Finding a saddle for a draft cross
We just purchased a Friesian/Percheron cross and at 16.1 hands and 1700lbs she dwarfs my little quarter horse. The problem is both our saddles fit him perfectly and nothing we own even comes close to fitting her. So I have a few questions about saddles for draft crosses.
First, what type of saddle fit them best?
I know her previous owners rode in an Australian saddle and mom and sister seem to want to buy one. I'm use to an English saddle, but I would really like to get the saddle that is best for the horse.
Second, if we decide to get an Australian saddle, are there some good mid-range ones? Are there some to just avoid?
Lastly, if I buy an English saddle for her are there some brands that fit draft type horses better than others?
I look forward to hearing your advice, thanks for your time!
Drafts and draft crosses can be difficult to fit. If she is just wide and not *ginormous* an aussie will be a good fit for you. I love this sites saddles. You can get their clearance saddles super cheap *and* they still offer a 'wither tracing' fitting on all their saddles, clearance or not.
Australian saddles at clearance prices from Down Under Saddle Supply
As far as english goes, I know that you can get all the way to a 'wide' tree and have it still not be wide enough. Here is a nice 'wide' on ebay Stubben Siegfried VSS 17 inch english saddle wide tree - eBay (item 160539225453 end time Feb-05-11 20:08:33 PST)
And while these saddles are generally 'cheapies' the reviews on them are remarkably good. For a cheap saddle, it might be worth a try. Rare 18" Draft Horse Dressage Saddle by Ascot - eBay (item 370140736582 end time Feb-24-11 22:11:04 PST)
English brands that are good for wide horses include Duett, Thorowgood Broadback or Cob saddles, Wintec Wide saddles, Black Country, Lovatt & Ricketts, some Albion, some County, and some of the Thornhill saddles. You want one with a "hoop tree". They do better on wide horses.
Those "draft tree" Aussies and English saddles on eBay should be avoided. Almost all of them are Asian made junk. The only mid-priced Aussie saddles I would trust are Wintec's synthetics and those form downunderweb.com, and I don't know if either would work for a draft horse.
For western saddles, both Abetta and Big Horn made draft saddles. I believe Big Horn's is labeled as a "Haflinger" saddle, but it will fit drafts well too.
I finally bought a Bates with the CAIR and adjustable gullet for my draftX he loves it and so do I. But for years I used a Stubben siegfried, med tree, and that was OK...not great, but ok.
I love the Bates, since I wanted to fit him, but not have a custom.
Wintec has the same system, I believe.
Thanks so much for the advise! I think we're going to go with an Australian right now since it seems easier to find one that would fit her properly and because that's what she's use to. Though I will keep the advise about the English saddle in mind as I would like to get one of those for her in the long run as well.
I would recommend trying an aussie on her before buying one, if you are not used to them or have never ridden in them.
In my experience, on a wide horse, an aussie saddle can be pretty unstable and inclined to roll. It's not an issue if you have a really secure seat and are well balanced, but if you ever want to put someone else on your horse - well, in an aussie saddle, good luck even getting them up there! A really good tall mounting block will be a must.
When my mom rode her before we bought her it was in an Aussie saddle and she loved it. It's good to know about the issues with the unstableness and rolling. I'll pass that on to my mom and sister, thanks so much!
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