Arabs and western saddles - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-05-2012, 02:19 AM Thread Starter
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Arabs and western saddles

I have a 4yo - straight egyptian bred - gelding. I've been looking for months for a western saddle to use just to work him at the barn. I'm an english rider, so I'm completely out of my element. The BM - who spent years in the arab world and has since switched to the QH/contesting world - and her daughter told me to look for FQH bars. Is this true?

Arab bars are near impossible to find and don't exist for an affordable price - I'm talking $200ish or less because it's only for work since he's a hunt seat horse. FQH bars, on the other hand, are in absolute abundance here in QH country. If this statement is true, then finding a saddle will become exponentially easier. I've never heard this before, though.

Does anything know how true this is?

The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears. ~Arabian Proverb
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-05-2012, 02:30 AM
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FQHB and Arab bars both have a flatter surface, from what I understand, but arab bars are a bit different in that the surface changes a bit toward the back for a better fit. I'm still not totally clear on the difference.

That said, our older (25 years old) crates barrel saddle has FQHB (according to serial number) and fits our arabs well. My mom's newer Billy Cook also has FQHB, and sets the pommel right down on their withers, as it is too wide for them. We recently purchased a middle aged Circle Y in a semi-QHB and it fits both arabs very nicely.... If you have the opportunity to try different saddles on your horse (maybe saddles that your friends own, who have serial numbers and such to verify make and tree size, as well as age which can also make a difference) find the one that best fits, and then buy one with the same tree, in the same brand, and of a similar age, or at least the same measurements. Unfortunately, not all trees advertised as FQHB are the same size.
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-05-2012, 02:54 AM
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Obviously it depends on the horse and how their back is conformed, but, a Arab tree fits my Arab mare pretty well (better if she weren't so darn fat) all over while a FQHB tree fits fine in the shoulder area but has major issues over her back. Something about them just doesn't follow her back correctly. She puts up with it and in a pinch they work find but perfect fit-wise, they don't fit really at all. Last summer I was riding her in a FQHB on a daily basis and by the end of the summer she was really displaying some "fun" "I HATE this saddle behaviors" that totally went away once she got into a saddle that truly fit her...

On the Arab saddle front, what size saddle are you looking for? I have a 15.5 cordura (Bighorn) that I bought - expected to use it more but it's really just ended up sitting in the tack room, gathering dust. I could be willing to part with it... :)

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-05-2012, 03:04 AM Thread Starter
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I am actually looking for something in the 15-15.5" range. :) I'm assuming bighorn is a brand of saddle?
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-05-2012, 06:22 AM
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Each Arabian will take a different size Tree, I have seen Arabians that use Semi-QH, Arabian and Full-QH Trees.

There are some Templates on this site that can give you a rough idea of sizing.

Yes, Bighorn is a decent Brand.

If you are looking to spend 200.00 be careful not to end up with one of the No-Name junk Saddles. Not all Saddles without a name are junk, but an awful lot of them are Imported.

Post some picks of prospective ones you find for some thoughts by the members here


May all your Trails be happy and safe ones

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post #6 of 6 Old 08-05-2012, 09:06 AM
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Arabians are all over the board in terms of back shape. High withers or no witherrs, flat or curved front to back...they really vary. My two (one is 1/4 Appy) have high withers & very short backs. A Circle Y Arabian tree does OK, although it is a little long for the mix. FQHB in an Abetta were too long and flat - bridged the back & put all the pressure on the front and back tips. That made my longest backed horse very pissy. SQHBs gouge the shoulders with their tips in front.

With a used saddle, about all you can do is try some and take a close look before riding, then return if it isn't a match.

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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