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Another Aussie saddle thread (Sorry!)

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    02-10-2013, 05:32 PM
Originally Posted by wild_spot    
The only adjustability in a good Aussie made stock saddle is adjusting the flocking. A good half breed saddle has NO adjustability once made. You can buy a cheaper bates stock or fender with a changeable gullet but that is it.

How do those saddles claim to be adjustable?

A good stock saddle is made on a high quality tree that will fit most horses of the same type, and you tweak the fit by either re-flocking (traditional) or padding (half breed).
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Some companies claim that some of the stock saddles they sell have "adjustable trees". With the traditional trees that I'm familiar with maybe they somehow force the metal strap that's under the pommel out some (I'd worry about the wood cracking though) or perhaps some of the trees have a different design that I'm unfamiliar with. I honestly can't say what makes those trees "adjustable". It's not something I was willing to risk when I bought mine and I've never regretted spending the money on a good Sid Hill saddle. Some even list service to repair a broken tree (again, something I won't trust). I'd rather have a broken tree replaced or buy a new saddle. It could be a bit like some of the claims that use to go around (and probably still do) that Western trees can be adjusted with some sort of spreader (again, not something I would want done on any saddle of mine)
I know the Sid Hills I've seen are not adjustable.

My trooper is and I've had it widened once, but that's only possible because the pommel and cantle portion are both all metal attached to wood bars. Even then the adjustment has to be rather small (a very minor angling to give a slight increase to the bar width). I have a trooper saddler make the adjustments. Would never try it myself.
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    02-10-2013, 10:39 PM
A different tree is used for the flocked panels vs. more western flat panels so I would guess it isn't that easy to get flocked panels.
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    02-10-2013, 10:45 PM
Originally Posted by wild_spot    
A different tree is used for the flocked panels vs. more western flat panels so I would guess it isn't that easy to get flocked panels.
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Okay, then I'll leave it with the fleece. :) It's not too big a deal. I thought it might be handy to not have to use a thicker saddle pad, but I don't mind it.
    02-11-2013, 01:58 AM
Sorry to double post... he said I'd have the option of getting a layer of closed cell foam inserted into the panels. What is this? Would it make a thicker pad not as necessary?
    02-11-2013, 03:09 AM
I would probably still use a good wool felt pad, but yes, you could go thinner then.
    02-11-2013, 11:51 AM
Okay one more question (I'm getting to the end, I promise! Hopefully I'll have it ordered by the end of the week!) And thank you guys all for your help, I really appreciate it!

I'm looking into seats now. According to the calculator thing I used, I'm a 15.5 in Western (I ride in a 17 inch Western saddle, too big for me, so I wasn't sure). So we'll bump that to 16 because half sizes are uncommon.

This following page says on the bottom that if you're a 15-16 in Western, you'll be a 17-18 Aussie.

Then, if you look right below that at the Women's sizing guide, my measurements say otherwise. I', 5'4", weigh 125 (Or, at least, I will by the time my saddle gets here!). I wear pants size 4/6. That says I should be a 15-16, so probably 16 to be on the safe side. So, now I have that page telling me I should be a 16, 17, or 18.

So..... Which is it? I'd probably go with 17 as the average of the bunch, but I don't have any tack stores around where I could go sit in saddles, and certainly not Aussie saddles. Or maybe 18, because I was a half size and it's better to be a teensy bit big than small, right? I feel like 16 would be too small for me, even if the sizing guide says so.

Anyone on this thread about the same size as me? What do you ride?
    02-11-2013, 04:51 PM
Honestly, they are measured differently than most stock saddles so I couldn't tell you. Normally you will size smaller in a stock than most other saddles. I am 170cm and around 160lbs (I think) and I ride in a 17" english and my stock saddle is a 15.5".
    02-11-2013, 04:55 PM
Green Broke
I am 5'6" and 150 lbs and my aussie is a 16 and its not too small
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    02-11-2013, 05:44 PM
I'm a guy, 5'8" & 180 lbs. I use a 16" western, and an 18" English and Australian. I can squeeze into a 15" western and a 17" Australian, but it is a bit tight for my tastes.

If you buy from DownUnder, take a good look for QC. If the saddle looks good, try it on a saddle stand. If it feels good to your butt, put a thin cloth on your horse and see if it matches the horse's back OK. If it fails any of those, contact them and send it back for an exchange. At least, that is how I have done it.
    02-11-2013, 07:16 PM
There are a few variables to think about if you are after an Australian stock saddle. The traditional ones come in basically two varieties, what we call counter lined, and hair lined. A counter lined one will be much the same as, if not the same as, a western saddle underneath. A hair lined saddle will be much more like an English saddle underneath however they typically have cloth under them instead of leather.
The next variable will be whether they conform to the traditional style of a stock saddle (that look more like an English saddle with saddle flaps) or if they are a half breed saddle (look a little more like a western saddle with fenders).
On top of this there are different seat types too. It is usually the half breed saddles that have a wider range of seat types. So for example most of the traditional types will have a seat similar to an English saddle, on the half breed types they can have that kind of seat, or you will often find them with a hard seat like a western saddle.
There are things to consider if you are thinking about the different types. The counter lined ones tend to fit like a western saddle will, and they will be built on a tree that is pretty much the same design as a western tree. The hair lined ones will have a tree in them that bears much more resemblance to an English saddle. Counter lining tends to last longer with more consistency, however it PROBABLY won’t fit as wide a variety of horses as a hair lined saddle most likely will. Hair lined saddles will have a bit more variation of the types of horses they can fit, as the hair lining (typically horse hair, in the old ones at least) will mould to the horse’s back in a way that the counter lined ones wont and they usually don’t need much of a saddle blanket between them and the horse. The down side is though that they will need periodic re stuffing (something most people don’t bother with unfortunately). This isn’t to say, however, that you can just plonk a hair lined saddle on an extra wide horse and expect it to mould to the horse’s back, you would still need to get one appropriate to your horse.
On the top of the saddle the seat variations and the placement of the knee pads make a bit of difference to how it is to ride in, and whether it had fenders or not. Personally I like a had seat and so my half breed saddle has a seat the same as a western saddle, others like a more traditional seat. These usually come in two varieties; padded, or suspended.
Padded seats are the cheaper option and are built similar to a western seat and padded with some sort of foam, with the actual leather of the seat and seat jockeys sewn together in the traditional way and laid over the top of it. The better ones are the suspended seats saddles. They have, usually, nylon webbing kind of stretched and secured above the tree and pulled tight to get the appropriate seat shape. The webbing is then covered and the leather of the seat and jockeys are then all put over the top of it. This type of seat suspends you just above the tree and has a bit of movement and flex so it can be very comfortable to ride in. They are usually harder and more expensive to make, and take a lot more looking after than other seat types as the leather on the seat typically needs to be a little thinner and needs to be kept very supple or it will crack .(I watched my cousins custom built suspended seat half breed saddle rot and crumble because he couldn’t be bothered oiling it, tragedy to let such a saddle go to waste).
And, the different seat types tend to have different characteristics too. A hard seat, like mine, will tend to put you closer to the horse’s back than either the padded or suspended ones, but they are harder and rounder to sit in. And, most stock saddle trees, given the shape of the front of them, will tend to put your legs in a more forwards position. So for example, in my half breed saddle my legs seem to naturally want to move so that my feet are a bit in front of me and it takes me a bit of effort to sit straighter in the saddle, in my wade saddle on the other hand my heels stay under me and my legs don’t move. So if you ride with your heels more underneath you, if you are still interested in a stock saddle, at the very least a hard seat half breed would probably be the way to go.
Knee pad placement (the things Americans all call poles) will also play a part in how secure you are in the saddle. You shouldn’t be relying on them but they do come in handy if a horse bucks. The higher up the pommel they are the less security they will give you, the lower down they are the more generally speaking.
As far as getting one, they guy who built mine and my cousins saddles makes about the best around, I can ask him if I can pass on his contact details if you like (he makes a living by making around 6 saddles a year, so they might be a bit out of your price range, but if you like I can ask him if he would like me to pass on his email). Aout the second best ones I have seen come from this lot, and look all but the same as the ones my friend make, but they are still expensive. I have never sen one in person, but they look good as far as I can tell, and are about the right price for quality
Bethel Saddlery Home
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