Light weight, close contact western saddle - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 03-03-2013, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Virginia
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Light weight, close contact western saddle

I am thinking of buying a Western saddle, I've only ridden in one once and found it hard to keep my feet in those long stirrups but with time, m sure I will adjust! Anywho, I need a light weight saddle, I've tried to put some of my friends saddles on Joe and am just not strong enough to do it without practically knocking him down (and re injuring my shoulder!). I would also like close contact, I remember feeling like I was riding the saddle instead of the horse. And, I ride in a 16" English saddle, what size do iBook for in a western saddle or are they the same?

Anyone have any suggestions of what brands I should look at? Thanks!
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post #2 of 5 Old 03-03-2013, 11:39 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Chino Valley, AZ
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Just a couple of things.

There's really no such thing as a "close contact" western saddle. When I asked my trainer friend to explain as simply as possible the difference between western and English riding, this was her answer: In English you ride the horse; in western you ride the saddle. (I was trying to explain to my very non-horsey boyfriend the difference between the teo disciplines an he just wasn't getting it). That being said, there are some endurance saddles that are the closest thing to being "close contact" you'll find.

As for your stirrups, if you're having trouble keeping your feet in the stirrups, it's because your stirrups are too long.

If you're looking for a lightweight saddle, I'd go with a synthetic, like Abetta or Big Horn. My best friend had an Abetta endurance saddle that could have been called "close contact" for a western-style saddle (nowhere near what you'd find in an English saddle, but more than most western saddles).

Seat size, I'd look for a 14-14.5" seat.
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Last edited by DraftyAiresMum; 03-03-2013 at 11:41 AM.
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post #3 of 5 Old 03-03-2013, 12:52 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Actually, some reining saddles are considered "close contact" (the western version of the term is somewhat different than the english).......they tend to have the rigging placed differently and have butterfly skirts. Depending on your budget-I know Crates Ladies reiner is fairly lightweight......about 20-25 lbs......I know Bob's makes a lady reiner, but I have no idea how heavy it is, since it is out of my price range I never asked. You should, IMO also get a butterfly pad, or it defeats the purpose of "close contact".

Size wise-I had a 17 english and now have a 16 western, so probably a 15-15.5.

When I changed to western I thought I would NEVER be able to deal with the weight and hoisting it up on my horse-I also have a shoulder issue. Then someone taught me how to get it ready prior to putting it on the horse (cinch and off stirrup securely out of the way), and then swing it up from my hip. Has helped a LOT.

Good luck!

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post #4 of 5 Old 03-03-2013, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Virginia
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Thanks, maybe I need some western saddle education. What's the differences between roaming, reining, barrel, etc saddles? Is there anywhere that sends test ride saddles (like Dover Saddlery does for English saddles)?

What else do I need to know?! ;)
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-03-2013, 01:43 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
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It is all in how your butt sits in the seat, from the little I know. I am not sure who might have trials available.......I will look at some of the larger places and see. The other issue is fitting your horse. Where are you in VA? If you are in NOVA-it is tough. There is NOWHERE to try western stuff. I think there may be somewhere around Richmond, not sure.

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