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This is a discussion on saddle? within the Horse Tack and Equipment forums, part of the Horse Tack category

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        12-16-2012, 04:40 PM

    So I'll be buying my mare her own saddle and I have a trainer to help with correct fit. I'm really excited. We are going to do both show ring trail classes and cowboy races and anything trail related we can enter in lol I also work with cattle and like to do camping trips with our horses. We don't ride far and hard but an 8hr ride is not uncommon for me either.

    My mare has issues with saddles as it is. In the past she was beat with different objects because she would not stand still for saddling. I have that nipped in the bud and can saddle her just fine now but she gives me that nasty mare face lol she obviously doesnt like it but lets me do it. I think partially its because she needs a better fitting saddle and the other part of it is her past. My trainer doesnt think she will ever 100% be ok with a saddle. I have to keep the cinch loose on her, so a good fitting saddle is a must.

    So obviously my goal is her comfort on the trails and also my own comfort as well.

    So my question is: what do you guys recommend?
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        12-16-2012, 04:43 PM
    What's your price range?

    I like Circle Y, but they can be pricey.

    A less expensive option would be Big Horn. They seem to have good construction.
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        12-16-2012, 05:17 PM
    Green Broke
    I would suggest something with a flex tree since it has a little more give than a standard tree and might be more comfortable for her.
        12-16-2012, 06:11 PM
    Green Broke
    I don't think flex trees do much but flex to the wider point when you sit on them.
    So many saddles to choose from, Have you looked into the leather/cordura hybrids from Circle y, (narrow twist) or Crestridge (wider twist), ?
        12-16-2012, 06:35 PM
    Honestly I'm a saddle buying newbie lol my gelding came with his tack and when we replaced his saddle my dad bought it and I had no say in the matter as it was his money. I should have paid more attention though lol

    Now I'm an adult paying my own expenses :)
    A couple hundred would be ideal but I know for a good saddle that I could spend in the upper hundreds and even in the thousands. The cheaper the better but I do want quality as well.

    My mare doesnt act uncomfortable when Im in the saddle, she just gets nervous about actually being saddled. Im hoping over time with a comfortable saddle that she will stop being nervous about being saddled. Once its on and we walk around for a minute she is perfectly fine. We normally go out for a few miles, slow walk and trot, never faster than a working trot (Shes still green) and we take lots of breaks but we stay out around 8hrs on a good trail ride.

    I havent looked at saddles yet because there are sooo many I don't know where to start. I've talked with my trainer and she is going to help me with the fit but she rides mostly english so she isnt really sure what to recommend for me and my mare as far as a western trail saddle.
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        12-17-2012, 11:37 PM
    Any advice or suggestions?
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        12-18-2012, 09:36 AM
    Flex trees are not recommended for riders over 180# nor for horses with a dippy or sway back. They flex down toward the back, not wider side-to-side. Ralide is considered the best flex tree. Circle Y had problems with the original Flex being "defective" in some way that was never explained. They replaced some under warranty. I've seen a lot of used Circle Y Flex & Flex II saddles that have been worked on. Flex II was supposed to fix that. But I'd avoid a flex tree saddle because (aside from the tree) the leather is thin and over-oiled to make it feel broken in, and it's thin. Within a short time, many people say they can feel the tree edges or the stirrup leathers or something under their thighs, telegraphing though that soft leather, and it's uncomfortable.

    With your budget, a used older leather saddle of a good brand name can be bought for $200 - $350 and that's what I'd recommend. has free templates to download for fitting horse. SQHB, regular QHB ,FQHB. The center part you cut out can be taken around to tack shops to hold up to saddles to approximate the tree size.

    Fabtron and Big Horn before it was bought by American seemed to be the most highly rated synthetic western saddles 2-5 years ago., Haven't looked lately. But they might be flex trees?
        12-18-2012, 11:13 AM
    Big Horn come in regular and flex trees.
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        12-18-2012, 04:11 PM
    I'm 5'3" and weigh about 150#.
    My mare has a rather flat back as well

    Can someone explain the pros and cons of a flex tree because I noticed a few on Craigslist.
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        12-18-2012, 04:20 PM
    Too many variables. Stay with a non flex. Your saddle may not be the problem but she knows what saddling means - work. I'll bet she's real tired when she gets home after an 8 hr ride. Are you feeding her during this time, either by dismounting and allowing her to graze or taking hay and grain along for her?

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