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snoggle 12-15-2009 12:03 AM

Australian Saddle
Does anyone else use an Aussie saddle with their gaited horse?

It seems like my TWH has a hard time gaiting when I use my Aussie endurance saddle. The company I bought it from says that Aussie saddles are great for gaited horses since they are lighter and I've read that other places as well. This doesn't make much sense to me since Aussie saddles sit further forward than western saddles. It seems like that would hinder shoulder movement - isn't that why there are "gaited saddles" - aren't they made to free up the shoulders?

Has anyone had great success or big problems with an Aussie saddle and their gaited horse?

Do you think a saddle specifically for gaited horses would be better?

Macslady 12-15-2009 06:59 AM

It could be your saddle is pinching the shoulders making movement uncomfortable. Every horse is an individual and what will work for one will not work for another. Do you have a saddle shop, new or used, around you? Will they let you bring your horse there to try some saddles on? It doesn't need to be a gaited saddle, I know several who use barrel saddles since they sit up and off the shoulder more. Weight really isn't a huge factor. Hopefully some others will chime in for you on this.

I have a wide tree and a regular tree Tucker I use for my horses, and my husband has a Tex Tan Kotula. Between the three one fits my Rocky Mtn. best, the other fits our Spotted Saddle and paint horse.

snoggle 12-15-2009 08:55 AM

No, I don't live near any saddle shops (I travel an hour just to get groceries - LOL). I sent whither tracings in to the company when I bought the saddle. I also took lots of pictures of her in the saddle and emailed them to the saddle company and they said the saddle fit well. Her sweat marks are nice and even. I think it fits her well overall because she doesn't mind being ridden in it (she will refuse to go if she doesn't like the saddle or bit - no bucking or anything, she just doesn't move). She just doesn't get in to the running walk very easily and instead does a VERY bouncy trot (someone else told me she was probably actually pacing?). When you get her into the running walk she won't stay in it very long. Her transitions from trotting back down to a walk are almost unrideable.
I've not ridden her in any other saddles, but my husband rides her in an old western and he says she's always smooth. Maybe the difference is who the rider is, rather than the saddle. I just don't know. I need to ride her in his saddle, but haven't had a chance to yet. I just wanted some opinions on Aussies and gaited horses in general.

Macslady 12-15-2009 06:08 PM

Yes, definitely ride her in his saddle. Also watch how he sits. Men often sit back better which allows them to place their back correctly. Most men are also very relaxed when riding. I know I often catch myself sitting forward like I am riding a regular horse. Most people will tell you to sit on your pockets, hold the reins firmly with lowered hands, not firm enough to make her stop though, and apply leg pressure until you get her into gait. I think it will just take lots of practice on your part, and you will need to remember just how you were sitting when she started gaiting.

SmoothTrails 12-15-2009 06:32 PM

Macslady has good advice. I would also make sure that when you put the saddle on her there is a space of a few fingers worth between the point of her shoulder and the tree. It may be bumping the point of her shoulder when she tries to go.

Curly_Horse_CMT 12-27-2009 11:23 PM

I use a regular tree Aussie saddle on my gaited Bashkir Curly X Arab mare, and she does great. I like the Aussie because it allows more air to get through to my horse's back, and it doesnt sit directly on their backbone as a western saddle would. That is the best saddle that we have found for her so far, and it doesnt hinder her movement at all. I am able to ride her gaits better as well, due to the stirrup placement on an Aussie saddle. I feel much more secure and I love using it on the trail.

I suppose if she had more extravigant movement as some other highly gaited breeds it could become a problem, but she is so narrow in the shoulders that she needs a regular tree or else it would be too wide for her.

wild_spot 12-28-2009 04:40 AM

Australian Saddles should sit in the same place as every other saddle (well except for those weird saddleseat ones!) - Behind the scapula/shoulder blade. A western saddle LOOKS more forward because it has skirts - The tree is actually sitting in the same place in relation to the shoulder as any other saddle.

I've never ridden a gaited horse but I do ride in a quality, custom made Stock saddle.

snoggle 12-28-2009 11:03 AM

4 Attachment(s)
I sent saddle fitment pics to the company I bought the saddle from when I first got the saddle and they said that I had it sitting too far back on her. So here are more recent pics with it sitting where they told me to put it. After I sent them these pics, they said that it fit her perfectly. What do you think of where the saddle is sitting? The saddle pad is a bit too far back in these pics - usually its a bit more forward.

I haven't had a chance to ride her in hubby's saddle yet (or really, much at all lately).

Please ignore the horn on the saddle (I know that isn't authentic with an Australian saddle - I've contemplated having it removed if I'm going to keep it.). I really like how the Aussie saddle feels for me - I would love to get a nicer custom one someday - if it would work for her too.

wild_spot 12-28-2009 04:59 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I would scoot it back - It is sitting over the back of her scapula, which would be inhibiting her shoulder movement. Especially being gaited, thats a big no-no! Give it a shot and see how she rides - It may well fix the problem.

You know how they have a 'dip' in behind the shoulder? You want the front of panels to sit in that dip - Not up on the actual bone of the scapula. I'm not sure how clear it is, but this is where my saddle sits on my boy. He has quite a long back which makes it look more forward than it is - But have a loon at where the girth is as well. If I have my saddle anywhere near his shoulder blades he will walk around with a humped back like a camel - He had years of badly fitting saddles so will let me know, clearly, when it's too far forward!

SmoothTrails 12-28-2009 06:49 PM

Yep. It is too far forward there. If you put your fingers on the point of her shoulder under there you are going to feel the tree sitting on it. Move it back some and touch the point of her shoulder each time you move it back. You should have at least a finger or two between where it sits and the point of her shoulder. Otherwise it will inhibit her shoulder movement and therefor her gait.

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