English or Western saddle for trails? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 12-13-2012, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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English or Western saddle for trails?

My guy is outgrowing his saddle, so we're on the hunt for a new one.

Problem is, we're probably going to spend the next few years out on the trails, instead of in the ring. My plan was evening, but he really hates the dressage part and, although super talented, is also not big on jumping. Loves spending hours on the trails though!

A friend has a Billy Cook Reining saddle for sale, and she's offered it to me for a pretty good price. The other option is to keep looking for a new dressage saddle to use.

The advantage with a dressage saddle is that if he ever develops a work ethic regarding ring work I won't have to spend money on a new one.

The reining saddle is far more comfortable then any English I've sat in though, and seems like it would be more comfortable for him when the miles start adding up.

Anyone used both for serious trails? Would love some advice!
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post #2 of 17 Old 12-13-2012, 06:39 PM
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My opinion will be a bit biased because I've only ever ridden western, but to me, it seems that a western type saddle is better for the horse if you are planning to spend many long hours in the saddle at a time. Western saddles spread the weight of the rider out over a larger surface area and that makes the pressure on the back less per square inch.
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post #3 of 17 Old 12-14-2012, 07:53 AM
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I used Alamo pleasure trails saddle (Western) for while. After I switched to English I just use my dressage saddle and like it so much more. As with everything - it's a matter of personal preference. :)

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post #4 of 17 Old 12-14-2012, 08:16 AM
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Also, if you're going to spend hours out riding, You have more options w/the western saddle to add bags to carry food, water, etc.
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post #5 of 17 Old 12-14-2012, 08:22 AM
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I like both and switch up often. It's up to you, really.
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post #6 of 17 Old 12-14-2012, 08:23 AM
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I would suspect western saddles ARNT better for the horse. Dont see to many of them on long endurance rides.
Dressage, Trooper, Australian, Endurance or Western trail. Look for something comfortable and the fits you and the horse. Not so much what is a good deal. Arnt reiners pretty big heavy and solid ?
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post #7 of 17 Old 12-14-2012, 08:45 AM
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I switch between my dressage saddle, which I think is the most comfortable in the world, and my western barrel saddle. I have ridden 20 miles in my dressage and the same in my western. Just depends what we are doing that day. If we are doing a lot of trotting and running it is easier for me to get my butt out of the saddle in my dressage.

I can hook just as many saddle bags to my dressage as I can my western lol. Might not the be prettiest but it's doable.
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post #8 of 17 Old 12-14-2012, 08:56 AM
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Split the difference:

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post #9 of 17 Old 12-14-2012, 08:57 AM
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I ride on be trails in my Dressage or jump saddle. A western saddle is always a bad idea for me - they make me nervous.
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post #10 of 17 Old 12-14-2012, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Joe4d View Post
I would suspect western saddles ARNT better for the horse.
Very untrue. If you are basing your opinion on endurance rides, it's apples and oranges. A Western saddle is designed to spread the weight of the saddle and rider over a larger area then an English or endurance saddle. A ranch saddle or a trail saddle is made to be ridden in and worked in all day long so it needs to be made comfortable for horse and rider.

An endurance saddle has a specific purpose which is specific to endurance. In all the years I've been trail riding, (and I started out in an English saddle) I've only seen a handful of riders in an endurance saddle and it was because that is what they had not that they went out and bought that saddle with trail riding in mind.

On the other hand, a reining saddle is not well suited for long trail rides since that is not the design of the saddle.

The long and short of it is the old saying "the right tool for the job". You can use a pair of pliers to drive a nail but a hammer is the right tool.
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