Australian Saddles - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 10-12-2013, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Australian Saddles

Hey there,
I've recently been getting into trail riding, and looking at saddles. I have a 14.2 hand QH mare. She is super round and muscular, but I don't want a heavy western saddle. I think an Australian saddle would be a good alternative. Plus, I've heard they are much more comfy. I don't want a cheap "imported" one though. I'm afraid it will just fall apart. I would rather buy a really nice used one. I've been looking at Syd Hill and Toowoomba. But, since these saddles are made in Australia, and made for the more narrow Australian horse, I'm afraid they will be too narrow for my QH, who is built like a line-backer.
Anybody have an Australian saddle? And/or a QH or round/muscular horse they ride in one on? Any suggestions?
Thanks!
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post #2 of 20 Old 10-12-2013, 01:05 PM
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Down under makes just about the best aussie saddles that are made here in the US. Their Kimberly line isn't bad either, and they're cheaper. They will custom fit a saddle to your horses wither tracking when you buy, and they're great equality (I have one and love it.) Maybe worth looking into? A bit cheaper and almost guaranteed to fit.
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post #3 of 20 Old 10-12-2013, 06:56 PM
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Downunder Saddlery does fit the tree to your wither tracing, but their quality is not anywhere near Syd Hill. They are definitely better than the cheap import junk aussies though. We have two Downunder Saddlery Master Campdraft Deluxe saddles, one fit for my TBx, the other fit for my husband's Paint. They seemed pretty nice for a while, but we put some serious miles on them, and haven't been very impressed with how they hold up.

Another option is Wintec's aussie with the adjustable gullets, if you like synthetic. If not, I think Bates makes an adjustable leather version too.

The Syd Hill saddles are nice. Big difference. It might be hard to find a wide one, but I have seen them on ebay on occasion, ask for pictures from the front with a measuring tape. I used to have a Syd Hill search alert on ebay to notifiy me when one was listed -- they aren't on there that often, so that is a good way to not miss one.
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post #4 of 20 Old 10-12-2013, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoebox View Post
Down under makes just about the best aussie saddles that are made here in the US.
Oh, and the Down Under line and Kimberly are not made in the US, they are made in Asia.
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post #5 of 20 Old 10-12-2013, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherHorse View Post
Downunder Saddlery does fit the tree to your wither tracing, but their quality is not anywhere near Syd Hill.
Their price is also nowhere near Syd Hill's. ;) Yes, Syd Hill is a higher quality and their price shows it. I was just throwing out a cheaper option. Not the BEST quality out there, but it's a wonderful balance of price and quality, in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherHorse View Post
Oh, and the Down Under line and Kimberly are not made in the US, they are made in Asia.
Didn't know this! I'm still impressed, myself. OP, there are quite a few Aussie saddle threads you can search for to get more info, too.
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post #6 of 20 Old 10-12-2013, 09:55 PM
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Syd Hill doesn't make saddles any more.

Bates makes an Australian saddle with adjustable gullet for around $2000.

If you have $3000+, you can probably get a genuine Australian saddle, and for $4000 on up have one fitted to your horse...but for that much money, I'd go with a US made western saddle at 2,000-2,500. Also, the Australian saddles are not that much lighter than a western one. My DownUnder & Circle Y weigh about the same.

For the price, DownUnder makes a good Australian-style saddle. $1,000 doesn't buy you a high grade saddle of any style. If you go English, then you will get more saddle for the cash and lighter weight.
its lbs not miles likes this.

"People can teach us the rules, but only horses can teach us the art of riding."
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post #7 of 20 Old 10-12-2013, 10:24 PM
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As bsms said, Syd Hill isn't making saddles commercially anymore, although there are probably still some out there. They did make a relatively wide one too. My Syd Hill fits my mare's almost 9" gullet.
The traditional stock saddles are basically a Dressage style tree so you won't get as much weight displacement as a well fitted Western or UP saddle (or variations that use those type of trees)

Also as bsms said a stock saddle is not necessarily "light". On average it might be few lbs lighter than the average western saddle and a few lbs heavier than the average UP saddle, but there are few absolutes when it comes to saddle weights.

On my stock saddle if I dump the brass stirrups and leather stirrup straps for nylon straps and synthetic stirrups I can get the weight down few lbs to the low 20 lb range, but for any more I'd have to cut out the sweat flaps and cut out or shorten the outer flap significantly. Stock saddles have more flap leather than any saddle I know of, but I've never seen the need for it.

It your wanting a light weight saddle and looking at an authentic stock saddle you might want to look at some of the endurance saddles (Saare, Stonewall, etc....). While they're not low cost you can still get them for less than a authentic stock saddle.

Whatever you get make sure you get the right fit. The tree fitting properly is the most important part of the saddle.

They're always going to be bigger and stronger so you better always be smarter. (One of my grandfather's many pearls of wisdom)
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post #8 of 20 Old 10-12-2013, 10:31 PM
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I have a synthetic Kimberley from Downunder saddles. I haven't had it long enough to find out its true life expectancy but it's doing nicely for the time being. Some day I'd like to get another Downunder and at this point I'm undecided if I would go leather or not (mainly because of the weight difference between that and the synthetic one plus ease of care).

Aside from the potential fitting issue you recognized with the Syd Hills and Toowombas, the thing that puts me off a bit is what appears to be an excessively long leg flap on them. Since I`ve never ridden in them (and am given to understand they are of good workmanship) this may be of no consequence and just an appearance thing with me.
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post #9 of 20 Old 10-13-2013, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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Australian Saddles

Thank you so much for your input! I have seen those Downunder Kimberly saddles - the one thing that worries me though is that they are imported. What do you think of the quality (of the materials)?
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post #10 of 20 Old 10-13-2013, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daisy1128 View Post
Thank you so much for your input! I have seen those Downunder Kimberly saddles - the one thing that worries me though is that they are imported. What do you think of the quality (of the materials)?
Like I said, I am very pleased with it. Horsetackreviews.com have some good reviews on them, too. And if you search back in the Horse Forum for Australian saddles you'll find a ton of threads on this same general topic (believe me I was in your situation not too long ago and read through them all many times!) The general consensus seems to be that for being imported, they are a good quality saddle and for a good price. Mine came fitting my horse like a glove, the leather was already supple, and in my months of use it looks as new as the day I got it.
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