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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can gaited horses be ridden comfortably in a regular western saddle, or do they require saddles specifically made for gaited horses? I imagine the function is different. I come from the world of dressage and hunters so this is entirely new territory for me!
 

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I'm not an expert on this but...
Many make comment that gaited horses have a wider scapula and that regular width saddle trees are not shaped wide enough to accommodate that extra width.
To me, if you are conscientious and fit your horse with a saddle that"fits" ....
Well, not every horse is built the same and bars and angles are made for different breeds, sizes and shape of horses.
I know my friend has Paso Fino horses and her saddle fits my horse, and my saddle fits hers.
I notice no difference in the horses ability to have shoulder movement with no restrictions regardless of which saddle he is tacked up with.
I think what is more important is just good fitting tack period.
To narrow and they pinch..
To wide and they sit and restrict by pinch...
My horses are not dainty and small in stature so my saddle is already "wide"...and allows shoulder movement easily.

I've never actually seen a bare gaited saddle tree next to other different manufacturers products for a comparison.
I have seen many bare trees from different manufacturers and can tell you there are differences noticeable in what they look like and especially how they measure..
Put them all together and...
You need a saddle that fits properly...
Whether that is gaited or not...fit is everything based upon the bone structure, muscle development and fat on any equine.
:runninghorse2:...
jmo...
 

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No, gaited horses need a saddle that fits :wink:
The term "gaited saddle" often indicates that the bars have more flare in the tree at the front to allow more room for shoulder movement.

I own a Peruvian mare, and while her front leg action (termino = swinging out her front legs from the shoulder like a swimmer) is not as pronounced as in a show horse, her shoulders need LOTS of room while moving, even when the saddle is placed properly behind her shoulder. A saddle with a draft tree (short and flat) fits the bill for us :biggrin:
 

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No, you need a saddle that fits. If you are showing in gaited classes, then I would guess yes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok great. I was assuming something wide would work. My Rocky Mountain is quite wide and I have been looking at draft size and wide western. I know how to saddle fit, and have a great western saddle fitter in town, so just to be sure I'm going to bring them up there to do a saddle fitting and make sure I buy something that works.
 

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Ok great. I was assuming something wide would work. My Rocky Mountain is quite wide and I have been looking at draft size and wide western. I know how to saddle fit, and have a great western saddle fitter in town, so just to be sure I'm going to bring them up there to do a saddle fitting and make sure I buy something that works.
They just need a saddle that fits. I wouldn't then a Rocky would need a draft size saddle though. The whole gaited saddles and gaited bits are all just marketing schemes imo. Just find something that fits you and him :)
 

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My husband rides his rocky in the same saddle I ride my Polish Arab in, so long story short no they don't need a gaited saddle, just one that fits. (This is for endurance rides so his back is checked before, during and after the ride and he's gotten all A's as has my gelding).

The gaited saddles usually have more flare in the shoulders but that doesn't mean it fits. My friend rode her TWH in a gaited saddle for a year until she realized it wasn't right for him, he's in a regular saddle now but Kuda brand that a lot of our gaited friends recommend.
 

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No they don't. My KMH is basically the same as a Rocky and I use a Cordura with QH bars on him--fits and rides great. His gait is super smooth and automatic in it.

I also use a cordura on my Peruvian but it's the narrower version. I had a saddler measure it and it was a perfect fit because even though he has wide shoulders, he also has a narrow back. The trick is--I was told by his previous owners--to place the saddle a hands breadth back from where you normally would in order to accommodate those shoulder movements. I have always done that with him and it works.
 

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Nope, no special saddle, just one that fits. Gaited horses run the gamut from small and narrow to small and wide to high withers to no withers to tall and wide to tall and narrow.... There is a huge difference saddle-wise between a 13.3 hh Paso, 16 hand Tennessee Walker narrow and lanky, and a 15 hh Missouri Foxtrotter who is wide as a bus. Even within breeds there are marked differences. There's nothing special about a gaited saddle-- some use a gaited tree on a Quarter Horse and a non-gaited tree on a Peruvian. You just need a saddle that fits the particular horse you are riding.
 

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Chiming in here. We own 3 TWH and all ride in non-gaited horse saddles. Technically my saddle may be considered a gaited horse saddle - I ride in a Tucker River Plantation saddle. Medium tree. My hubby rides in a custom Circle Y Park & Trail wide tree and my daughter rides her horse in a Collegiate Dressage saddle.

Our MFT was extremely wide and mutton withered and even the widest treed western saddle did not span her shoulders - my daughter eventually settled on a draft tree dressage saddle that fit her very well.

We ride with other gaited horses and very few ride in "gaited" horse saddles and none of the people we ride with ride in those super shanked Walking horse bits - and we do quite a bit of gaiting when we ride
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
carshon it's funny you say that. I have a draft size dressage saddle that fits him perfectly. But, he is so round and mutton withered, that it rolls off of him (no matter how tight you do the girth!). I haven't actually ridden him yet so I am not sure how it would work, but maybe I should try that first. It DOES fit him perfectly and has a nice wide channel for his back. He is quite a big boy, 16hh and almost as wide as he is tall. I had someone tell me if you had a gaited horse you had to have a specially made gaited saddle. Having never owned, and having only ridden maybe one or two gaited horses EVER, I am not familiar with gaited horses.

I just rescued a Tennessee Walker mare for my daughter, she is the opposite of my RMH. She is probably about 14.2hh and very narrow. She is working out well in a nice Abercrombie endurance saddle I owned but that is way too narrow for him. It offers a lot of freedom for her shoulders, but only because it actually fits her. My boy, hahaha, yeah, wasn't going to happen. All of my experience is mostly dressage and hunters, so I have a vast knowledge of fitting english tack, but wasn't sure if I was missing out on some secret that you could only ride a gaited horse in a gaited horse saddle or not!
 

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Totally agree, it just has to fit. When I got my Rocky mare I tried every saddle I had - don't ask, I had more saddles than horses - including two different Aussie saddles. She was obviously not happy, I could not get her to gait, even just on a long line. I ended up buying a Crates regular western saddle and the first time on she went right into her gait. My other Rocky mare has a very old Tucker gaited saddle. I'm not even sure they make them any more. It looks a lot like an Aussie with a horn but she does well in it. She's a bigger horse with a really large barrel.
 

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Dreama - rescue from the local dog pound. Some type of gaited horse mix of unknown history.
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Since you are looking at different kinds of saddles already, I'll add this (I don't know a lot about saddle fitting personally, but it's something I have observed in my area.)

Rocky Mountains are a popular breed here. I knew a young woman who showed Rocky Mountains, and the shows she did required what they called a "Trooper Saddle".

When I was looking them up to make sure I was remembering the name correctly, it looks like some sites are marketing them as gaited horse saddles, I don't know if they're a kind of saddle that's specifically marketed toward gaited breeds or not. Could be worth looking into though if you're already considering different kinds.

Everyone I've seen trail riding locally uses western style saddles, and there are some Rocky Mountains in their number. I've seen some Rocky Mountains in fun-shows in western saddles too.
 
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