Problems with the abetta endurance saddle
This is a spin off from the post on Trail riding Saddles.
I have extensive experience with the abetta endurance saddle. There weakness and their strengths.
A few years ago I bought 3 new abetta saddles. One for a working saddle, one for a backup if something happened to my working saddle and another for a spare, maybe even parts to keep the other 2 going.
I found the fenders wear out in about 1 1/2 years of about 3000 miles.
They wear holes right threw.
The riging is the problem. The knot is located right where the fender passes throught the tree limiting movement of the fenders.
There is also a little strap limiting the fender movement forward and backwards. Remove the 2 screws on each side holding the seat down , peel it back partly and cut this strap off. This allows more swing of the stirrups.
The western Knot is another problem. I lope alot and swing my legs forward. The fender and the knot interfer causing a binding that becomes extremely irritating. Fly changes, something I do every 1/2 mile or so becomes particularly probmatic because your forwards swing of the leg and then backward swing binds on the knot.
I fix this problem with a custom english riging which cost $57.
This solves the knot problem and I use a 24 inch dressage girth.
The worn fenders I replace with good quality leather ones at another $150.
The saddle comes with endurance stirrups but the through bolt, the one that connects the stirrups to the fenders is 1/4 inch with a plastic spacer. With hard use this spacer disintigrates causeing the bolt to bend. I replace this with a 5/16 bolt and an aluminum spacer.
The tree??? It tends to bridge. This means it only contancts the horse in 4 places , like a chair sitting on the back. I strip all working saddles down to the bare tree and custom fit to the horse. This involves building up the center portion of the tree so the tree contacts all areas of the back. All western trees leave a section under the tree missing to pass the stirrup leather through reducing the effective areas of contact.
A normal wester tree has 60 square inches of contact IF every part of the tree contacted the horse, every inch??? This is not the case so you build with fiberglass cloth and resin, grind some spots, build others until you get optimum contact and then reassemble the saddle. I have pictures and do this for every saddle that goes on my guys.
The strong points for the saddle is it's light weight. While the seat is comfortable enough, good enough to ride a buck it becomes hard over long slow rides.
Sometimes while bucking deep snow the pace is held down to a walk for hours on end causing my seat bones to dig into the saddle and over the hours your seat becomes numb, tired, soar. A good sheep skin rug properly installed on the saddle goes a long way to improving the comfort.
Between the stripping of the tree, then custom fitting , the $150 for good leather fenders, the $57 for English riging, the $100 for a good 24 inch dressage girth, the sheep skin, the original $555 purchase price, the $100 tax, the price of the saddle is not that cheap but can be made to work and work well.
I reworked 2 of them and keep the 3rd as a spare in stock form.
I love leather saddles, I am annal about their care but BUT they weigh far to much so I can't use one.
I rode for 20 plus years in a trooper saddle, a highly modified one, fantastic leather, light weight and in a moment of weakness sold it and regret it alot. To replace it is about $1500 plus all the hand made parts.?
That troop had about 300 square inches of contact, flexible contact. My riding weight with gear, me is about 220 pound. 300 into 240 is .8 PSI
The good western saddles are lucky at 60 square inches or 60 into 220 is 3.67 PSI
A indeal running PSI is 1 PSI maximum.
I might go back to the trooper. I have made a few offers on used ones. I keep only the leather parts and remake the tree.
I just got an Abetta Endurance saddle and I love it. I read somewhere that you need a wider cinch for endurance saddles, is this true? What kind of cinch do you think works well with this saddle? I ride a couple of times a week, sometimes all day rides (but not nearly the amount of riding that you do). We ride on a lot of steep mountain trails. Thanks a bunch!
there is a small cross strap under the seat that also limits forwards motion of the stirrups, cut this right away.
I don't run the western girth. I have custom billeting made to replace the western rigging and it is dead center in the saddle moving the girth back from the elbows.
I run a 24 inch dressage girth with elastics for breathing.
I also run a big fluffy bad under the girth to protect the horse.
Your stock western girth will be fine, again it is the rigging that bothers me. The rigging is too far forward for my comfort.
It would be considered full or 7/8th rigging while I like more along the line of 50.
I do spend alot of time in my saddle and over the last 7 days he was been out 8 days, so yes my saddle sees alot of use. I also find my butt gets sore after too many hours so I run a really nice sheep skin stretch tight, screwed down and custom fit for a really soft seat.
So I do like the saddle, the girth is fine but you could consider a nice cheap pad and if the lack of swing of the stirrups doens't bother you then you are good to go. I am heavy, about 193 pounds so wear on mine will be alot more then you.
In 4 years I am still on my first saddle but with rebuilds and modifications.
I also strip the saddle down to the bare tree and custom fit the tree to the horse but that is not necessary. I am just annal about his fit but BUT if you ever notice him humping his back when you first mount him, if he acts the least bit broncy when you first mount then look into it.
Good luck and beside my ortho flex it is one of the best saddle I have ever owned.
The Abetta is a darn good saddle for the money, and quite a bit more comfortable than either of my (heavy!) leather western saddles. After a couple of years of primarily English riding, though, I do feel the lack of swing in the fenders. Even after 6 years of use and some starting wear in the calf-area of the fenders, I can still hose it, scrub with my horse's shampoo, and it looks like the day the UPS guy delivered it.
I had a pair of black leather fenders built for the saddle. They are good quality heavy smooth leather that have been shaped to hold the stirrup on the correct angle.
They cost me $150 and another $60 for the english billeting. Those two modifications really fixed the saddle.
I considered a ortho flex and the local harness shop has a used one for $3000 but honestly I hate the way it is constructed. I think it is poor workmanship.
The one I want is $4300 but I can't justify spending that much for a saddle:-) A $4000 saddle on a $2000 horse?????????
The abetta is the best saddle I can find . The trooper is another great saddle , I rode in one for 20 plus years and sold it when I had a brain fade. It was highly modified but served my purpose. I put of 30,000 miles in that saddle without it breaking down but a serious bucker threw me off and I couldn't ride a good buck in that saddle, thus the abetta at the time.
Riosdad, where did you get the billeting to convert it from western to English?
I will find a picture and post it.
This allows me to run a 24 inch dressage girth and keep all buckles well away from the leg.
The pictures are on my home computer. I will post them later tonight.
Abetta's do not hold up. Very uncomfortable to ride in for any length of time.
I used a Big Horn synthetic on my black gelding for thousands of miles. Never a problem with it for him (no white hairs, sore back and even sweat pattern). No sore back or legs for me. The saddle is tinged gray from age and wear.
The saddle fitter/maker that I have out once a year to check fit on our horses said it was the best synthetic saddle he has come across.
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