Thank you all! I love the saddle. We have a member here, Southerntrails, that had it made for me about 1 1/2 years ago. That pic was the day I got it but it still looks the same and I've got tons of miles on it now.
I'd get an all around saddle. They are comfortable and don't stand you up all the time like roping saddles do, but you can still do some roping in them.
I've been doing most of my training in my roping saddle, and if I'm riding a horse that might give a buck every now and then, it really sucks cause the rope saddle sets you up and pushes you forward, and *plop* you go over the horses shoulder.
I'm looking for a barrel racing saddle to do my training in now, as well as breaking two fillies later this year. I'm also planning on barrel racing, so it's a win-win.
I second Iride's suggestion of a good ranch type saddle, though I prefer one with a Modified Association tree. That's what I use to break all my colts in because it's secure, sturdy, and dang comfortable. They don't "stand you up" like what QHrider mentioned that roping saddles do (IMHO roping trees aren't comfortable for the long haul anyway), and they are designed to be ridden in for hours every day.
I, like Iride, have a hard seat saddle and wouldn't trade it for all the money in the world. Sitting in that is about like putting my butt in a glove. The reason that I prefer the MA tree over a Wade or an A-fork is because I don't like bucking rolls, but I still need something there for when a colt decides to blow up with me. The swells on a MA tree are big so I have something to grab with my legs in a dire emergency.
I've got a Circle Y Flex-Lite Shawnee and I love it, but if I had it to do over I would go with the deeper seat of a barrel saddle, and get a rough cut one. I think "Josey" would be the good one. My trainer said it is a confidence builder saddle. LOVE the Flex tree so I can put it on just about any horse.
The most comfortable and secure saddle I have ever used was an Australian stock saddle. Kept me from being bucked, thrown, or unseated for many years while riding a bucking/spooking moronic gelding (would spook from nearly everything -the arab half would notice something was different and the quarter half was unable to process if it was dangerous and we would leap or bolt). The saddle is also really good for trail riding, made for packing bags in front or behind the saddle and really holds you in place on steep hills. Other than that, I would use a barrel saddle for general riding. Posted via Mobile Device
I would get a good ranch saddle. They are typically high cantle, deep seated saddles that are made to take a beating. I prefer one built on an A fork tree because I find that they fit a better variety of horses. I can ride mine for 5 or 6 hours without any discomfort - and it's a hard seat (not cushioned).
I was curious on what those poleys were used for..or the swell things behind the actual swell...do they hold you in more or what? I seen these at a gaming show. I would use these for training honestly because a barrel saddle isn't the best for training...I find them more "fragile"...I would get some type of roping saddle with a deep seat. I wouldn't get anything with a shallow seat.