saddle for a kid question

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saddle for a kid question

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    09-29-2009, 01:12 PM
saddle for a kid question

My husband and I are thinking about buying my daughter a saddle for Christmas. A relative wants to give her an old family saddle, but I'm affraid it's too big. Here are a few questions I have:

1) My daughter is a very big 7 year old. She's the size of an average 10 year old, and grows 3-5 inches a year (consistently). I was told to look for a 14-14.5 inch seat for her. The saddle my aunt wants to give her is larger, I'm sure. What are the issues with a seat that is too big, if we can make the stirrups short enough?

2) Because she rides lesson horses and not one of her own, she needs a pretty universal saddle. I think the biggest concern is the width under the saddle horn (forgive my stupidity, I don't know what it's called). What is a good size that I should be looking for there that will fit a wide variety of horses?

3) I am looking for used because (unless I get the one from my aunt) she will outgrow it and I will have to upgrade. Are there certain things I should look for when looking at used saddles?

I'm sure I'll have more questions soon, just wait!
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    09-29-2009, 02:43 PM
I would go to a local tack store just to have your daughter sit in a variety of saddle sizes and see what she is comfortable with. I would think riding in a saddle that is too big would be better then to small. She may feel a little "free-er" but if she's growing as much as you say she is then she won't feel that way for long. I don't know what you would do about the stirrups if they were too long though.

I believe the part under the saddle horn is called the gullet. I have a horse with fairly pronounced withers and the saddle I own has a 4 inch gullet and it fits him fine.

Make sure the tree of the saddle horn isn't broken when looking at a used saddle. This happens normally when a horse rears and falls backwards. A saddle with a broken tree ( I think its called a tree ) will fit akwardly and can pinch. The tree is like the foundation of the saddle so if its broken it is a definate deal breaker.

Heres a good link I found about buying used saddles:
Western Saddles: 7 Inspection Tips For Buying Used

Hope that helps!
    09-29-2009, 02:46 PM
Helps much, thank you! Another question, the saddle my aunt wants to give her will probably need new fleecing (I think that's what it's called). How much does that generally cost to have done?

(That website you provided was very helpful, thank you!)
    09-29-2009, 03:02 PM
I personally don't recommend purchasing a saddle before you know which horse it will always be on. Almost more importantly than how it fits the rider is how it fits the horse. You can badly damage a horse with an ill-fitting saddle.

You mentioned that your daughted has been riding a paint. These are stock horses, broad, western-bred horses. You will need MUCH wider than 4 inches. My narrow QH takes a 6.5" and my others take 7" or more (I have two paints and three QHs.) I would recommend nothing narrower than semi-QH bars for a western saddle.

Now, as far as the seat fitting her, you'll need to have her sit in some to find out what fits her best. Because people are shaped differently, you can't always generalize. The length of the thigh makes a difference as well as butt-size. She'll just need to find what's comfortable. A seat that doesn't fit will affect her balance and teach her improper habits, like perching or bracing against the stirrups. Ill-fitting tack can be the downfall of a great riding team.

Lastly, I just had my saddle re-fleeced for $90, but I don't know what it runs elsewhere.
    09-29-2009, 03:07 PM
Leah Kathleen, thanks. I do know that the saddle from my aunt is a saddle that has been used on quarter horses because that was what my grandpa raised, and where she got it. All the horses she would ride at lessons would be QH or paints. I thought 4 seemed kind of skinny. I saw some on ebay that had 6.5 inch and 7 inches.

I guess if $90 is average (still need to research this) and my aunt is giving me this saddle, that's a pretty good deal. I still need to see it to see if it's in crappy shape or not. I think it's pretty old (maybe my grandpa's old one so it might be worth getting anyway), so it could be pretty rough.
    09-29-2009, 03:10 PM
Be leary of buying on Ebay - the deals that seem too good to be true, are. Simple as that.

If you want tips on good used brands, or critiques on saddles you're considering let us know. If you do buy her her own saddle, PLEASE have it looked at by a saddler on each and every horse she might ride before she actually rides it. If the saddle doesn't fit her lesson horse for that day, have her use the one of the lesson saddles on that horse.
    09-29-2009, 03:19 PM
Originally Posted by LeahKathleen    
Be leary of buying on Ebay - the deals that seem too good to be true, are. Simple as that.

If you want tips on good used brands, or critiques on saddles you're considering let us know. If you do buy her her own saddle, PLEASE have it looked at by a saddler on each and every horse she might ride before she actually rides it. If the saddle doesn't fit her lesson horse for that day, have her use the one of the lesson saddles on that horse.
I don't want to buy off of ebay, I was just looking for ideas and sizes and stuff. I want to actually see it before I buy it, and a picture doesn't count as seeing it to me.

The bold: I know that her instructor would insist on this. Because her instructor knows her and her rate of growth, she is helping me too. Any saddle I consider will be inspected by her. My aunt is bringing the saddle that she has to the instructor before lessons to have her look at it to see if it will work with my daughter, and possibly try it out. I just wanted to do some homework before I started showing her all the saddle I find. I'm starting early so I can ask a million questions and shop around. I may end up taking the saddle from my aunt to have it because it's a family saddle, but I may not have my daughter use it at all, and maybe I'll come up with a better Christmas present and not need to worry about it at all. Just exploring options and trying to learn right now.
    09-29-2009, 03:31 PM
We're all happy to help and answer questions - I certainly wasn't trying to suggest that you were doing anything wrong. Just sharing some personal experience advice. :]
    09-29-2009, 03:32 PM
Can someone show what the bars look like? Or a tree assembly? I've been trying to picture them in my head and can't find a picture on the internet that explains it to me. I have read a few times what it is, but just can't picture it.
    09-29-2009, 03:45 PM
I am assuming you are talking about a western saddle since you meantioned it needed re-fleecing. This site has some pretty good pictures of saddle trees The Saddle Tree

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