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Freelance Cowgirl 11-29-2012 09:12 AM

Buying Australian Tack That Fits
I've always wanted to try out an Australian saddle. I've only ever ridden western, and I'm a very small person. I always feel like my legs are sticking too far out and I just don't feel comfortable in western saddles. I like to feel closer to my horse and be able to hug it more with my legs (No, I don't constantly squeeze). I've sat in two Australian saddles before and they were too big for me. By a lot. The one that was the closest fit was 17". My western saddle(s) are 15", and I was told that a 17" inch Australian saddle would be my size. It's not. I also wanted more of a crossover saddle. A horn, little bit thicker stirrups, etc.

Does anyone know how I might be able to test out a saddle before actually buy it? I've emailed Down Under Saddle Supply once before and they have this 30 day trial where if I'm not satisfied I can send the saddle back. But mainly I want to figure out my size. One challenging thing is that I should be able to fit a 17", but I'm a very skinny person and I'm light boned just like my filly. We're both wiry little rawhide chords. The really hard part is I don't have access to a supply of them, where there are different sizes to sit in. There is an Amish tack store that I go to and he might be able to get some different sizes in, but I'm not sure.

Should I even bother? I'm a trail rider and I want to get into endurance riding next year. My horse is young and pretty small (narrow and lightly boned Arab mix). I'm not sure I want an endurance saddle, but one that I can use for show (when I actually do) and also the trails and endurance. So, I was just thinking the Australian saddle would be great for me since I wanted something smaller and more compact, but also versatile and I wouldn't have to learn a new riding form (English and what-not).

Does anyone have any advice for me?

Cacowgirl 11-29-2012 10:06 AM

If you get an Aussie saddle I don't think you could show in it-I've only seen Western & English saddles at shows.

bsms 11-29-2012 10:06 AM

Well, I have the DownUnder Master Campdraft. They recommended it as having an English feel to the seat, and being OK for a horse with tall withers. One of the things I like about it is that it allows me to wrap my legs around my mare, which helps when she practices her sideways jumps.

I would call the folks at DownUnder and talk with them about your needs. In the end, buying a saddle via the Internet is always a gamble, but there are not a lot of places that sell Australian saddles.

Also, while I like the Australian saddle, they aren't very light. An Abetta saddle is much lighter than a DU leather saddle. My Circle Y saddle may be heavier, but not by much - maybe 10 %.

For sizes, I use a 16" western, and have both a 17" and 18" Australian. The 17" is a little small for me, but I've ridden it quite a bit anyways. The 18" is probably a bit big, but it is my primary saddle and the only one I use riding my mare off property.

Oh - and to add to the confusion, my wife & daughter hate Australian saddles, while I love them. Sorry my post is like reading a lawyer's advice, full of maybes!

Freelance Cowgirl 11-29-2012 06:48 PM

Well, I called Down Under and I was very happy with the customer service! I was able to get a ton of information but towards the end my call cut off because of bad reception on my end. The woman was very helpful, and told me what size saddle would be best for me. I don't plan on purchasing for probably another year, though. Maybe late summer. My filly will be done growing soon and since I don't feel super comfortable in my western saddle I don't like riding her very much. I was reading customer service too, and even though I imagine they wouldn't put bad reviews on their site I think this saddle style might be the best for me.

The woman I spoke to agreed, because we are close to the same size. I'm 5'2", fluxuate between 90-96 pounds on average, and I wear a size 0 pants. Size 15" saddle for me!

I'm really excited, but I don't plan on spending a ton of money. I'll buy one either on clearance for maybe a synthetic just to start out with. Just in case I end up not liking it. But I'm confident that I will. Everything we told each other on the phone led up to the belief that I'm looking at the right thing. And don't worry Bsms, this whole purchase is going to be one big maybe! Might as well take a chance. If I took a chance in rescuing my filly and she's turned out so perfect then I can surely take a chance on a saddle that might be just the right thing for us.

I'll be glad when she's done growing and I can really ride her. Thanks for the advice and if you have any more I definitely want to hear it. The more the merrier.

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