Australian Stock Saddle Co or DownUnder? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-24-2013, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Australian Stock Saddle Co or DownUnder?

So. I'm looking into an aussie saddle, and I'm finally ready to buy. I realize neither ASSC or DownUnder are top of the line, but it's what I can afford. From what I've looked at, DownUnder is a better brand that ASSC. So, I took a wither tracing, sent an email, only to find that Clem's withers won't fit my picks! They sent me a list of the ones she would fit, and of those, the DownUnder wizzard poley and Master Campdraft are the ones I would consider. I don't care for them as much as my top picks.

This brings me to my question. ASSC has a few saddles I'd liked, the patrol Poley style being one of them (without horn. I like that it's a bit of a crossover style, I love the flat skirting on the back). Should I go for the higher quality saddle that I don't quite like as much, or the lesser quality that I do like the style of? I'm kind of thinking quality should take precedence, but I thought I'd get another opinion.

(Sorry, I would link to the saddles but that is a lot of work on my phone.)
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-24-2013, 07:27 PM
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I don't have an experience with ASSC but I do have a DownUnder that I lovvvve.

DU's little "we'll fit the saddle for you" thing is a little weird (they want you to place the tree over the horse's shoulders, which can hinder movement+cause pain, etc) so I'm not sure how much I would take that as gospel.
However! I have a DownUnder that my mare and I loveeee. It's a little narrow for her (it's a wide but she really needs like a extra-wide or something) but she does just fine. No soreness ever, and she's just all around very comfortable undersaddle. I also love it - super super comfy!!
I didn't have a huge budget when I initially got it so I went with the cheapest of cheap - the DownUnder Synthetic Endurance saddle. 2 years later, even though it only cost just over $200, it's still going strong. I used to ride in it probably 3-4 days a week in all kinds of weather - super cold, super wet, hot, you name it, it did it. I haven't had the time to ride in some time so I really haven't used it much more than maybe once in the last 6 months, but it still does it's job and looks nearly brand new - not beat up at all.
I've even ponied a really recalcitrant horse off it, using the d-rings in front. We even had to basically drag the ponied horse sometimes and the d-rings show no sign of wear! I tried to avoid doing toooo much of that, but I think that's probably a good example of what it could do.

Anyway, I've been really really impressed with how well my DownUnder saddle has held up! I plan on buying form them next time i need a saddle.

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.

Last edited by Wallaby; 05-24-2013 at 07:30 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-24-2013, 08:23 PM
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Location: southern Arizona
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I'm guessing Clem has taller withers that won't go well with the cross-over style, flat back saddles. That is why DownUnder has recommended against those styles with Mia. ASSC mentions "The MUSTER MASTER now comes in a stuffed panel for horses with medium to higher withers" (Aussie Leather Saddles) - so I guess they agree that high withers don't go well with the cross-over style.

Since I haven't tried that style saddle, I can't say much. I've bought two saddles from DownUnder. Their Master Campdraft is still my go-to saddle after a couple of years. It has more of an English saddle feel to it. I haven't noticed any significant wear to it.

I've been underwhelmed by DownUnder's fitting advice. Like Wallaby says, they recommend putting the saddle on the horse's shoulder, and I think that sounds really STUPID. I asked one of HF's Australian members if that is how they do it in Australia, and she said no way in hell. They will adjust the saddle to be farther back if that is what the customer wants...but I still think it is a bit weird. But I've had my butt in one of their saddles for several years now, and enjoy riding it.

I have no experience dealing with ASSC.

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #4 of 6 Old 05-24-2013, 08:52 PM
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I have a friend with a Muster Master from ASSC. She's had it for ten years. It's a great saddle, fits her quarab nicely, and she had it fit to him. I rode in it once and, despite the fact that it was WAY too small for me, it was comfortable. It's never sored her gelding, even when he was fat as a pregnant mare (a couple of our friends actually thought he was a pregnant mare when they met him ).

I was going to get a saddle from ASSC for my old gelding who was extremely hard to fit. He was a 14.2hh Arab/NSH with high, narrow Saddlebred withers and broad Arab shoulders. I called the ASSC and spoke with both Colin and his wife. They were both friendly and extremely helpful. I was on a very limited budget, but they were willing to take one of their "used" saddles (saddles that were returned because they didn't fit), fit it to my gelding with a withers tracing, and allow me to do payments on it. I would definitely consider buying from them in the future, when I can afford a new saddle.
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-24-2013, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm. If the muster master is the only saddle that would likely fit Clem in that style, I'll probably go with DownUnder (Bsms, you're exactly right about her back shape). Aires, I think you actually advised me on it a few months back! But, after a lot of thought and a lot of poor reviews on that particular saddle, I don't want to risk it- not for the new price, anyways.

It looks like, then, it's a choice between the Wizzard Poley and the Campdraft Delux, as much as I like some of the ASSC crossover styles. Choices, choices! If anyone can advise on those two, I'm all ears. Bsms, what are the pros and cons of the Campdraft? Is it comfortable during long rides?

Also... since these are flocked English style, will I need to get them reflocked at some point? And could I just one an English pad / basic Western blanket?
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-24-2013, 09:46 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
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The longest ride I've made was 3 hours - we're either limited by time people are available, or by temperature in the summer. Riding loses its fun for me after 3 hours in 100+ heat! However, the saddle was fine for it. I like it much better than my Circle Y because it doesn't pry my legs apart the way our Circle Y does. My youngest daughter, OTOH, refuses to ride in an Aussie saddle. I tend to prefer feet forward, but the Campdraft tends to put my feet under my hip. I haven't tried reflocking mine.

Some email comments from DU when I was buying:

"We would recommend still a serge paneled saddle like the Campdraft Special for your horse. The Master Campdraft Deluxe or the Wizzard would be the two possible saddles in the Down Under Series of saddles. The Master Campdraft Deluxe would be the lighter of the two saddles and most similar to the saddle you currently have and does come with horn.

As we discussed on the phone, the Longreach should work fine with your horse. Because it is an endurance style saddle, it does require a thicker pad than our other models. PAD 580 or PAD 680 are what we recommend.

The Wizzard and the Master Campdraft will both sit you in the same place, further forward than on a Western saddle. The weight savings on the Master Campdraft are due to a more compact design and shorter flaps."

If you do buy from them, they will allow a return within 30 days...but without visible wear on the saddle. I find the leathers tend to scuff the sides pretty quick, so I'd recommend taking a close look on the ground for quality (DU saddles are made in India), then sit in it on a strong saddle stand, than then check fit with a thin cloth under it - all before trying to ride. I sent one saddle back for adjusting, and it ran $35 shipping from Tucson to Colorado.

I use mine with a thick wool blanket from Mayatex:

Mayatex Chaparral NZ Wool Saddle Blanket -

Here is how it looked:

Stopping Mia from a canter -

Arena riding with my daughter...she & Trooper obviously take a different approach to things -

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