Do you have one? If so what made you decide on it and are you happy with your decision? Basically just tell me about yours, what your using it for, where you got it, how much and so on... thanks in advance!
I asked about synthetic saddles in my last post and thanks to all who helped me out with that!
I have a cheapie that I got at a local tack shop, used, I think I paid $175 for it. While I wouldn't recommend a cheap one unless you can look at it in person, mine has been great so far. It's not pretty, but it is very comfortable. As I have said before, we were lost on a trail ride in October and ended up riding for 5 hours, the last where we mostly trotted, and I wasn't sore at all the next day. When I rode Western my knees and butt would hurt after an hour. I'm sure there are comfier Westerns than what I had though.
The main reason I ended up with mine was bc it fit my hard-to-fit mare. It has the serge panels, not the fleece bottom. Years ago I rode in one that a friend had and I liked it a lot. It saved me a few times from being dumped when a horse shied. Those poleys work great if the saddle fits. My current one is a little big, but I still like it. I don't think the poleys would necessarily keep me in if my horse spooked badly, but they help keep me from sliding forward in a fast stop. They would also help someone who has trouble staying put when going downhill.
I did buy new fenders from downunderweb bc the ones that came with it were as short as they could go, and still a little long. Now I can shorten them up enough for my son to use. I also bought EZ Ride Stirrups, bc we trail ride and they are really comfy. Mine had the cheap western type stirrups. The English style ones that come on many Aussies are nice, but they really bang you in the shins when you carry it around! They're heavy. Some day I will probably invest in a nice Aussie.
I have a stock saddle, and saving up to get a custom made one. Absolutely love it! I find I ride a lot better in it, and my horse responds a lot more to my seat for whoas etc in the stock saddle. Also very comfy :]
There are two types of stock saddle, the normal one with the full flaps, and the swinging fender. The full flap type is favoured in shows over here, and the fender saddle is used more in polocrosse/campdrafting/general stockwork. You can also get the stirrups/fenders hung from different point on the tree, depending on wether you like the more centered, leg underneath you dressage-style position or the more stock type leg forward position.
A cheap stock saddle will do you ok, but you wil never now how much of a difference there is until you ride in a well made one. A well made stiock saddle is worth its weight in gold! It centers you and gives you a deep seat, and adds a LOT of security, so excellent for breaking out youngsters/riding out a buck/shy, or the fast turns and stops you need to work cattle.
The pictures: The brown fender saddle is a bates kimberly swinging fender, which is what I have at the moment. Awesome saddle, the only complaint I have is it is not as close contact as I would like.
The other saddle, the full flap, is a well made australian stock saddle.
I bought a synthetic one at my local tack shop. I don't really like it I would buy a Wintec or a leather one so I wasted money buying it. Don't really use it, just sitting in my room collecting dust. I might actually sell it to buy a all purpose. There good for trail riding and gaming!