for walking horses just up the % chance you have of it fitting brand new as they accomodate shoulders in the design), but try some out if you can bc th most important is how the horse reacts to it and how you feel in it.

endurance, ortho-flex, saddle, tennessee walking horses

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