Buying a saddle.
I am new to western! I need to have my newly adopted horse fitted for a western saddle.
Here are some concerns:
1) He's hugely fat right now. I got him out of shape, he hasn't been ridden much in the past 3 years so I am going to have to get him moving as soon as I can. I am reluctant to get him fitted while he's so flabby...is this something I should worry about?
2) He's arabian (polish), but a BIG arab, at almost 15.3 (just a hair shy) and 1250ish lbs. Should I still be considering an arab tree?
3) What kind of saddle is going to be the most comfortable for trail riding? I don't plan on doing much more than kicking around the trails and some light outdoor arena work (bending, figure 8's, etc). He's 16 and because he was an adoption I don't have a lot of info on how he was treated/ridden, etc. However he is quite gentle/willing with me, if a little bit spooky. His spooks are just little jump/footplants...and at silly things, like the cat. :|
Thank you so much for any help/info in advance. Here is a pic of my chubby boy. I know he needs work.
So far I've switched him from a sweet feed, to safe choice, now to Buckeye's Safe N Easy (getting those NSCs lower!). We've only had him a month, and the weather has been pretty rough for work (we don't have an arena). He is also extremely herd bound to his pasture mate. Baby steps!
Here is a few pics for reference.
First western saddles are not fitted like English saddles are. You need to find out what tree size he needs and go from there. You need to get one that fits properly then the western saddle pads take up the rest.
You do not want it to be so tight that it pinches him or so big that it sits on his withers.
A good way to find out what might work is go borrow saddles of different sizes and types from friends. If that is not possible then make a templet and take some measurements and then find a saddle that fits with in those measurements.
My mom has a tex tan and a circle Y, but I think they are both quarter horse bars, but I'm not 100% sure.
There is a woman who fits western saddles specifically that will come out and measure him up. Of course she sells saddles so I am cautiously optimistic with her. I just wanted to go into it armed with a bit more knowledge.
What is the difference between equitation, trail, close contact, barrel, etc?
The difference is who they sit the rider and to some extent how they contact the horse.
Your horse is very much overweight, as you know, but he is also a very sturdy horse and should make an excellent trail horse. He has magnificent bone in his legs. I think he is really nicely built.
Thank you!! He came to me fat to be fair.
We are going to do a lot of trotting to get him fit. :)
I assume a 'trail' saddle is probably the most comfortable?
I had an abetta 'endurance' saddle on my old horse and I hated it...it was uncomfortable and just meh.
What are people's thoughts on synthetics?
Your guy seems to be built very similarly to my Arabian, Lacey. She's also one of those chunky Polish Arabs that has no problem being mistaken for a QH until you see her face. She can fit into a saddle with FQH bars but that's generally a smidge too wide for her, and over a long ride the gullet will end up being only about a fingers width away from her withers (she also has tallish withers, like your boy).
That saddle that fit her pretty well was a FQH bars Bighorn synthetic. It was darn comfy if you like the "not very much padding" feel. It got a little owie after a 4 hour ride, just from lack of cushioning, but I always felt very secure in it.
The saddle I have now basically fits her to a T. It's a smidge narrow so I have to have a pretty thin pad with it but otherwise, it's a dream. It's a 1969 Bighorn, "New Quarter Boy" real leather saddle.
Here's a picture:
I find it to be THE MOST comfy saddle I have EVER ridden in. I've ridden in it for probably more than 100 hours in the 6 months and I've never been sore yet. It's apparently a show saddle, so it wasn't really intended for trail riding (that's why the seat is more flat, etc) but I find that suits me just perfectly. I feel much more at home in an english saddle so I feel like this is a good fit for since the saddle doesn't really hold you in like a lot of western saddles do and I'm kind of "freer" like I would be in an english saddle. It also puts me in a very upright sort of position (that you'd need for showing WP!) that can be irritating when we're going downhill, but it's really not bad.
Anyway, I wish you luck! I hope you find a saddle that makes your dreams come true like my saddle does for me!
Trail saddle is what I would defiantly go with if thats all your going to be doing. Circle Y is the brand I would choose too! Great quality and comfort! I have a circle y equitation saddle and its SO comfy!
I would try your moms saddles, see how they fit, measure the gullet and go from there. Personally, I had a Circle Y-never found a horse it fit! I now have a Tex Tan Imperial I just got and I hate it. It will be going back for sure. Too narrow. I prefer wider, at least full bars, personally, as long as it is not too wide-it gives them room to move their shoulders. The one I will be keeping is actually a Rocking R. Same tree as Crates, but very affordable and comfie. They tend to run wider, from what I have seen.
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