Saddles - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-18-2016, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2016
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Hello! I am new to owning a horse and I am looking for the right saddle. I have tried a few out and have found that I like a deeper saddle (I think it makes me feel
more secure). Do you have any suggestions of brands or saddles you think are good for a beginner? I have a 16.4 quarter horse/paint. He is amazing but can be a little spooky :) Thanks so much!
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-19-2016, 12:05 AM
Green Broke
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Barrel saddles usually have a deeper seat. I couldn't suggest any brands, just look around your area and see what people are selling. Facebook groups are a great way to find saddles for sale! Also, 16.4 is actually 17hh
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post #3 of 11 Old 10-19-2016, 03:51 AM
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Hi, that really depends on your budget, along with style of riding you like to do. As well, of course, as the fit of the saddle for your horse, which is a VITAL and often difficult factor to consider.

If you like to ride in a Western saddle, they're mostly rather deep seats. If you ride English, a dressage style is generally 'deeper' than others. And Australian Stock saddles are also generally deeper than English & depends on the style as to how deep. Aussie Stocks are generally pretty good for beginners, because as well as the deep seat, you have the knee pads, some also have thigh pads, for further stability, and there are 'D's' on the front to attach a 'monkey strap' should you need. Some also come with horns these days too. And then there are a variety of styles of 'cross-' or 'half-breed' saddles, which are a bit of a western/stock hybrid. They're good too. I like them the best, for trail & general riding.

Depending on what size you are, a Western with a seat size to fit the rider may be too long for the horse. That applies to any saddle, but the bearing surface of a western(or x-breed) is longer. Depends also on style & placement of rigging as to the fit of any type of saddle too. The saddle should be back far enough to clear the shoulderblades by a few inches, and shouldn't extend past about the last rib. The saddle should not put any pressure whatsoever on the horse's spine. Width of gullet *& channel* are often too narrow to clear a horse's spinal processes(as in, around 1' either side of the spine, not just the actual bones). And angle of the bars/forks and front-to-back angle also matters.

So... with all those considerations, it will be best, if you don't know what's what yourself, to get a very experienced friend, or hire a saddle fitter, or equine chiro or such, to tell you whether any given saddle you choose fits the horse well enough. Pain from saddle fit is a HUGE cause of 'behavioural issues' when ridden.
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-19-2016, 09:28 AM
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What loosie says. When I first bought a saddle I only thought about the style and how it looked. I did not have a clue about fitting the horse. Big mistake. I am on the third tree (installed myself) in the saddle. I've read a lot about saddle fit and it now fits very well.

As long as the top side is about the right size for the rider, there's lots of things that can be done for rider comfort. But if the gullet and bars of the saddle tree are not right for the horse, there's nothing that can be done to make it fit the horse and the horse suffers from pressure points. Horses have very sensitive skin.
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-19-2016, 01:14 PM
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Agree with what others have said. However, it is hard to give a recommendation when we have no idea what sort of riding you do (english, western, HUS, WP ..etc etc).

My advice, have a local fitter come out. That way you know what best fits your horse (as that is your biggest concern), and secondly you will find what types or brands tend to have the deeper seat that you are looking for. It needs to fit your horse most importantly, and what fits your horse best may not be the best fit for yourself or have the deep seat you are looking for. Especially when you consider budget, and if only buying local/previously owned saddles, it can be harder to find something that is the "perfect" fit for both horse and rider, so the horse needs to come first. However, you can save a ton of time and money by having a fitter come out who will have multiple saddles to try on the horse and figure out what will work best.
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-19-2016, 01:35 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
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A western saddle can and usually will extend on to the loin:

All western saddles extend over the loin

Saddle fit - Western compared to English Part 2

Saddle fit - Western compared to English Part 3

One English saddle I used had a too narrow channel and put too much pressure near the spine. It showed up by the mare getting very sensitive to mounting and dismounting. My Australian-style one - which I got with a very American horn - didn't cause a problem. I did get a few bruises where the Mickey Mouse ears (poleys) slammed into my thigh when she would spin (we did a lot of that for a long time). But that was good, because it kept my hips aligned with my horse in a spin, and that probably kept me on her many times when I would have come off without them. While I really like the Australian stock saddles, not everyone does. My wife and daughter both hate them. There are also some very cheap, badly made Aussie imitation saddles on the market.:

I eventually drifted west. I'd avoid a "slick seat" saddle. Bought one, and ended up adding sheepskin because the slick was just too darn slick. "Butt on Ice" is not what you want to feel on a spooky horse:

You could try a rough-out saddle in western. I think that gives a more secure feeling than a deeper seat.

This was taken years ago when my mare was on the verge of spooking. There was a large moving van outside the picture, with men moving around inside, and she was very light on the front end and thinking about spinning and running - or a "Turn & Burn"! Notice I had one hand on the saddle horn. If my horse is threatening to spin hard, and on pavement, I throw pride away and plan on staying on. A firm grip on a saddle horn made it easier for me to keep my shoulders over my hip (and thus over the horse) in a hard spin. In the end, in this case, she finally decided to prance past it, stepping high, snorting, and giving it the evil eye:

You might look up some YouTube videos of cutting horses. A cutting horse reminds me of a spooking horse, repeated again and again and again. If anyone knows about staying on a horse who reacts hard, it ought to be a cutter! Good luck!

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-25-2016, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2016
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Wow! Thank you everyone for your advice. I love to ride western :) This helps so much!
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-26-2016, 11:10 AM
Join Date: May 2013
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I don't know if someone has already mentioned this, but craigslist is a great place to find saddles!
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post #9 of 11 Old 10-26-2016, 11:59 AM
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Location: SC
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Do you have a used tack store in your area? Many will let you take a saddle to try with a CC# as a deposit. You can sit in several different saddles at the shop and see if one that fits you well will fit your horse well when you take it home. Do you work with a trainer/instructor? If so, you can have him/her come out and check the fit for you if you can't find an expert saddle fitter. Google is great too!

~And He created the horse and said to it, "I have made thee without equal."~
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-26-2016, 01:14 PM
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also, if you are wanting more 'stick 'em', full seat breeches are good for that, or, a pair of leather shot gun chaps will help with that.
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