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Aussie Saddles

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    01-08-2009, 03:40 PM
more on Aussie endurance saddles

It never dawned on me that most true Aussie saddles don't have horns! When I looked for saddles I mostly just looked at the endurance-type and not at the true stock saddles. It would be a really good idea to see if you can try one out ahead of time. They are certainly very different feeling. I took to mine right away, but I know that other people who have tried mine don't care for it (mostly those who use all purpose or jumping saddles). The Down Under Long Reach is a pretty close contact saddle, which I like. When I purchased my first (the Kimberly lite rider) I was looking for a close contact saddle to use for training that still had a horn (just kind of helpful when on a 3-yr-old). However, I decided I didn't need the horn when I upgraded to a Longreach. I then purchased a longreach with a horn from the clearance page for my mother. Funny thing is, I find myself using her saddle with the horn more often than mine--good to hang things on, extra security (psychological at least!). I guess it's a convenience factor. I like the looks of the saddle without the horn much better, though. The Longreach doesn't come close to comparing in looks with the beautiful true Aussie stock saddles out there. Those saddles (Syd Hill, Toowoomba, etc.) are works of art! But the Down Under saddles are nice, decent quality saddles for the price (but don't go for the Kimberly saddles, especially if you can get a used or slightly blemished higher quality saddle at near the same price). I don't know anything about the Ride About Endurance saddle. It looks okay, but the price seems to good to be true (if it's everything they say it is).

The Down Under saddles aren't made in Australia. They're made in Asia but they are by no means the "cheap junk" that many Asian-made Aussie saddles are. The Down Under website gives full info. On the saddles. I'm not sure if it would be possible to find an Australian-made saddle in the U.S. For under $2,000. I could be wrong.

I spent a lot of time looking for my saddles and I've been pretty happy with both of the Longreach so far (I've had one for 3 years and one for a year). The people at the shop have always been very helpful and good to deal with. They don't charge an arm and a leg for shipping, either. It is a good company to work with. They really want you to be happy with the saddle because word-of-mouth is the best advertising, so they'll do whatever they can to ensure you and your horse have the right fit. Which reminds me, be extra sure to get the seat size correct because the poleys can be really obstructive and uncomfortable if the saddle is too small for the rider.

Hope this was helpful. You probably think I'm a Down Under rep the way I'm pushing the saddles! I am in no way an expert on any of this. Like I said, I've never ridden in a true stock saddle--just the endurance types.
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    01-08-2009, 04:54 PM
Lol no...i don't think you are a down under rep. It just sounds like to me that you have been in my shoes before....looking for that great fitting saddle that is ideal for both horse and rider. That is why I've decided to go with the aussie saddle, because almost everything I have read about them have been so positive. My current saddle is borrowed and of course doesnt fit him as it should...wich may explain why Major has some buck in him now...well that and that little saddle breaking with me incident lol. Anyway...sorry im rambling now...back to the point. Id really LOVE to have one of the true aussie saddles actually made in australia...did you see the one posted on here? If you havent..check it out, its a beautiful saddle! Rambling again lol! Right now im going for a little less expensive, so Im seriously considering the longreach, since you all seem to like it so much. I had the same feeling about that endurance saddle as you did, sounds like a great deal but how can they sell such a high quality saddle so cheap.
    01-08-2009, 07:21 PM
That saddle from James is really nice! It's a little scary to buy an expensive saddle when you aren't sure if you are going to like it, or aren't sure if it will fit your horse. But the bonus is that they retain their value so well, whereas sometimes you can't (and shouldn't) give the cheaper ones away. I've got Morgans who tend to be a bit on the "heavy" side. Ideally I would have taken them to the store to be fitted, but there is nothing even remotely close by. You can give Down Under the tracing and your horse's description. If you think the saddle isn't fitting correctly you can send it back w/ a set of photos showing it on your horse from all angles and they'll correct it. It's funny--I remember when I was a kid we used to put any saddle on any horse. We didn't think much about the fit and never seemed to have any troubles (although I suppose when you are a kid and weigh 75 lbs. The saddle fit doesn't matter as much to the horse as when you are old and weigh twice that much!) Anyway, I know some people don't think you can ensure a proper fit without having a physical try-out. Like I said, ideally a saddle is fit by a professional, but not all of us have that luxury. Down Under does a pretty good job teaching you how to judge the saddle's fit. All of this increased knowledge about saddle fitting can sometimes be a mixed blessing. It's wonderful to have a properly fitting saddle, but I'm afraid sometimes people are too eager to blame bad behavior or bad riding on saddle or bridle issues. It's always good to check your equipment for fit and your horse for soreness, but sometimes the problem actually is the horse or the rider (in my case mostly the rider!) And speaking of behavior, if your youngster tends to start the canter with a little buck you'll like the security of poleys on an Aussie saddle. I used to ride a ton when I was a kid and then stopped for awhile. I got back into it about 9 years ago. I started my own 3-yr-old (first time starting a horse) with the Longreach. It worked well because it was light and easy to use like an English saddle, yet as secure as a western saddle (however, he still managed to buck me off twice that first summer!)

Call the people at Down Under and tell them all about yourself, your horse, and what riding you plan to do. They should be able to give you lots of advice.

Good luck!!!
    01-08-2009, 09:07 PM
How much would it cost to ship a saddle from Australia to the US? There are quite a few nice second hand Syd Hills and such in the low $1000 range around here. Even looking on Ebay could prove useful, if you decide you want to go for the Aussie made stock saddle. Otherwise the Downunder saddles look fine for your purpose :)
    01-09-2009, 01:07 PM
I had emailed for some info about the ride about endurance saddle and then asked them if it were such a nice saddle how could they sell it for so cheap. They got back to me today:
Dear Sandy,

Thank you for taking the time to e-mail us.

We do not mind your question at all. It is a very good thing to ask actually. We lowered the price just as a Holiday special. Nothing else. The only thing is, we have been selling so many that we are simply trying to keep up with orders and are not getting the time to remove the specials.

We do hope that this is helpful. Please let us know how we may be of any further service to you.

    01-09-2009, 11:15 PM
Off topic a little, sorry.

I'm thinking about buying a stock and was wondering if any Aussie's could give me advice on which brand is alright here, and where to get it.

I'm not wanting a great saddle, just something to ride my girl in for about six months, and maybe the occasional trail ride or something.

Is the swing fender or the stirrup one better? My girl is three and is not broken and just wanted something more secure than my dressage saddle. How do they fit horses generally, I guess they are made for the Stock horses, which are somewhat similar to Anglo's in my experience, so would most of them fit mine alright?

Are they the same sizing as english saddles?
    01-11-2009, 07:01 PM
Hey Andi,

Well, what is your price range fi you don't mind me asking? If you want a decent cheap saddle, I have heard that the synthetic 'Ammo' saddle is fairly good. I think its about $800, and gives you a centered seat. It has fender type stirrups. It is designed by Steve Jeffreys I think, and is the same as his leather 'Ammo', which goes for considerably more money.

I would caution you. DO NOT buy one of the cheap leather ‘marshall poley’ saddles, or the ‘kimberley poley’ saddles. They are cheap and nasty, are difficult to fit to horses and people alike, and from my experience really don’t offer you much security. Plus, resale value is NIL. My friend can’t sell hers for $60.

Now if you want a nice leather stock saddle, there are many out there, but they are a bit more pricey. You can get a second hand Syd Hill (a reputable brand) for anywhere in the mid $1000’s up to the $2000 range. The Bates Kimberley stock saddles are nice, and they are handy because they have the easy change gullet system. New, the saddles are about $2,200. They make a fender and a full skirt model. I am actually going to be selling my Bates Kimberley Swinging fender shortly, for about $1800. Your in Canberra as well, so if you’re interested let me know. Not sure what your price range is. It’s about a year old. I found it to be a great saddle, gives you an amazingly secure seat. The fenders give you decent leg mobility, and I find also add to the security, as they ‘hug’ your lower leg and make it hard to lose a stirrup. The easy change gullet system is handy as usual, and I have used a few different gullets in it.

Fender vs. Full skirt… Really its personal preference. I really liked my swinging fender, I’m only selling it as I am buying a new, full skirt hand sewn drafter stock saddle. It will be better suited to when I show my ASH. Fenders aren’t allowed in some ASH classes. If your buying the saddle for extra security, I don’t think you can go past the fender. Like I said, it hugs your lower leg and moves as your leg moves. Fenders can be hung from the tree of the saddle itself, or from a stirrup bar. Different models hang the fenders from different positions, creating different leg positions. You can get fenders that put you in more of a traditional English seat, legs under you, or a fender that puts you in the more traditional stockmans seat, legs in front a bit and seat further back. The full skirt model has stirrups hung from a stirrup bar, exactly the same as an English saddle. Fender stirrups are very fiddly to change the length of, but once changed the buckles can’t rub. Fenders are also harder to replace. The normal stirrups and leathers on a full skirt are easier to change and also easier to replace.

Let me know if you want to know anything else!

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