Comfortable Trail Saddles? Need Your Expertise! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 49 Old 01-14-2014, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Comfortable Trail Saddles? Need Your Expertise!

Hey y'all,
I am looking to buy a saddle for long trail rides. I currently have a Hereford of some sort that gives me saddle sores. I never knew saddles sores were actually a real thing until that day... It works for short trail rides, but I'm looking for a saddle that my butt can endure for long trail rides or week-long trail rides.

I've debated over Australian or western saddles in my mind, but I'm not very experienced with either of them (when I'm not trail riding, I'm a hunter/jumper rider).

So, I ask you, what do you recommend as a comfortable trail saddle? My budget is pretty meager at this time, so I'm looking at under $500 but I'm not opposed to used at all (in fact, I would prefer it!). Also, I want the saddle to be of good quality - nothing "cheap" that is going to crumble in my hands. If that is all possible with my budget.

My butt and my horse's back thanks you!

Rusty - a miracle horse Knight - my golden oldie
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post #2 of 49 Old 01-14-2014, 12:11 PM
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Unfortunately, I think usually you kind of have to figure out what works best for your own butt! A lot of people here seem to favor smooth, hard seats over padded or roughout/suede however. Apparently it keeps your bum from getting stuck so it prevents saddle sores. Worth a shot! If you can find a tack consignment store that will let you take saddles on trial that's one way to find out.
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post #3 of 49 Old 01-14-2014, 12:16 PM
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Depending on how bad your current saddle is, a sheepskin seat saver might make a big enough difference to make it comfortable.
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post #4 of 49 Old 01-14-2014, 12:17 PM
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You can pick up a synthetic for that amount of money or less. Abetta or big horn may be good ways to go. If you try big-horn I would suggest buying from statelinetack when they have a sale, they're the cheapest I've found them.

Make sure you know what will fit your horse though, if you have a friend with a western saddle or two, try them on so you get an idea.
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post #5 of 49 Old 01-14-2014, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys!

One of my managers at work said that, in her opinion, Herefords and Circle Y saddles are the most comfortable. She suggested that I got saddle sores because I don't ride in my western saddle very frequently (I ride English most of the time). She said her mom still gets saddle sores after long trail rides. But when I'm riding for a week, I really want to avoid that -- for me and my horse!

Whoever mentioned a "stickier" saddle causing saddle sores, I think you're on to something. Maybe I should try that seat saver...although my saddle is more of a show saddle. Since I don't show western at all and only ride in western tack for trails, maybe I should consider just getting another saddle.

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post #6 of 49 Old 01-15-2014, 09:31 AM
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If you ride english normally, why do you not trail ride in your english saddle (or another english-type saddle if you want to keep your saddle nice for shows)?

A seat saver may help with your current saddle, depending on what is causing the sores (a seam rubbing, or is the saddle the wrong size/shape for you?). Also, what type of pants are you wearing for the trail rides? That can make a lot of difference in your comfort too.
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post #7 of 49 Old 01-15-2014, 09:42 AM
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To elaborate on what phantom said, often I'll fitting saddle is what generates your sores. It is quite important to find out if you are using the right size saddle before buying another.
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post #8 of 49 Old 01-15-2014, 10:14 AM
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I agree that the sores might be a deeper sign that either the saddle doesn't fit you or you may not have your stirrups adjusted correctly.

Do you have any pictures of you riding in your western? That can give us an idea of whether or not the saddle fits.

Anyway, personally, my favorite trail saddle is my hard seat Modified Association ranch saddle. It's got a deep seat and a narrow twist so that it's really comfortable for me and secure. I love it and I can ride in it for hours and hours every day without a single sore muscle or raw spot of skin.

Oh, another question...where are you getting your sores, if that's not too personal?

Only reason I ask is because if I wear pants with too short of an inseam, they tend to ride up and twist around my leg. If I don't fix them pretty frequently, I end up with a nasty sore on the inside of my knee. However, if I get pants with longer inseams, I don't have that problem.
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post #9 of 49 Old 01-15-2014, 01:05 PM
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I was going to add that every Circle Y I have ever rode in was amazing but they are majorly expensive.

I love my western saddle for trail riding. Last fall I rode it for 3 days for a total of about 30 hours and it was great. After that much riding almost every one is going to be soar and I was but not bad. It 20+ years old and is a Saddle King of Texas.

I bought a synthetic saddle for my mom for Christmas for trails because all of our other saddles made her soar. I got the Abetta stealth answer she loves it.
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post #10 of 49 Old 01-15-2014, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Alrighty, to answer your questions here:

I do not have a current picture of me in my western saddle, but I will get one Monday when I go trail riding with a couple of friends. Whoever said the stirrups might be a problem could be correct - I'm so used to riding shorter rather than longer.

For short rides, I do use my English saddle. But if I'm doing an overnighter, I won't use my English for a couple of reasons. First, my knees really start hurting in my English saddle. Second, there's not really a place to attach saddle bags on my English saddle. I don't have the greatest position ever either, so I also prefer a western saddle because there's more security going up and down hills. Only thing I dislike is that I can't jump in it.

I wear jeans when I trail ride. Usually Silvers are my brand. Getting a little personal here, but I get the sores on my inner butt cheeks and a little lower. I can remember peeing after the six hour ride and how much it burnt the sores. :-p Sorry, I know that's a little graphic, but I hope that will help.

Okay, I lied, I do have one picture, but I'm afraid it won't tell you much except maybe the stirrup length. Like I said, I'll get a better one on Monday. Or maybe Sunday if it's as nice as it's supposed to be.

I'm the one in the back.

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