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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
One of my neighbors is very new to horses and recently was given an older mare with a previous injury and some amount of arthritis in her back legs (hocks for sure, maybe more extensive). She's fine for light riding, but gets stiff and sore if she's ridden all day, or at a fast pace. She didn't have any tack, and wanted to ride Western, so I loaned her a Western saddle, then she purchased a nice used Circle Y. However, her horse hates it, even though it seems to be an adequate fit. We think it's because she tends to ride very behind the horse in this saddle.

She's been looking for a different saddle, and found a really cheap "English" saddle yesterday at a swap meet, then brought it by for me to look at. The leather is in pretty good shape for the age, but it is a cut-back style saddle. It's stamped "lane fox, made in England" and doesn't carry any other marks. I know Lane Fox is the type, not the maker. There's no maker's mark that I found. The main objection I had to it was that the panels are very thin and hard, and look like they weren't ever designed to have much flocking. I think the lack of padding and the seat shape are going to be very hard on her horse, but I told her it might be ok with a thick wool or sheepskin half pad if there's room.

I've never used a saddle like it, and am not very familiar with them. Does anyone know anything about these saddles? Did they tend to have little/no flocking, or is it just that old? I wouldn't ride in it personally, but do you think she's going to hurt the horse with it?
 

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That is a Saddleseat saddle & are often shown with no pad at all & used with thin pads for general riding.
She should try it & see. Personally I feel the seat is like straddling a canoe paddle but lots of people like them.

Maybe the problem isn't the type of saddle at all but more of an older mare with arthritis who can't be ridden all day or at a fast pace.
 

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Generally used on gaited horses, setting the rider a little further back. This is supposed to allow for greater shoulder movement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
The mare is fine bareback or when I've ridden her in an English saddle, so while her arthritis is part of the problem, some saddles seem harder for her than others. We thought it might be that this Western saddle encourages the rider to sit further back in a terrible chair seat. I'm a little concerned that this saddle will be just as bad? I guess we will try it and see since I guess the lack of flocking in this thing is normal.

PS: This is not my horse. I can't do much about whether she's ridden or not. The lady is determined. She does let me help her with picking tack, etc, sometimes.
 

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The mare is fine bareback or when I've ridden her in an English saddle, so while her arthritis is part of the problem, some saddles seem harder for her than others. We thought it might be that this Western saddle encourages the rider to sit further back in a terrible chair seat. I'm a little concerned that this saddle will be just as bad? I guess we will try it and see since I guess the lack of flocking in this thing is normal.

PS: This is not my horse. I can't do much about whether she's ridden or not. The lady is determined. She does let me help her with picking tack, etc, sometimes.

Maybe you could suggest some supplements for the arthritis and maybe acupunture and massage? There are many things that will help with that. Also, properly warming her up before riding and keeping the riding to a comfortable pace. Movement is generally good for arthritis and keeping the mare in shape is better then just letting her stand around. Hopefully the rider isn't super heavy. Properly fitting tack is of course very important. I personally still think flat saddles are the most comfortable but I am used to them.
 
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