Decker or Crossbuck pack saddles? - Page 5

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Decker or Crossbuck pack saddles?

This is a discussion on Decker or Crossbuck pack saddles? within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    01-23-2013, 04:51 PM
I just went to the PCTA website. If you click on "Trail Closure Information" you can read where the trail is closed. One closure does mention that the alternative route may not be good for equestrian use, but equestrian use is still allowed if you want.

I also looked under the FAQ tab. And it says that the PCT was designated a non-mechanized trail which allows foot and horse/stock travel only.

It's fun to go to the Journal section and read hikers' journals. Unfortunately, not very many horse users post. But you still get a good idea of the trail and some of what one might experience.
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    01-23-2013, 05:00 PM
Just read all that as well. Thanks I don't get to the coast very often and never long enough to even thinking of riding the PCT So that one short closer must be the spot that's is always talked about and made bigger than it is, or the permitting process areas. Thanks for the insight
    01-23-2013, 05:04 PM
Well, maybe I'lll do the PCT on the way home!
    01-23-2013, 05:10 PM
Well you could come up the GWT then cut across the PNWT (pacific northwest trail) then down the PCT
    01-23-2013, 05:21 PM
Yikes!!! If you do that, be sure to register with or notify the Long Riders Guild. That would be a TRIP.
    01-23-2013, 06:35 PM
Originally Posted by traildancer    
Yikes!!! If you do that, be sure to register with or notify the Long Riders Guild. That would be a TRIP.
I looked at that site. I don't think my rump callouses are in the same class with theirs. Besides, I do still have a few duties left at home. I'm not totally irresponsible...yet.

To tell the truth, there is still some question in my mind as to whether I can do the GWT in one shot. I'm not as young as I used to be. That's the goal, though.
    02-04-2013, 09:23 PM
I believe that at least 1000 miles qualifies you to be inducted, if they so choose.
    02-04-2013, 10:39 PM
Well, I would certainly consider it an honor to be part of the Longrider's Guild, but that's not why I want to do it. This is just something I have thought about since I was very young. I have the opportunity, and I am still healthy enough that I think I can do it.

My dad still wants to do as much of the ride as he can. He'll turn 81 in May 2015, I'll turn 56 in Jan 2015, my riding partner will be in his early 60s. I hope I'm as healthy as my dad when I'm his age. I figure riding a horse is about as healthy a thing as anybody could do. Maybe it will make me last a few years longer.

I told my dad that we might be able to get Geritol to sponsor us!
    02-05-2013, 12:14 AM
I hope I'm not being rude by jumping in here but I believe all you gentlemen Have and do spend many hours in the saddle.I believe you can give me good advice about the kind and brand of saddle you ride and why you picked that one.
Thanks for you help.
    02-05-2013, 07:54 AM
Not rude at all, but if you really want folks to see it and comment, you should probably start a new thread for it in the appropriate forum. This thread shows up on the main index as a thread on the "Trail Riding" forum about pack saddles, so folks who have no interest in that will pass it by. I actually put this one in the wrong forum, because I know who frequents this one and was confident I'd get the right people commenting.

From earlier conversations, I suspect you are talking about a western saddle. My personal favorite is a 14" seat 1947 Hamley ranch saddle with a 4" cantle and 15" swells. I inherited if from my wife's side of the family. Her uncle had it made for him. It's the saddle on my horse in the picture I posted on your other thread.

The old saddles don't fit modern horses very well, but it they sure fit my behind well. They tend to be shorter in the seat and tighter in the gullet. Horses back then tended to be narrower in the back and withers, as opposed to the more muscled and broader horses we have today. The average man was a bit smaller as well. I stand 5'9" and weigh around 180 (I could stand to lose 10-15 pounds easily) and conventional wisdom says I should be in a 16" saddle, but that Hamley is the most comfortable saddle I have ever ridden.

I also have a 15" Circle Y saddle I bought for my daughter. It is an all-around saddle. I paid $150 for it. It's at the lower end of the saddle quality range. It is a decent saddle with a Ralide (plastic) tree, and it works well for riding around on short trail rides, but I wouldn't want to spend all day in it. It's just not that comfortable. Fits the horse nicely though.

For a decent saddle, you can find used ones on ebay in the $500-$1500 range. A man of average height and weight, say, pretty close to my size, should probably be looking at a 16" seat. That is the measurement from the seam on the top of the cantle to the pommel at the base of the horn. There are other considerations as well, though, like the width of the swells, height and angle of the cantle, etc., that might make one saddle more comfortable than another for a particular person. In general, while sitting in the saddle, with your feet in the stirrups, you want to have about 1.5-2" between your thigh and the swell. Rod and Denise Nikkel are saddle tree makers and have a great website that addresses a lot of this pretty well.

As for pommel shape, I have always preferred the rounded pommel, like a "Bowman" style. My dad prefers a wide pommel, like a "form-fitter" style the best. That was the style when he was a boy. Great for riding questionable horses, where you might need to hang on for dear life. His current saddle is on an "Association" tree, which is a good all-around saddle, with broad enough swells to give your knees good purchase in an emergency.

Saddles built on a "bullhide" tree (wood tree covered in rawhide) are considered to be higher quality than synthetic trees, but not always so. A good bullhide tree is almost indestructible.

You might also consider a Australian saddle. Good ones are very comfortable, and they are quite a bit lighter and narrower than a conventional western saddle. I have put some miles in on one and liked the way it rides. They don't have much in the way of skirts, though, so they aren't as good for hanging stuff like canteens, saddle bags, and tying on a bedroll or coat on behind the cantle, in my opinion, for long rides. Note that Aussie saddles measure like English saddles. A 16" Aussie is equivalent to about a 14" western.

For your needs, I would suggest a good used saddle, such as a Circle Y, Big Tex, Colorado Saddlery, or Simco, or any number of decent older production saddles, on an "Association" tree. I wouldn't spend the money on a custom-built saddle yet, until you are sure this is going to be "your thing". You should be able to come up with one in the $350-500 range if you keep your eyes open. Then, later, you can figure out just what you like and go for a better saddle and keep the first one as a backup. I would stay away from NEW western saddles in the $3-700 range. They are made in SE Asia and India on poorly constructed trees with cheap leather that is essentially painted to look like quality leather. They are not comfortable and they will not last.

Hope that answers some of your questions. Craigslist and ebay are great places to watch for saddles, just make sure you include the shipping charges in your bid calculations. Some sellers get pretty abusive with shipping charges to increase their bottom-line.

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