Western Saddles
 
 

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Western Saddles

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

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        02-17-2013, 10:48 PM
      #1
    Yearling
    Western Saddles

    So here's a run down of the story - there's a 90% chance that I am going to be free leasing a horse that I have loved for years, an 18-20 y/o 16HH Quarter Horse.

    I own a beautiful stock saddle from when I owned my thoroughbred mare, and I fear that it may not fit, as I can still remember the stretching of my legs to get around the QH. I'm planning on taking my saddle with me this weekend when I go to introduce my parents to him and meet the owner in person to see if it fits. If it doesn't, I'll have to sell the saddle I have (which will be heartbreaking, because it is soooooo comfortable!).

    Now, I did a little window shopping today and spotted the most beautiful western saddle, and it's in my price range (possibly secondhand, but so was my stock) at $379. It fits me, and feels like it could be wide enough to be a chance. It's also nice and light, which is a plus since I'm... not. It's made me consider branching out from stock saddles (heck, I was also looking at a nice all purpose for a little while), but I'm a complete newb when it comes to western saddles.

    Anyway, onto the questions.

    - I've never ridden in a western saddle before, or a saddle with fenders. Will there be any noticeable differences to someone like me who has nearly always ridden in a stock?
    - I had a lot of trouble finding the stirrups. Is this a typical thing that I'll get used to? I found it strange, because I can usually find my stirrups without looking in a matter of seconds.
    - I just watched the saddle fit videos in
    This thread
    . Do all those things apply for western saddles as well? What other things should I look for with fit?
    - This isn't really something I need to know now, but the cinch/surcingle/back girth (see? I know nothing) only gets done up loosely/barely snug, right?

    I think that's about it for now. I'd appreciate any help I can get as to saddle fitting as I did a pretty horrible job the first time around, and I love this horse enough that I don't want ANYTHING to possibly go wrong. Oh, and for those of you that might just say 'get it fitted' - Not an easy task when you live where I am, but I will consider it if I don't feel comfortable with my own judgment.
         
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        02-17-2013, 11:49 PM
      #2
    Showing
    *knows very little about western*


    Why are you selling a saddle you love when this horse isn't "yours" ? Why not keep that saddle and go halfsies on a saddle with the owner to find one that will fit the horse? *If yours doesn't fit*

    The BACK cinch is NEVER tight, but loose.. however some horse don't need it..

    It will take awhile to get used to "finding" the stirrups in a new saddle. I can find my dressage stirrups blindfolded but the AP I struggle finding where to put my foot... don't get me started about trying to find the western stirrups.

    Western fit is different than english because english is already padded.. it's all that is needed. The western saddle calls for a thick pad underneath.. but you can still try the saddle on the horse without a pad to see whether it fits or not.

    By stock you mean like an aussie? It feels a little different.. but it's mainly the riding that feels different. A stock saddle may be closer to an english/endurance, and not a western type feel.. but I think you'll take to it.
         
        02-18-2013, 12:26 AM
      #3
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel    
    *knows very little about western*


    Why are you selling a saddle you love when this horse isn't "yours" ? Why not keep that saddle and go halfsies on a saddle with the owner to find one that will fit the horse? *If yours doesn't fit*

    The BACK cinch is NEVER tight, but loose.. however some horse don't need it..

    It will take awhile to get used to "finding" the stirrups in a new saddle. I can find my dressage stirrups blindfolded but the AP I struggle finding where to put my foot... don't get me started about trying to find the western stirrups.

    Western fit is different than english because english is already padded.. it's all that is needed. The western saddle calls for a thick pad underneath.. but you can still try the saddle on the horse without a pad to see whether it fits or not.

    By stock you mean like an aussie? It feels a little different.. but it's mainly the riding that feels different. A stock saddle may be closer to an english/endurance, and not a western type feel.. but I think you'll take to it.
    I'll mainly be selling mine because I figure that the odds of ever having a horse that it will fit perfectly are slim, and saddle resales in my area are pretty good right now. The current owner is leasing him out because he doesn't want/can't afford the horse anymore, so I doubt they'd be interested in going halves. Of course, it all depends on what saddle they have for him and whether they'll lend it to me - it could be used for their other horses too, or could be too small for me (likely!). I'm really just considering the 'most expensive' options at the moment. If all goes well, I will be able to use my saddle for him *fingers crossed* but things rarely go my way it seems.

    I had a feeling it was meant to be loose - My stock saddle has one, and it confused the heck outta me at first, but I always left it loose.

    I always thought western stirrups would be easier to find, because of their 'chunkiness'! I was wrong xD

    So if I try a western on him without anything underneath, I should look for it to have enough room plus a little bit to allow for the pad?

    And yes, stock = Aussie xD Sorry, as an Aussie I'm just used to calling them stock saddles. Though I am quite proud that my country developed such epic saddles
         
        02-18-2013, 12:33 AM
      #4
    Showing
    About the western stirrups being more difficult to find, they're in a different position than you're used to, so they aren't where your foot/leg's "memory" puts them, like in your current saddle. Case in point: I can find the stirrups on my Aussie pretty easily, but I just sat on my Stubben Siegfried for the first time yesterday (on a saddle stand, not a horse) and was like "Where the heck is my right stirrup?!" because it wasn't where my leg "thought" it should be.

    You'll also find the seat of a western saddle is different than you're used to. In my Aussie, at least, I sit more forward, like one would in an English saddle. In a western saddle, you sit more back on your seat pockets (but not in a chair seat).
    Posted via Mobile Device
         
        02-18-2013, 12:37 AM
      #5
    Weanling
    I tighten my back cinch to just snug. It's called shared rigging. The concept is to pull down more equally across the entire saddle. This is actually using the rear cinch.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    COWCHICK77 and nvr2many like this.
         
        02-18-2013, 03:52 AM
      #6
    Showing
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tracer    
    I had a feeling it was meant to be loose - My stock saddle has one, and it confused the heck outta me at first, but I always left it loose.

    I always thought western stirrups would be easier to find, because of their 'chunkiness'! I was wrong xD

    So if I try a western on him without anything underneath, I should look for it to have enough room plus a little bit to allow for the pad?

    And yes, stock = Aussie xD Sorry, as an Aussie I'm just used to calling them stock saddles. Though I am quite proud that my country developed such epic saddles
    *again... not an expert in western but I'll offer what I know*

    Yeah I just took my back cinch off of the western I got.. my horse is the type to be fussy with new things on him and he doesn't need it anyway. Some horses do need it, and some saddles fit better with it on.

    I really didn't like the Aussie I rode in cause it was HUGE for me.. but I've ridden in some since and I like them a lot :)

    No.. you want the western saddle to have enough clearance at the front without sitting in it, AND sitting in it, that the pommel bit with the horn isn't touching the withers at all.. and the tree itself follows the slope of the horse's shoulders. The back of the saddle should sit flat.. not be sticking up, or rounding off the horse's back. The saddle should be level. If it's "downhill" or "uphill" there are pads to alter it but yeah.. better to find a tree that fits.

    The pad is just protection because the bottom of a western saddle is hollow.. whereas an english is full of padding. Does that make sense, OP?

    I actually watched a video awhile ago on western saddle fitting. Will try to dig it up for you.

    **EDIT*** aha! Found it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtjATfeL6Hs
         
        02-18-2013, 05:03 AM
      #7
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum    
    About the western stirrups being more difficult to find, they're in a different position than you're used to, so they aren't where your foot/leg's "memory" puts them, like in your current saddle. Case in point: I can find the stirrups on my Aussie pretty easily, but I just sat on my Stubben Siegfried for the first time yesterday (on a saddle stand, not a horse) and was like "Where the heck is my right stirrup?!" because it wasn't where my leg "thought" it should be.

    You'll also find the seat of a western saddle is different than you're used to. In my Aussie, at least, I sit more forward, like one would in an English saddle. In a western saddle, you sit more back on your seat pockets (but not in a chair seat).
    Posted via Mobile Device
    I guess that goes hand in hand with the fact that my legs felt a little odd. I definitely noticed the difference in the seat, too. I felt snug and secure and did lean back a little. I think it could be good for me though, because one, the stirrups ARE so chunky and I have ankle troubles, so should find more support in them since I'll be braced on something a bit bigger than the typical stirrup.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hemms    
    I tighten my back cinch to just snug. It's called shared rigging. The concept is to pull down more equally across the entire saddle. This is actually using the rear cinch.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Ah, so it sort of 'ties it down'? As in, stops it from 'flipping up'. Ergh, now I'm confusing myself xD I swear, I do kinda understand what I'm talking about!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel    
    *again... not an expert in western but I'll offer what I know*

    Yeah I just took my back cinch off of the western I got.. my horse is the type to be fussy with new things on him and he doesn't need it anyway. Some horses do need it, and some saddles fit better with it on.

    I really didn't like the Aussie I rode in cause it was HUGE for me.. but I've ridden in some since and I like them a lot :)

    No.. you want the western saddle to have enough clearance at the front without sitting in it, AND sitting in it, that the pommel bit with the horn isn't touching the withers at all.. and the tree itself follows the slope of the horse's shoulders. The back of the saddle should sit flat.. not be sticking up, or rounding off the horse's back. The saddle should be level. If it's "downhill" or "uphill" there are pads to alter it but yeah.. better to find a tree that fits.

    The pad is just protection because the bottom of a western saddle is hollow.. whereas an english is full of padding. Does that make sense, OP?

    I actually watched a video awhile ago on western saddle fitting. Will try to dig it up for you.

    **EDIT*** aha! Found it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtjATfeL6Hs
    That video is awesome I think I'm going to sit down with videos like that and take notes. I like that womans theory of pulling down on one of the stirrups and not having it move. So correct me if I'm wrong, but the saddle should fit 'perfectly' without anything underneath it, but the pad is added to make it more comfortable or tweak it?

    Now another quick question - would this sort of pad be enough for a well-fitting western saddle?
         
        02-18-2013, 05:46 AM
      #8
    Showing
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tracer    
    So correct me if I'm wrong, but the saddle should fit 'perfectly' without anything underneath it, but the pad is added to make it more comfortable or tweak it?

    Now another quick question - would this sort of pad be enough for a well-fitting western saddle?
    That is correct, from my understanding.

    I'm not sure about the pad. Generally western saddles use 3/4" -1" thickness.. that pad looks quite floppy and not as thick. It *may* work.. but I personally wouldn't use it.
         
        02-18-2013, 11:32 AM
      #9
    Weanling
    That pad is alright but I prefer a contoured wither.
    Posted via Mobile Device
         
        02-19-2013, 01:24 AM
      #10
    Yearling
    I stopped in and had another look at the saddle today, and found it online!

    Vaquero Western Saddle 16"

    How does it look to you guys quality-wise? I'm only really after a saddle for trail riding, and comfort is going to be the biggest factor for me (and the horse). I'm not sure I like the suede seat, in case I go riding and it starts raining...

    Also, is it typical for western saddles to have a 'tapering' gullet? All the ones at this saddlery did so I'm presuming it is.
         

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