Round or square skirt? Boots?

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Round or square skirt? Boots?

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    09-06-2008, 01:46 PM
Round or square skirt? Boots?

I'm new to horses, with a very bad back so trying to find a couple of light weight, western saddles with comfortable padded seats. Thinking about getting a couple of the Fabtron synthetics or good used leather saddles, (if the price is right!)

I was wondering what the differences were between the round and square skirts. Which is more comfortable for the horse? Which one distributes the weight of the rider better? Will having saddle bags make a difference in which type of saddle to get?

One mare is a 4 year old 14+ hand Morab, built like an Arab, the other Paint/quarter mare is 15 hands.

Both horses are bare foot and have great hooves. Is it good to have boots for them? Will the boots keep their feet wet if they go through water on a long trail ride? Are they secure enough to give the horse good footing on wet slate or other stone that may be wet or slippery? What about on hill sides? Other surfaces?

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    09-06-2008, 04:29 PM
I think its a matter of taste. I prefer a rounded skirt. I think it does take the weight down some too. I don't have any problems attaching saddle bags. I use a rounded saddle pad too.
My husband prefers the more traditional square skirt square pad look.
As far as comfort. If you find you get a sore bottom from a long ride I suggest a Cashel or sheepskin pad. I had an Abetta synthetic that was comfy for my horse but a pain in my butt on a long ride. The Cashel pad made a huge difference.
As far as hoof boots, I would let time be your guide. If the horses are ouchie then get them some boots. All of our girls have always been barefoot. We have ridden hundreds of miles but there was only one instance where the boots would be needed. Its nice to have them when you need them rather then need them and not have them. We only keep them for the front feet, not all 4.
I like the easyboots.
    09-06-2008, 05:19 PM
I'm not a big fan of synthetic saddles but that is a personal thing, same as round or square skirts. If I was to need a synthetic, however, I would consider the Fabtron. I think is is one of the best synthetics out there.

On a short back horse, or a smaller one, the round skirt will have less interference with his hips then a square will but that also depends on the seat size for the rider. If you are in a 15" or larger then I might consider a round skirt for a short back horse. Saddlebags should have no problem with either skirt except on a round skirt you may have to consider if the bag will rub your horse where it is in direct contact. The type of material you pick for your bag and the size will determine that. The bars of the saddle should be close to each other in size with either skirt so I wouldn't worry about that in terms of horse's comfort - what is more important is the proper bars and gullet sizes for your horses.

What kind of boots are you asking about? If you mean bell boots, should be no problem; if you mean sprint boots, also no problem. If you mean boots that replace shoes, then that depends on your horse. I've never used them so I can't speak in either direction but if your horses are OK without shoes, then I would take a few shorter rides of a couple of hours to see how they hold up. If it ain't broken - don't fix it.

Welcome to the forum btw and good luck with your horses.
    09-06-2008, 06:33 PM
I was all ready to give a great responce but Vida and Iride beat me to it. I won't repeat the great info you have already received.

Welcome to the forum! 8)
    09-07-2008, 12:00 PM
Round or square skirt? Boots?

Thanks for the welcome and the great advise!
I think I'll get 1 of each. (A round skirt for the Arab cross and a square skirt for the Paint). I've read that the Fabtron saddles are the best of the synthetics, so decided to get a couple of those.

I did think about the rubbing the saddle bags would do. I'm glad, iridehorses, that you brought that up.

What material should I look for, for saddle bags?

Thanks for the advice on the boots. I'll get 2 pairs to have on hand if needed. I wasn't too sure about getting them, but all of you are right, to have them on hand is a great idea. And if it aint broke don't fix it!

Do you have any suggestions on what type of boots to get?

I had the shoes pulled off the Paint mare as when riding her, she slipped a little on a couple of big rocks when going down a hill. She is very sure footed and from all the reading I've been doing, decided to keep her barefoot. Since then, no more slipping!

Thanks, Vidaloco for the advice on the seat pad! I'll definitely get a couple of those, just in case!

What would you advise for a good saddle pad? What type would be better to keep the horses backs cooler and comfortable? If the saddles fit really well, would a saddle blanket be better or should I stick with a different more padded type? Does it matter if a pad that keeps them cooler in the summer is also used in the winter?

I'll also be going to tack auctions to check out used leather saddles too.

Again, thanks ya'll!
    09-07-2008, 12:23 PM
I use a Weaver pommel/horn bag and water bottle holder. They hold enough for what I will need for a day ride. They also make larger cantle bags for longer trips.
I have the nylon ones, not the leather. I got pink cause I'm a girl Not sure if that was the correct choice since its pretty dirty after a summer of use. I haven't tried to wash it yet. I'm hoping it washes up well.
Personally I prefer a velcro opening on the front bags that I use a lot. A zipper is much more difficult to open and close with one hand.
If your in a hurry to grab your camera for a great shot its much easier to rip open velcro then to fumble with a zipper.
Any overnight or larger cantle bags it doesnt matter that much.
Someone else will have to help out with the pads. I have a persnickity mare who has one pad she likes, the rest I may as well toss
    09-07-2008, 03:51 PM
I've used all sorts of different pads over the years. Everything from just a Navajo to the newer ones with rubber (or something similar) on the back.

Now I only use a 1" pure natural felt pad. It conforms very well and wicks away sweat and heat. If you're just doing an hour ride or less, then you can get away with a thiner, pad but still needs to be natural fiber. Don't get sucked in by the claims about those pads with a waffle bottom that say they will keep your horse's back cool - they just don't do the job that pure wool will do. One of the best brands out there is 5 Star brand (this is their web site: ). There are less expensive brands out there too, Reinsman is one, and they are also good.

I'm a traditionalist when it comes to tack so I use a mohair cinch, and leather saddle bags. That's just me. I have used canvas and cordera in the past and they work fine, so it's just a preference.
    09-08-2008, 09:57 AM
Round or square skirt? Boots?

Great advice again! I didn't think of zipper verses velcro.

I was just doing some reading and thought about getting a felt pad. The website that iridehorses told me about, had a great article about the differences of saddle pads. Looks like the wool is the better of all the choices out there.

I'll keep looking!

Thanks again!
    09-11-2008, 02:23 PM
When you are buying your saddles, please make sure you purchase from a company that will let you return them if they don't fit!! Also, if you are going for the square skirt, make sure it will not interfere with the horses's hips. Sounds like your horses are on the smaller side and the round skirts may work better for you.

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