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countrylove 03-29-2013 07:52 PM

trail riding/english saddle opinions (?)
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So my mare really prefers my trainers English saddle to any of the western saddles we've used on her. Since she is most comfortable English, I want to buy an English saddle for her. I do not plan on showing except I do want to do a few trail challenges at some small local shows and the majority of our riding is around the property or on BLM trails. So...

Would it be OK to use an English saddle for trail classes or will I still need my western for competition? (The rules should specify right?) We dont care about winning, I just wanna go and have fun. See what we can do :)

What is the best type English saddle for trail riding? Most comfort for me and my horse?

And how do I properly fit an English saddle? Is it anything like fitting a western?

I've ridden western my whole life but occasionally used my best friends English saddle so I know some basics about them.

What do I need to know switching from western to english? I do have an instructor as well, so Ill be able to get some pointers once we get started.

If it matters I am a pretty decent rider too.

Any pros and cons are welcome...

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DraftyAiresMum 03-29-2013 08:04 PM

What is it about the English saddle the mare likes?

I plan on doing trail classes in my Aussie saddle this summer, so I don't know why you couldn't do them in an English. Heck, we've had people do trail class bareback and in-hand before at our local schooling shows.

I'd find an AP (all purpose) saddle for trail riding. They also make English-style endurance saddles that look kinda like sooped up dressage saddle.
Exmoor Endurance English Saddle
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countrylove 03-29-2013 08:13 PM

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She has bad shoulders and a short back so I think it gives her a better range of movement and more comfort. I also think she enjoys the lighter weight as well. We have tried multiple western saddles on her and she goes just fine just not as freely as with the english saddle on. She just seems to enjoy working more with the english. Everything about her picks up and shes more willing to do what is asked. Her cues improve as well. Im not kicking to go anymore just barely squeezing, she is finally paying attention to my leg cues and isnt fighting the bit or tossing her head. Everything about her under saddle improves when she is ridden english.
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waresbear 03-29-2013 08:17 PM

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Here, all open shows, trail has to be done in western tack. But unsanctioned, unrated fun shows, I don't see a problem.

countrylove 03-29-2013 08:34 PM

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I just want to do the fun shows. I'm not a very competitive person but think it would be fun to gain more experience. Mostly I just plan on trail and pleasure riding.
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MyBoyPuck 03-30-2013 07:49 PM

I love my Thorowgood T4 GP for trail riding. It's very light weight, synthetic so you can get it wet, nice deep seat so you don't go anywhere when your horse starts acting up, and it's only $400.

boots 03-31-2013 12:12 AM

I have an old all purpose something or other that I use for ranch work when I don't want to rope. Gets the point across very clearly. So it's pretty similar to trail riding.

I do find, though, that for some reason I tend to look for more natural obstacles to jump on those days.

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