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.