Australian Saddles(aussie saddle)?
Ive seen these advertised and ive seen few people who actually use them. Im curious as to what the rest of you guys think about them?They seem like an 'all purpose' type of saddle when you are working with a horse that isnt quite english or quite western. it looks like a mix between both.Seems very endurance(aka Butt) friendly. Lightweight enough to take anywhere, yet not flimsy and therefore useless. Id love some input. Is there a certain breed they are best fitted for? or are they 'all purpose' like im thinking? I was trained western, english, huntseat, etc, but im interested in trying an aussie saddle out...seems like a perfect fit for me, who is tired of the bulkiness of a western saddle, but not as comfortable in an english or huntseat saddle especially for training or everyday use...
I got one cheap while back. It was very comfortable to sit in on "dummy" horse, but not on live one. I'm sure because it was very poor quality and didn't fit her well (so I returned it after just one ride). However I'd LOVE to try a real GOOD aussie, but they are not common around (in fact I don't know anyone who'd own one). From my understanding they are lighter and more comfortable then western, but gives more security then english. But it's just IMO of course.
I have one. I don't use it though I like a horn on my saddle. It is much more secure than an English saddle the thigh rolls stick out in front of your thighs and kinda hold you in between them and the cantle. It doesn't seem to much lighter than my western saddle. I do like the looks of them. I bought it used at a tack swap and it was an expensive one, however I am not that great on saddle fitting and I think it is to narrow for my Qaurter horse he is kinda wide.
I've ridden in them mostly for trails and they really are quite comfy. True Aussie saddles don't have a horn and have a nice deep seet. They're quite secure but the sensation of posting in one for the first time is weird. These saddles were designed for Aussie stockmen who often spent weeks at a time in the saddle. I'm sure Wild-Spot can give you a better description and a whole lot of information on good brands because she's an expert :)
Pre-note: I am ready to blow up at this laptop for redirecting and erasing this post!! Is #4 the lucky charm?? Grr..
I, personally think they're a good idea; Western makes me feel more secure, but I give up comfort, and vice versa with English (currently ride).
According to research on the saddle, they're a specially developed hybrid of the two dominant "breed" of saddle. In the beginning, no one took to the saddle design quite like they did with Western and English... And mayhap the Austrailians continued to forge new styles for them? (I had this all written up super nice and smart-like in my previous deleted post :( )
Anyways, you can get them in different styles these days, in regards to "horn/no horn" or "more English/more Western". Have you searched previous Austrailian saddle forum posts?
From what I have collected from them, "you get what you pay for" in the respect that you can buy a cheap Austrailian saddle.. but it may be cheap for a reason. There are some models that I've seen that are about $2-3k. Then again, I've never ridden in one... so I can't say that pricey is best. But it seems to be a semi-continued theme.
If you do get one, let me know how it works out :)
First off - NO good quality Australian saddle has a horn. None. Any saddle with a horn is made to target the US market who are used to having a horn on their saddles. I have not met one Australian who has even seen a stock saddle with a horn.
Ok, i'm just going to paste some info I have posted in previous threads on this subject! Plus add some photos of my own custom made stock saddle, just because I love to show it off :]
Firstly - MOST of the cheap saddles on ebay are just that. Cheap, cr*ppy quality, bady fitting, so on and so forth :]
Firstly, decide if you want a swinging fender or a traditional. A swinging fender is sometimes called a hybrid, as the swinging fenders are the same/similar to the stirrup system on a western saddle. The traditional saddles have an english type stirrup set up. They are different in terms of the range if movement and support for your leg. I found the swinging fender gave a lot of support, and a fair range of movement. The traditional gives you more movement but not as much support. Another thing to consider is where the stirrup bar is hung. It can either be the 'traditional' style, which puts your leg more forward in the style of the old drovers, or the newer 'centered seat' style, which brings your leg more underneath you, in more of an english/dressage leg/seat position.
I have NEVER seen a stock saddle in Australia with a horn. A horn is only added to cater to western riders who want it. A TRUE stock saddle doesn't have a horn, it would inhibit a rider in sports such as campdrafting.
Now, the big one! Price. With stock saddles, you really do get what you pay for. Try to steer away from saddles called 'Kimberley Poley', they tend to be cheap indian imports. If you are looking on ebay, you can often find cheap second hand Syd Hill saddles, which have a good reputation in AUS.
One more thing... A lot of stock saddles out there sit you an inch or more OFF your horse. I personally hate these saddles! I prefer a close contact saddle. I like to be able to feel what my horse is doing and communicate clearly with my seat.
A lot of people on this forum have had success buying through a website, I forget the name, but they sell a saddle called the 'Longreach'. Try googling it. They aren't the quality of a lot of the good saddles here in AUS, but people on here who have bought them have been happy with them.
There is also a saddlery called 'James saddlery' who make saddles in AUS and can ship to the US, they sometimes have specials and packages available.
This is a saddle made by coopers saddlery. He makes really good saddles, pricey, but worth it. This is a good example of a GOOD quality, balanced, close contact stock saddle. He has a really good FAQ about stock saddles and swinging fender vs. Traditional, click the link above if you want to have a look.
You can use any pad under a stock saddle. Same as any other saddle, if it fits your horse, the pad doesn't matter. A lot of people here use pads that are similar in thickness to a towel, folded in half. others use foam pads, others use different things again. I think the 'Aussie' pads are targeted towards people in the US. It really doesn't make a difference what pad you use.
Most stock saddles have a felt lining on the panels underneath. That sounds like what yours has, Sunny. The majority of Australian made stock saddles still have wool flocking, also.
There is more than one style seat in stock saddles nowadays. The older ones are as Liberty described, sitting you back on your 'pockets', while having your upper body over the horses shoudlers and your legs more forward. However, you can also get stock saddle now that have the stirrups/fenders hung further back on the tree, allowing for a more traditional english style centered seat. If your saddle is older, I would guess it is the first style I mentioned.
As Xivo said, they were made for stockmen who were riding all day out in harsh terrain. Nice deep seat to be comfortable, and the knee rolls give you security for different situations - Wether it be galloping down a rocky, hole covered hill, or turning hard and fast with a cow.
Nowadays they are used as working saddle for stockmen still - And are also the saddle of choice for campdrafting and polocrosse, both very Australian sports. They are also the traditional saddle used on Australian Stock Horses - and is what the majority of ASH horses are shown in.
NO AUTHENTIC AUSTRALIAN STOCK SADDLE HAS A HORN. A horn is something that has been tacked on simply to appeal to the US market - Stockmen didn't rope calves off horses, they used transportable yards and a crush to doctor cows. A horn gets in the way of your body when campdrafting/fast stockwork out on the plains, as the traditional seat for a stockmen in fast work is a very forward, hunched seat.
Most stock saddles in the US are cheap, poor quality and badly balanced. A good quality Australian Stock Saddle is a thing of beauty and comfort... The market for custom made stock saddles is roaring in Australia - Some makers have up to a 2 year waiting list. I recently bought my own custom made stock saddle for my ASH - And I have sat in nothing that compares to it comfort wise, and it is the only saddle my horse has been comfortable in so far.
If you have a chance to, have a sit/ride in a true Australian stock saddle - Syd Hills are a better known brand but not the best. Names such as Mackellars, Coopers, Jacksons, Peter Nelsons, etc. are sinonimous with the better quality stock saddles you can get today, and many actually increase in value with age and good care. If you are interested, you can look in my archive of threads I have made and I have posted pictures of my saddle.
Stock Saddles (The true name for an 'Aussie' saddle) were made for cattle work. They were made for stockmen and drovers who spent the whole day moving and droving cattle.
A stock saddle can fit any horse - It just depends on the individual saddle. Most are made on a standard 'stock horse' tree (I.e. Australian Stock Horse, not QH) but there are many that are made specifically for different shaped horse. Nowadays you can even get some half breed fender saddles made with QH bars.
In case you don't know - There are two types of stock saddle. The traditional stock saddle which has a full skirt and stirrup leathers, and the half breed or fender saddle, which has leather fenders similar to a western saddle but still has the knee rolls and no horn.
The problem with stock saddles in the US is most of them are crap. Badly made and some have a horn tacked on to make them seem more familiar to western riders.
A true stock saddle does NOT have a horn.
To buy a good quality stock saddles in the US you are looking at upwards of $1,000 - And these are the very bottom end of the quality saddles. In Australia, for a quality stock saddle made by a saddler, not a production line, you are looking at upwards of $3,000 - Second hand. They go from $4,000 to $8,000 brand new.
There is a website (James Saddlery? maybe?) that sells decent quality half breed saddles with more of a 'western' feel to the US - I wouldn't call them true stock saddles but they are fairly good quality and readily available. I beleive that also custom make the saddle for your horse based on wither tracings. There are a few people on here that have bought saddles from them.
Here are some examples of different types of stock saddles (Good Quality) - First some traditionals:
Here is my own saddle - A custom made traditional:
A different brand traditional showing the english panels:
And some half breeds:
This is similar to most half breeds with the longer panels.
Here is a fender with the english panels - Very $$$ though. The guy who made my saddle also makes fenders almost the same as this one.
This is the difference between a cheap stock saddle and a good quality stock saddle - A cheap stock saddle sits you a good 2/3 inches off your horses back. They are horrible for communication via the seat and legs. A good quality, well made stock saddle however puts you practically right on the horses back - This is why I don't like Syd Hills much as they still ahve too much bulk between me and the horse for my liking. My custom made stock saddle sits me as close if not closer to my horse - Which is the main reason I like it as I can really refine my aids.
Another big difference is in the knee rolls - On a cheap saddle they are very thick and often straight - On a good quality saddle they are thinner but stronger - And ergonomically shaped to accomodate your leg.
And finally - An updated photo of my own saddle from a few days ago. You can see how it has improved as it is breaking in - the leather is smoothing out, colour becoming more uniform, and it is really starting to fit myself and my horse wonderfully.
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