Saddles(and pads) are like shoes(and socks).
 
 

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Saddles(and pads) are like shoes(and socks).

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  • Sock pad to keep sock from dirtying
  • 'shoe is to sock as saddle is to pad

 
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    10-12-2010, 07:06 PM
  #1
Weanling
Saddles(and pads) are like shoes(and socks).

Saddles are like shoes. For example(from a western riders point of view but can be easily translated to english riding):

  • At the shoe store, there are tons of different types of shoes. There are skater shoes, running shoes, cleats, sandals, and high heels. You choose the shoe for what you would need more. Sometimes you pick out shoes by the way the look, but most of the time you pick out what shoes are the most necessary, especially when on a budget. If you are looking for exercise shoes, you aren't going to buy high heels. And you aren't going to buy flip flops for horse back riding, you would buy boots!
  1. There are so many types of saddles you can get. You can get a roping saddle or a barrel saddle or a pleasure saddle. You can also get an all around saddle. You want to make sure you get the right saddle. Don't get a huge roping saddle when you want to barrel race! If you can't choose what you want, get an all purpose saddle (or the tennis shoes:)

  • When you go to a shoe store, you try on multiple shoes. Normally, the first pair you try on doesn't fit, or feel right, even though they are your "size". See, you wear a size 8 in adidas, but it turns out that you wear a size 9 in nikes.
  1. You can't buy a saddle and expect the first one you buy for your horse to fit. It will most likely take a few different saddles to pick one that fits the best. Full QH bars in one brand, might not be the same Full QH bars in another brand. It's always good to go get your saddle fitted so your horse can try on different saddles and decide which one feels the best. Also don't forget to get a saddle that fits you, too!

  • So you find some really awesome shoes that you are just in love with. The problem is, is that the biggest size available is one size lower than what you wear. Right now you are wearing medium thick socks, so you come up with the solution to wear thinner socks. The shoes are still tight, but you buy them anyway. You wear them to work the next day, and after 2 hours, your shoes are still a little too tight and are leaving blisters. You never wear them again.
  1. Sometimes just getting a smaller saddle pad can't help. Your saddle is just too tight on your horse. Don't depend on saddle pads, especially since some thin saddle pads don't provide proper protection. A tight saddle can easily irritate your horse, and restrict movement. You probably love that saddle, but I'm sure your horse hates it!

  • Let's change this up a little. Let's take the story above, but make the dilemma be that the shoes are too big. So you love these shoes. You decide, that since you are wearing thin socks right now, maybe putting thicker socks on or two or three pairs on, that this will make your shoe fit nicely. So you buy these shoes, you go home, put two pairs of socks on, and put the shoes on. They fit! Wait, your feet are getting extremely hot and sweaty! You went to Gym class, and while doing a running stop, your shoe twists to the side and you break your ankle. You are tripping up the stairs because these shoes are just, TOO big! And to top it all off, one sock keeps coming half way off so you are stepping on the seam with every step and it is extremely annoying that you have to keep pulling that sock back up.
  1. Now think about it, You find this saddle you love, and you realize that it's a little big on your horse and lays on his withers. Now, there are some solutions. Let's put two saddle pads on him, that should do the trick! Not quite... putting two saddle pads on a horse doesn't let sweat escape and makes your horse hot. Not to mention that saddle pad against saddle pad can make your saddle roll. Also, one saddle pad can slide back and irritate your horse. Sometimes, you just can't help it, you have a narrow horse, and you might need a riser pad, but that should be the most! (2 saddle pads are different from and under pad and a saddle pad).

  • You are wearing nice fitting shoes and nice socks, but still, dirt and some rocks manage to get into your sock and shoes. As many of you know, this is extremely annoying and can actually hurt! Your first response is to take the rock out and shake your sock to get the dirt out.
  1. Before riding, you should be sure that your saddle pad/cinch is clean and free of hard stuff and dirt. I'm sure your horse would appreciate it!

  • Again, you are wearing nice fitting shoes and nice socks. But do you remember when your mom would tie your shoes for you, and she would make them too tight, or they would be too loose that your foot would come out with every step, or one shoe would be tighter than the other? Yeah... you would tell her and hopefully it would be fixed! I know I like my shoes to be tied not too tight or loose and I like them both to be equal!
  1. Horses can't tell you when their cinch is too tight or too loose except by acting up. Make sure your cinch is just right and not any tighter than it needs to be. Also, make sure it's equal on both sides, you want the pressure to be shared, not all on one side.

  • Now, Everybody knows what the name brand shoes are. Nike, adidas, converse, vans, pumas, New balance. A majority of us want some nice, brand name shoes, we know they are comfy. Also in flip flops, if you get some good rubber ones, they will last a lot longer than the cheap wal-mart foam ones. Sure, brand name shoes are more expensive, but I think they are worth it because I'm comfortable carrying my weight in them. And then it comes to socks, you like the Nike socks and the fruit of the loom and hanes, but then you come to some cheap wal-mart brand and they don't stretch, they are hot, they slip off your feet and gets holes in them really easily.
  1. You guessed it, it's the same with saddles and saddle pads. Honestly, the brand names and the expensive things are like that for a reason. You get what you pay for, especially in the horse world! Obviously a Circle Y saddle would be 10x more comfy(for you and the horse) 10x better fitted and 10x longer lasting than a cheap plastic leather saddle from ebay. Now you have to remember, these are also 10x more expensive. That's why you get used if you can't afford it, like I said, they last 10x longer :) Now, when you get saddle pads, you should save up for a nice saddle pad. Don't get something cheap because it won't provide the right protection, and might actually hurt your horse!


I think everyone can fully agree with me now, that saddles are definitely like shoes. We expect them to keep us comfy while we are carrying our weight and doing work ;) Saddles are extremely important, and you shouldn't even ride in an ill fitting saddle if you care about your horse.
     
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    10-12-2010, 11:02 PM
  #2
dee
Started
Here here! Well written and very much on target...except -

Bear in mind that there are some very well made saddles that are not a big name brand. Many smaller manufacturer's turn out an excellent saddle. If you come across a saddle with a brand name on it that you don't recognize, research it on the internet. Chances are you'll turn up something on the manufacturer for good or ill.

Billy Cook is a relatively well know saddlery. They used to turn out a top quality saddle. Nowadays, not so much - so even your well known brands can make clunker saddles. (Billy Cook saddles are still okay, but they aren't as good as they used to be IMHO.)
     
    10-12-2010, 11:14 PM
  #3
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by dee    
Here here! Well written and very much on target...except -

Bear in mind that there are some very well made saddles that are not a big name brand. Many smaller manufacturer's turn out an excellent saddle. If you come across a saddle with a brand name on it that you don't recognize, research it on the internet. Chances are you'll turn up something on the manufacturer for good or ill.

Billy Cook is a relatively well know saddlery. They used to turn out a top quality saddle. Nowadays, not so much - so even your well known brands can make clunker saddles. (Billy Cook saddles are still okay, but they aren't as good as they used to be IMHO.)
Yes yes. That's why I stated that you get what you pay for. A saddle might not even have a name on it, but if it's selling for a 1000$ new, I'm assuming it's a good saddle!
     
    10-12-2010, 11:40 PM
  #4
dee
Started
I paid $175 for a no name saddle at a horse auction this spring. Can't find a manufacturer's stamp on it anywhere. The leather isn't top quality, but the tree is solid and sturdy (the saddle is NOT particularly lightweight) and the seams are well sewn. The saddle isn't new, but it's been well cared for. And, it fits my hard to fit horse.

I think the point I'm trying to make, it that spending $1000 isn't always a guarantee of quality (that's about what the Billy Cooks run, and I've found some really narly ones), and sometimes a low price isn't indicative of a bad deal. HOWEVER - know your stuff.

If you are looking for a good saddle, do NOT look on Ebay, unless you are willing to risk losing money on the deal. The pictures of the saddles can be misleading and there is no way to actually feel the saddle - Is the tree tight, is the leather good quality - is the dye rubbing off? Are the seams nice and straight and even? You can't always tell that in a picture.

Yes - the odds are if you bid on a TexTan or Bighorn or Hereford or whatever big name saddle, you are bidding on a decent saddle. But - you are depending on the seller to get the measurements right, and/or to know from whence they speak when they say the saddle is in good condition.

I paid $450 for a saddle on Ebay. It had a 20" seat and was supposed to fit "most" horses. Got the saddle home and a horrid winter storm it - couldn't try it on Dancer for a couple of weeks - and by then the return window had expired. The saddle was poorly made - might have lasted me a year at best - and only if I always used a mounting block. The seat was slightly warped and the stupid saddle had an 8" gullet. No WAY was it going to fit Dancer's high withers. I put the saddle on her and the rear popped up nearly three inches. To me, $450 isn't cheap for a saddle. I eventually sold the saddle on Craigslist - for $200. The lady was as large as I am and rode a flat backed draft horse. The saddle fit her horse okay, but still wasn't going to last her very long. (She had the same plan of action that I did - get a saddle that fits our butt now, and lose enough weight before the saddle gives up the ghost that a smaller saddle seat would be in order. Smaller meaning easier to find a quality saddle at a decent price.)

Believe it or not, Fifty, I'm not disagreeing with you. Buying name brand gives you a better chance at a quality saddle - especially if you are looking on Ebay. But - there are caveats there, and occasionally, a decent deal can be made on a less expensive saddle.

BTW - the saddle I paid $175 for - I was offered $500 for it two weeks later. I shoulda taken the $$ and run!
     
    10-12-2010, 11:48 PM
  #5
Banned
Not to mention that saddles are just as addictive as shoes...if not more so!

Dee, I know whatcha mean! I picked up my Bighorn on craigslist for $200 with the matching bridle, breastcollar, a craptastic saddle pad and a folding stand. It is the most comfortable saddle I have ever ridden in. Ever.

The only thing I can even comment on is the Circle Y's. I don't find them to be very comfortable! But that relates to shoes also. What I find to be an attractive, comfortable shoe...others wouldnt.
     
    10-12-2010, 11:57 PM
  #6
dee
Started
Saddle shopping can be addictive. I don't have the $$ to do too much buying. I should have followed my instincts regarding the Ebay saddle. If I can see/touch/feel a saddle, I'm usually a pretty good judge of quality. Not the best, but okay.

I sure wish the horse market was better. Most of the horse auctions around here are shut down - either out of business or trying to wait out the slump in the market. I love going to the auctions to look at the tack. Too bad they can't just have tack auctions!
     
    10-13-2010, 12:14 AM
  #7
Weanling
I hope I don't take this too personally, because I like big shoes. I will not give my horse a big saddle!
     
    10-13-2010, 07:44 AM
  #8
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by dee    
I paid $175 for a no name saddle at a horse auction this spring. Can't find a manufacturer's stamp on it anywhere. The leather isn't top quality, but the tree is solid and sturdy (the saddle is NOT particularly lightweight) and the seams are well sewn. The saddle isn't new, but it's been well cared for. And, it fits my hard to fit horse.

I think the point I'm trying to make, it that spending $1000 isn't always a guarantee of quality (that's about what the Billy Cooks run, and I've found some really narly ones), and sometimes a low price isn't indicative of a bad deal. HOWEVER - know your stuff.

If you are looking for a good saddle, do NOT look on Ebay, unless you are willing to risk losing money on the deal. The pictures of the saddles can be misleading and there is no way to actually feel the saddle - Is the tree tight, is the leather good quality - is the dye rubbing off? Are the seams nice and straight and even? You can't always tell that in a picture.

Yes - the odds are if you bid on a TexTan or Bighorn or Hereford or whatever big name saddle, you are bidding on a decent saddle. But - you are depending on the seller to get the measurements right, and/or to know from whence they speak when they say the saddle is in good condition.

I paid $450 for a saddle on Ebay. It had a 20" seat and was supposed to fit "most" horses. Got the saddle home and a horrid winter storm it - couldn't try it on Dancer for a couple of weeks - and by then the return window had expired. The saddle was poorly made - might have lasted me a year at best - and only if I always used a mounting block. The seat was slightly warped and the stupid saddle had an 8" gullet. No WAY was it going to fit Dancer's high withers. I put the saddle on her and the rear popped up nearly three inches. To me, $450 isn't cheap for a saddle. I eventually sold the saddle on Craigslist - for $200. The lady was as large as I am and rode a flat backed draft horse. The saddle fit her horse okay, but still wasn't going to last her very long. (She had the same plan of action that I did - get a saddle that fits our butt now, and lose enough weight before the saddle gives up the ghost that a smaller saddle seat would be in order. Smaller meaning easier to find a quality saddle at a decent price.)

Believe it or not, Fifty, I'm not disagreeing with you. Buying name brand gives you a better chance at a quality saddle - especially if you are looking on Ebay. But - there are caveats there, and occasionally, a decent deal can be made on a less expensive saddle.

BTW - the saddle I paid $175 for - I was offered $500 for it two weeks later. I shoulda taken the $$ and run!
Oh yes, I understand! I'm mainly talking about the majority of the time.
There are some really good chances of coming across a nice saddle with no name but has really good quality! It was just an example :)
     
    10-13-2010, 07:46 AM
  #9
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tymer    
I hope I don't take this too personally, because I like big shoes. I will not give my horse a big saddle!
That's really weird :) I know people who wear huge shoes at my school and they drag their feet and their tennis shoes are like flip flops, not to mention they walk extremely slow up the stairs. Lol, I'm glad you wouldn't give your horse a big saddle though!
     
    10-13-2010, 04:06 PM
  #10
Foal
Love it!!! Well written!
     

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