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Need advice on Aussie saddles
Considering an Aussie saddle and need your input please. Have had right knee replacement and more arthritis issues in that leg. Need a saddle and stirrups that allow my leg to have a more natural turn while riding for comfort and to eliminate anymore strain. Also want a saddle with depth and one that offers the most stability for trails. My QH is easygoing but sometimes spooks on the trail and will jump to side when he's not sure of something. After reading about the Aussie saddles, they seem to be the way I need to go. My western saddle just isn't comfy anymore. I like the depth of seat and the poley concept of the Aussie. The ones that have piqued my interest are: Kimberley Trailmaster with horn and the Down Under Wizzard Poley with horn. Both are on clearance with Down Under Co., so can get either at good price. Want quality and sturdiness. I'm 60, so I don't need one that will last 50 years...lol, and I'm a larger woman, so I want comfort and sturdiness/ Appreciate any advice from the Forum Friends. Thanks!
I have a Kimberly trail master and I love it. It is very comfortable and very secure. I bought mine used and it really holds up. The leather is very nice on it, not something you would expect out of a saddle that inexpensive.
I have 3 complaints about the saddle which isn't too many.
I dislike the horn. If I were to get one tomorrow, it wouldn't have a horn. It is in an awkward position and does nothing but give you some place to hang a saddle bag...and there are plenty of places to hang bags from on an Aussie.
The over girth is a PITA. It cinches up nice and tight but will occasionally pinch your leg. You can get them with a regular dressage type girthing system or you can get the overgirth and get a saddle seat cushion to cover it...I went with a cushion and it makes a normally comfortable saddle extremely comfortable.
They are heavy. My saddle is in the 30-40# range. Same as my fully skirted western pleasure saddle.
The bonuses outweight the negatives. It is a comfortable, secure, well fitting, affordable saddle.
Thanks so much for your info! Interesting comment about the horn. I've never ridden without one, so I know it's just a security issue with me...something to grab if I need it. Silly question I know, but what do you grab on to getting on or if you have a sudden move by your horse? Thanks again. Very helpful!
To get on, I grab the opposite side poley. Aussies don't sit down on a horse the way a western saddle does so when getting on, you have to make sure the cinch is tight and a mounting block is advised.
The front of the saddle, I'll grab that if my horse is having a 'moment'...*laugh*
I've always ridden in a traditional western saddle with a horn but for me, it just kind of gets in the way with the Aussie.
I've got a Master Campdraft with horn from DownUnder. It has a shallower seat than the one you are looking at, but is still very secure feeling. If your horse spins, the poley catches your thigh and spins you with it. I ops checked that when riding a spooky horse a few weeks after badly bruising my hip (bad enough that it still is sore 2+ years later). I could barely get on the horse, but when she jumped forward and spun around, I went with her. Ended up with a bruise on my thigh, but that beat taking a tumble.
If they advise a particular model for your horse's back, listen. When bought on a discount, the saddle is decent quality for the price. I'd try to avoid paying their full price.
The leather was dry when I got it, but that happened with a new Bates I bought as well, and some time using Passier Lederbalsam has helped it a lot.
I've had no problem at all with the overgirth. I never feel it. I have mixed feelings about the horn. It is small and leans forward, and is darn near worthless for holding on if your horse bucks. OTOH, a couple of months ago, I couldn't get my mare to stop...she spun herself up and we went 2 hours without her stopping, so I got her to disengage, wrapped a loop of rein around the horn so she couldn't straighten out immediately, and got off. Quickly. I think the loop slowed her down just enough that my foot hit the ground before she bolted 50 feet. On the whole, though, if I had to do it over, I'd skip the horn.
My main dislike is the bulk of the Aussie girth under my leg. I have better contact with the horse's side with a western saddle. Still, it is a comfortable and secure saddle. Easy to post in and the seat feels more English than Western to me. I prefer the Aussie stirrup leathers to English ones, but have taken to riding mine using western stirrups (although the photo below has English leathers...need to update my pictures).
I am like you...knee issues and that is why I bought a Down Under Wizzard Poley. I had the horn with that one and no horn with a Kimberly Stock synthetic. I don't like how the horn is set - I got a gut full of horn last year and still had a small lump in my stomach from it!
Other than that I loved the saddle. It didn't fit my new horse I am sad to say so I sold both of them recently. I bought a new saddle from Alleghany and one of my criteria is that it be as comfortable as my Aussies!!!
Listen to what Ricki tells you on which one will fit your horse. She won't steer you wrong! If I ever have a horse that will take the Aussie I will get another one.
I have 2 aussie saddles a Kimberely superior poley with horn and a kates rideabout endurance with no horn that I just bought. I love the rideabout endurance it is very well made extremely comfortable and it was fitted to my horse. If you go to kates.net you will find they are having closeout sales on there rideabout saddles. I took a chance and bought the rideabout endurance for $199 and I love this saddle more than more kimberely saddle. Incredible price!
Don't know, but it looks like Kates may be going out of business...everything they sell is on clearance at very low prices.
I'll add a note of caution on the DownUnder saddles...the leather quality is somewhat variable. The saddle I've got is comfortable, but it is showing more wear on the flaps than I would consider acceptable. Don't know if the wear will stabilize or continue...:-( Most of the wear is where the buckles lie.
Thanks to everyone for your helpful comments!!! I faxed a wither tracing to Down Under, and neither of the two saddles I had picked will work on Cochise. Got the saddle before the horse, i guess! He's a low-wide. The Down Under Dalby Poley and the Kimberley Trailmaster ( a different one from my original pick) both fleeced, will fit him and both meet my criteria. You all plus Ricki have persuaded me to try no horn. She said same things you did, and it's actually safer without one. any other feedback on these two choices, I value. Thanks again!
I had a Down Under Kimberly for a while. It was a great saddle, very handy for the trail. The only reason I sold it was because I wasn't really doing as much trail riding as I'd hoped and prefer my dressage saddles for the arena.
My saddle didn't have a horn (and nor do the dressage saddles I use!). In terms of having something to hold on to, I find that the pommel is actually quite nice. You can slip your fingers right under the pommel and grip it pretty well in the palm of your hand... if that makes any sense. Also, there are handy little grab straps that can be purchased to attach to the D-rings on the pommel if you like. (Here's a link: ROLLED GRAB STRAP - Statelinetack.com) I actually prefer not having a horn because I've always had that little nightmare about being gutted by one if something went terribly wrong. Too many horror stories.
Another tip that may be a matter of personal preference; I preferred using webbers with my saddle as opposed to the stirrup leathers that came with the aussie saddle because they were even less bulk and even easier on the knees in terms of having good flexibility. The webbers work great with the aussie saddle design too, unlike the basic english leathers that will leave you with the big buckle under your thigh.
Here's the webbers in synthetic and leather material:
Wintec Webbers Stirrup Leathers - Jeffers
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