The Unofficial Saddle Seat Thread! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 07-12-2016, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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The Unofficial Saddle Seat Thread!

After switching disciplines just over a year ago, I came to realize that this forum doesn't have a subsection for Saddle Seat - so it was suggested that a thread be created as a home for the Saddle Seat riding community!

We are one of the rarer breeds, aren't we? Saddle Seat is not as popular as Dressage, Western, or Hunters, but those of us involved in the industry are usually pretty passionate about our sport and our horses.

I thought it would be neat if we had somewhere to discuss training programs and exercises, upcoming shows, equitation patterns, local trainers, critique on potential show horses, grooming regimens, fashion tips, our latest struggles, etc etc.

Really, I'm just hoping to find some like-minded people out there to discuss the different aspects of the discipline with, because most Saddle Seat riders I know don't branch out any further than their show barn. I'm also hoping that those who know little about the discipline will be able to have some questions answered and some knowledge instilled. I'm a huge advocate of the discipline (as long as you can find a GOOD trainer that has a respectable training program), so to anyone who's ever been thinking about joining a lesson program maybe we can convince you to give it a go!

Does anyone else here participate, or has participated, in Saddle Seat? What breed of horse were you using, what bloodlines were your favourite? Did you train yourself or did you belong to someone else's training program? What do you think of the new equitation saddles with adjustable bars, are they worth the money?
************************************************** **************************************************
JAYDEE MODERATING
To make it clear - This thread is intended for Saddleseat enthusiasts and people who are genuinely interested in the discipline. Please do not come here to question the validity of Saddleseat in a hostile way or attack it in any way. Those type of posts must be reported and not responded too on the thread. They will be removed.
Thank you
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Last edited by jaydee; 07-13-2016 at 10:47 AM.
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post #2 of 22 Old 07-12-2016, 11:05 PM
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I love Saddlebred horses and riding saddleseat! I got to twice in my career.

First when Marty Mueller broke his arm. He needed help, and being a neighbor at the time (French Lick, IN), I of course volunteered to spare a few hours out of my own work to help. I mostly helped in the barn - grooming, tacking up, doing legs. But toward the end, when he started riding again, he put my up on nice 3-gaited, and later 5-gaited, mares.

I was not a natural. I remember his critique as something like "Well, you're not going to fall off, but it isn't a pretty ride." Story of my riding life. lol

I see he passed away in 2008, at age 96. He was one of the good horsemen, IMO. Below is an article in tribute to him.

A Horseman?s Horseman - Marty Mueller : The Saddle Horse Report

Years later I got sick of drought in Wyoming, having lived here many years, I took a contract in upstate So Carolina. My youngest daughter was still home. I told her we were going to try every discipline that wasn't readily available in Wyoming. We rode h/j (I had done that long ago) and became their "crash test dummies" for green and unknown stuff. Then I discovered a barn for Saddleseat in Cowpens, SC.

We signed up for lessons. My daughter excelled. She ended up showing for another barn. And me? I was relegated to taking some of the owner's show string out through trails and pastures, getting them to relax. Quiet hands and seat are my specialty.

I never could stop looking like I was riding a big circle (that's 25+ miles) on a cow horse. I still look like that. But I don't fall off, even if it isn't pretty!

I've gotten to meet a few good old time Saddlebred people. I can't even remember all their names. But I remember how they handled their horses and how they rode.
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post #3 of 22 Old 07-13-2016, 01:06 AM
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I've been able to ride saddleseat, mainly on Arabians and think it is quite fun. Around here, the main saddleseat breeds are Morgans, Arabs and Saddlebreds. Our local open shows have saddleseat classes. I used to have a cutback saddle and liked the way my horses moved in it. It really frees up the front end and makes the horse want to go.

I think the adjustable bars are a great feature on any saddle. Getting your leg in the right place is a vital part of riding well.

Regarding grooming and fashion, I've been curious about why Saddlebreds often have their forelocks shaved off. Is it just to save time braiding or is there a more historical or cultural reason for it?
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post #4 of 22 Old 07-13-2016, 01:10 AM
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can I be an unofficial admirer ? I love watching it. that's all.
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post #5 of 22 Old 07-13-2016, 07:52 AM
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Please may I join Tiny in the audience?
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post #6 of 22 Old 07-13-2016, 09:11 AM
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I am fairly big into saddleseat!

I have always worked at a saddle horse barn (mainly Morgans with a side order of Friesians, and saddlebreds). I have groomed for them my entire life and cared for them on the ground.

Recently my mentor's gotten me into riding/training them as my colt is looking like a fine show prospect and I want to make it a career. I can't give you specifics on equipment and people in the industry but I can sure as heck contribute my groom's knowledge!

At my barn we do everything from english pleasure to Park (which is the really high stepping fast paced horses for those not sure). My barn puts out horses that can show competitively but also go on to do other things, and we have a strict inspection to see how far a horse can go with just natural ability so all we have to do is enhance it.

I'm always up for questions from others outside the industry, I can't tell you how much MOST of these grooms/trainers love their charges and do what's best.

As for riding..... well..... when you first get on one your eyes will bulge out and you'll be praying for the first few laps. Think about riding a Grand Prix dressage horse/top level reiner mixed with the power of a working draft horse doing a log pull. My trainer told me one sure fire way to ride a saddle horse and look good: "Think about controlling an explosion, find the moment to let it get chaotic and find the moment to bring it back down!"
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post #7 of 22 Old 07-13-2016, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Incitatus32 View Post
As for riding..... well..... when you first get on one your eyes will bulge out and you'll be praying for the first few laps. Think about riding a Grand Prix dressage horse/top level reiner mixed with the power of a working draft horse doing a log pull. My trainer told me one sure fire way to ride a saddle horse and look good: "Think about controlling an explosion, find the moment to let it get chaotic and find the moment to bring it back down!"
Oh gosh, I remember my first Saddle Seat lesson. My trainer hauled out her huge 20-something-old jet black Saddlebred gelding - he must have been over 17h tall! I hopped on him and he just went. Not in a terrifying "dear God" type of way, but as soon as he started moving even at the walk, you knew this horse was a tried and true professional at his job. His trot was 100% natural, full of energy, and forward moving, and even though it was quick and bouncy and he covered so much ground, I felt absolutely safe on that horse. Surprisingly, most Saddle Seat horses are actually really, really bold!

I was hooked after that ride. I've ridden my fair share of finished horses, but so far nothing even compares to the exhilaration of riding a finished Saddle Seat horse.

Quote:
I think the adjustable bars are a great feature on any saddle. Getting your leg in the right place is a vital part of riding well.

Regarding grooming and fashion, I've been curious about why Saddlebreds often have their forelocks shaved off. Is it just to save time braiding or is there a more historical or cultural reason for it?
Right now, I ride in an older Blue Ribbon cutback saddle (I estimate it's probably from the 1980's) but it's more for the Arab type as it's a tad wider and black in color (the Morgan and Saddlebred circuits like brown). I'm going to be in the market for a new saddle in the near future so hopefully I can get my hands on one of those equitation saddles. I think one of the nice things about shopping for cutbacks is they have terrible resale value, so you can usually find nicely used ones for around $400!

About the forelocks.... I think it's tradition, based on the rest of the grooming regimen for the Saddle Seat horse. Because we keep their manes natural and grown out, we don't have the privilege of braiding our horse's forelocks to keep them tucked away and out of the horse's eyes in the ring. So we just cut them off. That, and I think it may also have something to do with showing off the natural expression of the Saddle Seat horse. Our horses have the 'crazy eyes' (LOL), and we want them to have freedom of expression in the ring.

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but most breeds of driving/cart ponies and horses have their forelocks removed too for the same reason. At least Saddlebreds, Arabians, and Hackneys for sure..... where is greentree?
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post #8 of 22 Old 07-14-2016, 10:01 AM
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If the Arab is also showing halter, the forelock can not be removed my best friend competes her Half Arab/Half Saddlebred mare on our local circuits. Mainly does English Pleasure as that is really all that is offered at local shows, but she just took Reserve Regional Champion this year at Region 14. Her mare is a NICE mare. My friend is an awesome trainer in whatever discipline she picks she currently is training a couple of Western Pleasure horses and a NICE Saddlebred mare. She's been using a couple of Dressage principles to help her carry herself and engage her back, which I totally love being a "Dressage diva" myself lol

I did get to try it once, and it was fun! I'd absolutely ride her mare again :) She did get a couple of pictures of me riding her mare. Sadie (the mare) is a total sweetheart both in the saddle and on the ground!







Her boyfriend riding the mare (he's a pretty awesome rider as well)


And her victory pass at Regionals :)
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post #9 of 22 Old 07-14-2016, 10:35 AM
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^Thanks so much for sharing!
Your friend has a lovely mare!

I've never participated, but would certainly love the opportunity, someday!
But for now I'll join the others in the 'non-participant fan club' ;)
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post #10 of 22 Old 07-14-2016, 12:41 PM
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Zex, she's an awesome mare! Everyone loves her

Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezylBeezyl View Post
Right now, I ride in an older Blue Ribbon cutback saddle (I estimate it's probably from the 1980's) but it's more for the Arab type as it's a tad wider and black in color (the Morgan and Saddlebred circuits like brown). I'm going to be in the market for a new saddle in the near future so hopefully I can get my hands on one of those equitation saddles. I think one of the nice things about shopping for cutbacks is they have terrible resale value, so you can usually find nicely used ones for around $400
Forgot to quote this earlier! If you're in the market, find my friend's page on Facebook :) she sells commissioned saddles along with a lot of other stuff that is either commissioned or she outright owns to sell. It's mainly Saddleseat stuff, but you can find almost anything you're looking for there. It's Blair's Bits & Pieces and if she doesn't have it, but you're trying to find something in particular, get in touch with her. She has various hookups all over the place. Had a lady on the East coast find a cart she LOVED, but it was on the West coast. Resigned herself to try and find one locally (and had asked my friend to try and locate one.) But, my friend being who she is, instead reached out to all of these people she knew, and got that cart a free ride from the East coast to within an hour of the lady wanting it :) she really, really goes above and beyond for people! PS, she had never met this woman
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