What Kind of Saddle?
So I am leasing my horse with option to buy in June. I am definitely going to buy her. In the mean time I am also slowly but surely buying tack, equipment, etc. I am a very green rider that is not sure where my riding is going to take me...show? barrel? pleasure? So what kind of saddle should I buy? Is there one that is more universal than others? Are they not universal at all? I know I should ask my instructor, but always forget. When I'm ready to buy I know to check return policy and get one that fits myself and my horse, I just do not even know which discipline to start looking in. At least I know that I prefer Western over English...I guess its a start. Any advice would be great.
If you intend to ride western, and want an all around, I'd look into ropers. There's nothing you cant do in a roper and most are comfy enough to trail ride in. Me and my wife both ride ropers. I also have an all around that just sits. Our daughter rides in a barrel saddle, but she races, and she trails in it too. But she's thinking about roping or at least running cows so she'll probly end up with a roper also. I like em if it's gonna be your main saddle
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Hmmmm well, most good tack stores will let you take a saddle on loan for a week to see if it fits/works for you.......atleast where I am they do:-)
A barrel saddle is very specific to that discipline, you may find if you wanted to do another discipline that you might have a hard time moving around in it they way you need too.
A reining saddle (my favorite) has a low horn (so it doesn't get in the way of your reins) an open seat and a low cantle so you can sit back in the slides. I like these saddles because I don't feel boxed in.....also the fenders swing nicely on them so you can move freely.....(I think these saddles are pretty versatile, you can cut in them, you can trail ride etc.....)
A cutting saddle, similar to a reining saddle, has a higher horn (so ya can hold on!) and a lot of them have an open seat with a squared of cantle in the back.
A trail saddle, usually has a padded seat and a high cantle.
A roping saddle, has a lower, solid thick horn, mid-open seat.
I've never sat in a pleasure saddle......so someone else might come along and tell you about it!!!:-)
I'm going to vote a roper as well..I love mine and I trail, game, pleasure, hopefully some cowhorse, and eventually some novice reining.
It doesn't restrict me during my game patterns, yet keeps me in substantially during take offs (I've flew behind the cantle of a trail saddle a few times on a rough horse if I didn't grab the horn), it's comfortable enough to go for a 5hr trail in (longest I've gone so far), and while it's quite heavy, I've never had my times change between my roper and a barrel saddle.
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For general ring riding (or even a bit of trails), I would probably go with a training saddle. They're comfortable, put you in a good position, and can be used in low-level showing.
Saddles I would definitely avoid are barrel saddles, cutting saddles and reining saddles (even though I love them). They tend to put you in a very specific position, which is good if you ride barrels/cutting/reining, but isn't preferable for other disciplines.
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