10-29-2013, 11:13 PM
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You don't need a thick saddle pad for that stock saddle, just whatever you use with an English saddle. Fit is important as there is no padding in between, just the saddle.
You can ride however you like in them really. Lots of people here use them on green horses until they're a bit quieter then they switch to an english saddle. Some people solely ride in them too.
I guess what they were originally used for and ridden isn't unlike what western was either. Just a safe, comfortable saddle for mustering cattle, checking fences just general farm stuff. It's not really like modern western disciplines though.
Whether you can ride english well in it is a personal thing. Lots of stirrup bars are places too far forward to get your leg under you, leaving your leg out the front and you sitting back. They're harder to post in anyway, much harder if your leg is too the front. I've been comfortable in very few stock saddles, and so I've started riding in western saddles (quite unpopular in my area!). Just depends what suits you really. A saddle is a saddle though, I can ride in a western like I would in a dressage, and vice versa really. Obviously doing what it's made for is somewhat easier, but it's not a huge thing.