Synthetic or Australian Saddle? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 25 Old 09-06-2013, 01:17 PM
Green Broke
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Will I need to purchase a new pad for the Aussie Saddle? Or can I see if one of my western or English pads fits. ...
It will depend on the saddle you actually get but you may be able to use one of your existing pads. Aussie saddles tend to have longer flaps which means the leather would be next to the horse's side.

It looks like they take an English style girth is that correct?
Again, that will depend on the saddle you actually get. Mine (Kimberley synthetic endurance) uses a regular English girth; most of the others have a special design that uses an overgirth plus a specialized girth to accommodate it.
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post #12 of 25 Old 09-06-2013, 02:10 PM
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I have the Wintec stock saddle and a Kimberley synthetic Australian endurance saddle. They both can be used with a dressage pad and dressage girth. I like both saddles. The Wintec seems to be better quality, yet the Kimberley fits both horses better.
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post #13 of 25 Old 09-06-2013, 02:30 PM
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I use the Abetta Endurance saddle. It's pretty light - 17 lbs IIRC - and seems comfortable enough both for me and my horse. I've only had it about 18 months, but my friend has used the same model for a number of years.
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post #14 of 25 Old 09-06-2013, 02:43 PM
Green Broke
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I have an Australian saddle and it is as heavy as can be. It has a pretty large seat size so I'm sure that contributes, but it is enormously heavy. Because the seat is a couple of inches larger than I would need I've only ridden in it for a couple of minutes, but I will say that it is super comfortable! Just wish it was a size that fit both me and my horse!!
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post #15 of 25 Old 09-07-2013, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advise everyone!

We went and looked at the Aussie Saddle and I think she decided she wanted to give it a try. It is still not super light weight but it is lighter than our roping saddle and Mom said she thought she could lift it. The man selling it said if it didn't fit our horse we could bring it back, (how nice!). I also figure we could re-sell it, if we don't like it.

It has a double buckle like an English girth on both sides, which I think will be better for her since she has trouble with the western cinch. And I have been looking into a Aussie pad also but I am going to see how the saddle fits before purchasing her one in case we need a stacked on etc.

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post #16 of 25 Old 09-08-2013, 03:48 AM
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FWIW, I use a GP pad with my Aussie. The flaps come down maybe 1 cm or 2 past it on each side so it isn't ideal, but it works.
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post #17 of 25 Old 09-08-2013, 07:29 AM
Green Broke
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I've been riding in my Aussie leather saddle for over 30 years-I just love it! Once I found the Aussie pad -that has the in-pad saddlebags-well, I'm on my 3rd one & had one rebuilt as a backup. The elastic will stretch, so I had it redone w/Velcro-great fix! I bought mine used & did wear out the billets-had that repair done a few years ago while I was recuperating from a surgery. I have other Aussie saddles,-they are all unique, so do give them a good trial.
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post #18 of 25 Old 09-08-2013, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Roux View Post
I have always rode in traditional western ranch type saddles that can be heavier. So when my mom got her horse this summer I had her use one of our roping saddles. Which is fine except she isn't strong enough to lift it. So I always saddle her horse for her, I absolutely don't mind that at all but it is starting to bother her because she want to be able to do it herself, understandable.

So we are looking at getting her a synthetic saddle that is more lightweight. I have never bought or rode in one so I am not too sure which is best. We do more than "just walking down the road" so I need something that will begood for the horse for several hours at a time and hold up to a little wear and tear. Although I understand that they need replacing more often which is ok.

I found a used Abetta saddle we are going to go look at, it is super inexpensive. She is also going to borrow a friends Wintec to see what she thinks. So any opinions on good brands or bad?

She has also had several people suggest she get an Australian Saddle again I have very little experience.
The horse isn't going to care if the saddle is leather or synthetic . A good fit with a tree that displaces the most weight is what makes a difference with the horse. Synthetic or leather is really more about personal choice or preference.

All things being equal a synthetic saddle will be lighter, easier to maintain. (much easier than leather) and less expensive. They generally hold up as well (or better) than leather and with easier maintenance.

Since you're just looking at some convenient time spent pleasure riding we won't get into the drawbacks to most stock saddles (or any saddle with that kind of tree). They can be a very comfortable saddle to ride on and the poleys are nice for helping to stay in the saddle with a squirrelly horse. If you have rings forward of the poleys I would recommend making a strap to run through them. Serves as a handle to make it easier for picking up and for swinging up on the back of the horse.

Stock saddles are not necessarily light weight (although they make synthetic ones that I'm sure are lighter). As it came, my Syd Hill weighed probably over 25 lbs (I've got it back to as it came now for the extra weight to help with doing load bearing riding). However, almost any saddle can be lightened with very little effort.
Easiest changes are to dump the heavy brass stirrups many come with and replace with a lightweight stirrup. Dump the leather stirrup straps and use nylon ones. You've just dropped the weight by a few lbs right there.

I might not recommend this if you're not good with making permanent alterations (or know someone who is), but if you didn't spend a lot on the saddle, don't plan to ever sell it and are really wanting to drop the weight on an stock saddle you can (and this is one case were leather is often easier the synthetic for doing something) get rid of some more lbs by:
Cut out the sweat flap (the flap under the outside flap). It's a lot of useless weight.
Reduce the outside flap length by at least 1/3 (or eliminate it completely too ). I've never seen any other saddle with so much or so many flaps as the stock saddle has. With the exception of making it weigh more I've yet to figure out why all of it's needed.
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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 #19 of 25 Old 09-08-2013, 09:45 AM
Green Broke
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go with a synthetic abetta or bighorn. they are light and most people liek them. Those $200 synthetic aussies are hit and miss on the trees.
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post #20 of 25 Old 09-08-2013, 10:10 PM
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Sounds like you've already made your choice, but thought I'd add my 2 cents.

It sounds like you are looking for a very inexpensive option as well, so while your choices are many in the sub-$600 range, they all are about the same in quality - pretty poor.

There are a couple considerations I might mention, before you make your choice: Is your mother a heavy person? Do you plan on making long rides (several hours), such as horse camping? If your answer to those is "Yes", I would recommend a "real saddle", rather than an immitation, such as synthetic western or a cheap Australian (all of which are made in Asia where materials and labor are cheap). Neither saddle will hold up well under hard use, such as the situations above, and will leave both the rider and horse uncomfortable.

The best option, in my opinion, would be a good custom built western saddle built lightweight for trail riding. From a good saddler (example of a high-end trail saddle:

Past Saddles Made)

these are made with wood/bullhide trees, and have the leather components cut down to the minimum for weight. They are supremely comfortable for both rider and horse. The lightest you are likely to see one is in the 30# range. Not cheap, they can run in the $3-4,000 range, however a good Aussie saddle will run about that as well. Either will last a lifetime and go to her grandkids and theirs.

Another option I would consider is a McClellan saddle. You can't get any lighter. A child can handle one with one hand. There are makers who have modern versions of these available for reasonable prices. They are very comfortable for both rider and horse. We have one member on here (see "The Great Horse Trip: ,who is riding across South America on one right now. The drawback is that they don't have anything to keep you in the saddle if the unexpected happens (which you can depend on happening).

Personally, I have an aversion to unnatural materials on a horse. Rather, I would keep a lookout for a good used saddle, to keep the price down, rather than buy a cheaply made one. You can get a decent older Simco, which is a good saddle, regardless of the fact it uses a synthetic tree, for under $500, and they are pretty light, depending on the model. They are often used in riding schools, because of the light weight and low cost.

Here's a saddle I like, for what you are looking for, from the site linked above. The second is another option you might consider, which is currently offered on ebay (no relation to me).

Just make sure you get a saddle that fits the horse and your mother (bar width, seat length, etc), or neither will be comfortable, regardless of the cost.
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Tony Henrie
fb: Western Trail Rider

Last edited by thenrie; 09-08-2013 at 10:14 PM.
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