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Chain type store to try western saddles?

686 Views 13 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  horselovinguy
I live in a kind of wasteland when it comes to western/trail saddles. Consignment stores won’t even accept them. However, my 2yo will be needing a saddle and I want it to have a horn as an emergency handle when he starts being backed (not now). I’m a dressage rider and know very little about western/trail saddles. I figure I might as well start genuinely searching now because:

I also don’t like purchasing saddles from random people on the internet like FB as it’s so easy to get scammed. So I want to use a store of some kind with a return policy. But, because I have so little experience with them, I’m wondering where would be a good place/what would be a good way to sit in a few to figure out what I like? I’m worried about things like the twist being too wide or the seat pitching me forward/backward.

Since he’ll just be beginning his working career and he’ll outgrow whatever I buy, I’m looking for inexpensive but comfortable. So I’ve been eyeing things like Wintec or Dura-tech (Schneider’s brand?). I’ve ridden in a Wintec long ago and I don’t have bad memories of it but I doubt that exact saddle is being made, even if I knew the name of the model, and my bones are a bit older these days lol. Abetta’s were also comfortable.

Is there a chain out there like Dover that sells western saddles I can sit in?? I’m in the South/Midwest, depends who you ask, so I might be close enough to someplace…Or just a site that someone could recommend as being easy to work with over saddles? I found a site that sells lots of used saddles but they charge a restocking fee so that’s a no.
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I wonder if you could just use a bucking strap on a saddle you already have? This was recommended to me when I started my new horse under saddle. It's a strap you buy and it buckles to the d rings in the front of your saddle. I haven't needed it so I don't know how well it would work. But it's called a bucking strap, so it's got to be good, right?

I don't remember where I got it, maybe SmartPak? It was maybe $15 so it's way cheaper than buying a whole new saddle LOL.
That’s an idea..but I have a dressage saddle and it was a tad expensive. I don’t really want to subject it to the life of a training saddle haha.
What you maybe could do is get a cheap saddle just for the first few times, then? This horse I'm training bucked the first time he cantered (not under saddle) with each new thing I put around his girth. I used, in order: surcingle, English bareback pad, Western bareback pad, dressage saddle with stirrups up, dressage saddle with stirrups down. He bucked about five times each time and then got over it. Once I got to the saddle part, I obviously did it at the walk and trot first. I then tightened the girth after each round, so the saddle hopefully wouldn't slip if he got crazy.

So while I understand the possibility that a horse could go crazy and twist and buck a saddle off, I would hesitantly suggest that perhaps that isn't too likely if you have gone slowly and introduced things in a sort of continuum. And if the horse is on the calmer side, which you would realize was or wasn't the case after working with him. But if he was likely to go crazy and buck the saddle off, I would further hypothesize that that would more likely be in the first few rides. So perhaps if you rode him those times in a saddle that was just "meh," just to be safe, you could then switch to your other saddle.

I'll add that I the current thinking in the horse world seems to be that a horse isn't going to go crazy bucking if you've taken things slowly and listened to the horse, to let him tell you when he's ready for the next thing.
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