Saddle Choice - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-26-2010, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
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Saddle Choice

I was told early on that you CANNOT ride a gaited horse in a full skirted western saddle because it will interfere with the gait and prevent them from using their hind end and getting underneath themselves.

If a western pleasure QH can do it, what makes these guys so darn special?

Here's the type of skirt I'm talking about:

...except mine isn't a Dale Chavez (gosh darnit... )

...I'm also thinking it might be horse dependent? The horse I'm working on is rather short, 14.3hh, and has a shorter back. But my training saddle is wider...and the narrow tree on the "gaited" saddle I'm using is not good.
DunLegend is offline  
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-26-2010, 08:42 AM
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You can ride a gaited horse in any saddle that fits.

That said, a steer roping saddle with full skirts can be problematical with some horses due to the way they move. Horses with short backs can be a challenge, but this just means the rider has to be a little smarter than the saddle!!!!!

The "gaited horse saddle" is a marketing approach, not a saddle design approach. They are not necessarily bad, but neither are they necessarily good.

I don't seen any inherent difficulties in the saddle noted in the photo. It might work, it might not.

Personally, I've always had minimal skirting on my Western saddles. I'm not out roping 1700 pound ladinos in brush country so I just don't need that level of saddle strength. That strength comes at the price of significant weight. With horses it's generally not the miles but the kilograms!!!

So find a saddle that fits the horse and meets the requiements of the discipline in which you ride.

Good luck in your choice.

Guilherme is offline  
post #3 of 7 Old 06-27-2010, 04:58 PM
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Agree - a gaited horse saddle is a gimic. I use a western saddle and my husband uses a trooper saddle. The tree needs to fit the horse and the seat needs to fit you. You don't say what type of gaited horse you have but the only thing that I would caution is to verify that the saddle does not restrict the gaited horse's front shoulder movement. A gaited horse's shoulder should slope for them to get the reach. I don't see anything wrong with this saddle but would have to see it on the horse to know if it works.
RockNRoll is offline  
post #4 of 7 Old 06-28-2010, 11:23 AM
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If you have one of the extra short backed gaiters I think that saddle may not work simply because the skirt might rub and poke them in the loins. That and the free shoulder seem to be the main problems with using a longer skirted western saddle. Personally I have a barrel saddle I ride my boy in. I wanted to be sure so I took him to an Amish saddle maker and had him fitted. Had to be a virtually non-existent skirt because of his really short back, he recommended full QH bars for him and it fits perfectly. All depends on the horse!
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-03-2010, 03:25 PM
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The western saddle that I had with full skirt did not work with my short backed gaited horse. When he would bend the skirt would hit his side and make the saddle pop up throwing my off to the side. Did not like that at all.
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-04-2010, 01:48 PM
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It isn't that they're special, it's that they have different conformation. If you happen to have a gaited horse with similar conformation to a WP QH, you can most likely ride them in the same saddle.

Regular western saddles don't fit my Paso (Fendi on Flickr - Photo Sharing!). I use a gaited trail saddle on him and it fits him perfectly. There's nothing "gimmicky" about gaited trees... they're made to fit a gaited horse just as Arab trees are made to fit an Arab and QH trees are made to fit a QH. Gaited horse trees are made for horses with angular toplines, pronounced withers, and large shoulders. Just because some gaited horses don't need gaited trees doesn't make it a gimmick or a marketing ploy.

My mare is built more like a QH - except that she still has the very large shoulders that are characteristic of a gaited horse (Mystique on Flickr - Photo Sharing!). If I ride her in a saddle with a full skirt and regular QH bars, the top of her shoulders get sore and she works off her front end. So I ride her in a reining saddle. Presto - she doesn't get sore and is able to work off her hind end.

So that's why gaited horses can get heavy on the forehand if ridden in a full skirt saddle - because a lot of them have very large shoulders. It's not their gait that prevents them from being able to be ridden in a full skirt saddle, just their conformation. If your horse's topline is too round for a gaited tree, you can give a full skirt QH tree saddle a try - just be mindful of his shoulders.
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-04-2010, 08:28 PM
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Fully agree my husband has a spotted saddle which is almost all TWH and he uses the TexTan Kotula FQHB. Works perfectly and sits great on the horse. I use the Tucker on my RMH mare, but it also works on my QH. A lot depends how the skirt is made.

Basically the saddle needs to have a short skirt of 24" or be rounded.
Macslady is offline  

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