If your biggest concern is the rotation and angle of the stirrups on a western saddle given the bulky fenders, you may also want to consider a Tucker trail saddle... their stirrups are specially rigged and angled to be easier on the knees. The saddles are pricier, but they're really nice too. When and if I ever decide to purchase another trail saddle, it will most likely be a Tucker!
Checked on Kates site. Wow! I can sure get more saddle for my money! Down Under folks said I need a fleece lined. Hopefully some of these are, and I see they adjust saddle to wither tracing which is what I want. Thanks!
I've got a Master Campdraft with horn from DownUnder. It has a shallower seat than the one you are looking at, but is still very secure feeling. If your horse spins, the poley catches your thigh and spins you with it. I ops checked that when riding a spooky horse a few weeks after badly bruising my hip (bad enough that it still is sore 2+ years later). I could barely get on the horse, but when she jumped forward and spun around, I went with her. Ended up with a bruise on my thigh, but that beat taking a tumble.
If they advise a particular model for your horse's back, listen. When bought on a discount, the saddle is decent quality for the price. I'd try to avoid paying their full price.
The leather was dry when I got it, but that happened with a new Bates I bought as well, and some time using Passier Lederbalsam has helped it a lot.
I've had no problem at all with the overgirth. I never feel it. I have mixed feelings about the horn. It is small and leans forward, and is darn near worthless for holding on if your horse bucks. OTOH, a couple of months ago, I couldn't get my mare to stop...she spun herself up and we went 2 hours without her stopping, so I got her to disengage, wrapped a loop of rein around the horn so she couldn't straighten out immediately, and got off. Quickly. I think the loop slowed her down just enough that my foot hit the ground before she bolted 50 feet. On the whole, though, if I had to do it over, I'd skip the horn.
My main dislike is the bulk of the Aussie girth under my leg. I have better contact with the horse's side with a western saddle. Still, it is a comfortable and secure saddle. Easy to post in and the seat feels more English than Western to me. I prefer the Aussie stirrup leathers to English ones, but have taken to riding mine using western stirrups (although the photo below has English leathers...need to update my pictures).
Is your blk saddle anymore difficult to keep clean than others? It is striking on your horse, and it would be on my buckskin as well. Thank you. KB
I prefer black. If it gets nicked, black dye is readily available and always matches. However, I would recommend going with the nubuck leather if you buy from DownUnder. The brown saddle I own is nubuck, and the leather is holding up better than the smooth finish on this saddle. The smooth leather has cracked on the underside, and also on the stirrup leather where it folds over the stirrup bar. It may prove to be just a cosmetic flaw, but I'm not at all happy about it.
I love the design of the Australian saddle, but I'm not sure the value is there. I have a Bates English saddle that I bought for $1000 on sale vs the $750 for the saddle in the picture (also on sale). In terms of leather quality, stitching, attention to detail, etc, the Bates is at least 3 times the saddle. The used Circle Y saddle I bought for $450 will almost certainly be solid after the DU is not.
I LOVE the design of the saddle, but Australian-made saddles run $2500 up, and those made in India don't have the quality that should be possible. If you buy, I suggest taking a very close look at the stitching and leather, and being prepared to return it if you are not fully satisfied.
Thanks for everyone's helpful comments. I got my Aussie saddle and hope to ride this weekend. Question, do you tighten the cinch as tightly as you do on a western saddle? Seems that I've heard you don't tighten it as much, but how would it be secure? Thanks again!
I have a nice 19" aussie saddle i'll make you a great deal on if you setill need one
Dear Kentucky bluegrass,
I have a great 19" synthetic aussie saddle from down under saddle company it's a great saddle I Love it. I'm a bigger lady and it fits me great it's very very stable and comfy and it fits a wide variety of horses my only problem is that the short backed arab I bought it for it's too long for her. She is super spooky and I was just getting back into riding after many years off. Well I never got left behind largely due to that saddle !! LOL
I would highly recommend them but get the leather stirrup straps if you get the cheaper synthetic saddle.
The down under saddle company will fit the saddle to your horse supposedly at no charge but they charge 200 more for the exact same saddle that you can buy from horse.com but if you get it from horse.com no custom fitting.
But honestly I love the saddle and it is a pretty universal fit unless you have a hard to fit horse. Mine is the medium tree. I have enjoyed the Aussie saddle. It's great if you have a spooky horse that could leave you behind. In that saddle you would have to WORK to fall off. :) good luck.
Thanks for your note. Wish I had known about your saddle. It's the size I bought. I looked for a used 19" and couldn't find what I needed. You shouldn't have any trouble finding it a new home if that's what you decide to do. Question...do you cinch it as tightly as you do a western saddle? Have a great day!
Cinching - I probably have mine slightly looser than my western saddle. Both of my horses have decent withers, and I think the saddle conforms to their withers closer than my western saddle. Also, it only has a Navajo saddle blanket underneath, and I think the felt pad I use with my western saddle adds a bit of sloppy feeling.
I'd guess I tighten the Aussie saddle about one hole looser in tightness than my western.