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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I grew up riding english and all my tack is english. I am teaching my husband how to ride, and he doesn't like the english tack. My saddle is pretty deep-seated (Crosby SofRide), but my husband still doesn't feel super secure in it. I can't blame him - it is a little small for him.

So I am contemplating buying some western gear so my husband can use that on our gelding. (We bought him as a western trained horse just a month ago - I have switched him over to english tack, but he was saddle trained western). Only problem is, I know NOTHING about western saddles, tree size, seat sizes, girth(cinch?) sizes, pad sizes, etc.

Any help would be appreciated! Like, what kind of western saddle to get, how to know if it fits the horse, etc.

My mustang is about 15h, and 1000lbs, but doesn't have a lot of muscle tone so right now fits perfectly in the Crosby saddle medium tree with a THIN baby pad. Once his muscle tone builds up, I bet he will need a wider tree for sure.

My husband is on the larger side, so seat size would have to be generous?

Any thoughts?

Also, if this is supposed to be in another forum - sorry!
 

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How often will hubby be riding? If not too often, your gelding probably won't build a ton of muscle.

As for the seat size, it depends on what he feels comfortable in. I should ride a 16.5-17", but I like the feel of a 16", though it's slightly too small for my fat butt.

As for the girth, I ride my mare in a 36", but a 34" would fit her..She would wear a 48" english girth (I've been contemplating english as well since she'd do well in english pleasure and HUS). So a 48" english girth is about 36" western cinch.

Pads are generally the same overall..They make built up shoulder pads and all that, but it's not necessary if the saddle fits. I have one 30x32" (I think) canvas pad with fleece lining that I ccan't use because my mare's withers are too high, so I bought a John Deere pad with a wither cut-out and love it. A handle for tossing the pad up and it doesn't rub her withers like the canvas/fleece pad did. I ride her in a FQHB roping saddle that fits everything except for her withers. Her shoulders are too wide for a SQHB saddle that would give her withers clearance, but it would pinch her shoulders. So aside from getting a custom made saddle for her, this is the combination that works for her.

I would suggest trying saddles out at the tack shop and maybe taking the horse with or taking the saddle on trial and trying it out. There's also stuff online to help size for saddles.
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My husband is comfortable in a 17". Surely you can find a western saddle dealer where he can sit in saddles? You really want him to learn to FEEL things, and analyzing the different saddles will help him start to learn that.

Good Luck!

Nancy
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
How often will hubby be riding? If not too often, your gelding probably won't build a ton of muscle.

As for the seat size, it depends on what he feels comfortable in. I should ride a 16.5-17", but I like the feel of a 16", though it's slightly too small for my fat butt.

As for the girth, I ride my mare in a 36", but a 34" would fit her..She would wear a 48" english girth (I've been contemplating english as well since she'd do well in english pleasure and HUS). So a 48" english girth is about 36" western cinch.

Pads are generally the same overall..They make built up shoulder pads and all that, but it's not necessary if the saddle fits. I have one 30x32" (I think) canvas pad with fleece lining that I ccan't use because my mare's withers are too high, so I bought a John Deere pad with a wither cut-out and love it. A handle for tossing the pad up and it doesn't rub her withers like the canvas/fleece pad did. I ride her in a FQHB roping saddle that fits everything except for her withers. Her shoulders are too wide for a SQHB saddle that would give her withers clearance, but it would pinch her shoulders. So aside from getting a custom made saddle for her, this is the combination that works for her.

I would suggest trying saddles out at the tack shop and maybe taking the horse with or taking the saddle on trial and trying it out. There's also stuff online to help size for saddles.
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Thanks! I should clarify that right now, we only have one horse, so I ride him as well ;) Just not on the same days that my husband does - and we only ride him a few days a week while getting him back into work. If my husband decides he likes riding, we might get another horse, but right now don't want to spend the extra money since we board. We hope to buy an equine property someday..

Around here is mostly english riding, so there are very few tack shops that I know of that have much western knowledge :-\
 

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There is some good reading here:

Western Saddle Guide : Expert advice

I don't agree with everything they say, but it is a good place to start.

Also, if you can post some pictures, it might help. Western saddles distribute the weight over a larger area, and you get to choose the padding. The largest manufacturer of saddle trees in America makes 8 or 9 types that will cover almost all horses. There is some good reading here:

Steele Saddle Tree LLC - Fit To The Horse

If you buy used, you may need to get them to bring the saddle over so you can check the fit before buying. If you buy off the Internet, make sure the store has a good return policy. Many will allow you to return a saddle after a few days and all you pay is return shipping. The Steele 'Fit the Horse' program ought to work great, but I bought my western saddles used and neither one uses Steele trees.

This is my favorite saddle pad:



Ranch Tough Contoured Pad

This web site is done by a custom saddle tree maker. It has a lot of great information on saddle fit, including how it can differ from English rules:

False "saddle fit rules" regarding the shoulder blades

Saddle fit - Western compared to English Part 3
 

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Just wanted to second the Diamond wool pad that bsms posted. I don't ride western too terribly often, but I wanted to get something decent with wool felt. I can't comment on the lasting ability yet, but super great value for the price! As far as seat size goes, I really think that you should try and locate some saddles for him to sit in. Start with a 16" (usually comparable to an English 18"), and go up and down from there.

Also, I got an Australian saddle for my boyfriend to ride in, and it makes him feel incredibly secure. Just another option to consider!
 

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DuckDodgers makes a good point. An Australian saddle rides a lot like an English saddle, but the poleys (Mickey Mouse ears) can help a lot when the horse hits the fan. I like one with a horn. Combined with advice from Harry Chamberlin on riding position [Riding And Schooling Horses: Harry D. Chamberlin, John Cudahy, Edwin M. Sumner: 9781163173299: Amazon.com: Books ], I think it is about as secure a saddle as is made. I've had the poleys bruise my thighs from hitting them so hard in a spin, but I've never come out of an Australian-style saddle without meaning to! :p


They are a bit pricey new, but can be found used cheap. I would recommend looking for a DownUnder saddle if you go that route. There are some incredibly bad knock-offs made super cheap in the Australian-style saddle world.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you everyone for the help!

I have some pictures of him if that helps.

This one is when I trialed him before I bought him - I trialed him in his previous owner's western saddle:
Horse Halter Bridle Rein Horse supplies


And here is me riding him in an english saddle recently:
Horse Bridle Halter Rein Equestrianism

Don't know if that will help at all. I am 5'8"... if that means anything haha.
 

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in a very general sense you are likely looking for a trail saddle. a 16 inch seat would probably be enough, if your husband is not much taller than 6 feet. the tree types are , in a very general sense, semiqh, qh, full qh. (going from narrowest to widest.) it's not quite as simple as that, though.

post a photo of your horses's back, in good light, on flat ground and from several angles, no saddle.
 

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Can you not contact the old owners and ask about that saddle as far as the bar type? They may not know but it would save you a lot of trouble if they do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That's true, I could contact them... There are a few things they did though that I won't do in regards to bridle fit, hoof trimming, etc. But they probably could give me an idea of saddle fit.
 

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He wants that horn so he has something to hang onto and that will also catch his sternum when he lurches forward, then ends up bruised and possibly in the hospital:p

Do you think you could convince him to use an endurance style saddle with one of those "Oh s**t" straps attached to it?

I know a few people who were convinced to ride that way, and are much better riders.

It just seems to me older adults, just learning to ride and who are somewhat timid really shouldn't be riding saddles with horns on them because they don't know how to stay out of the way of the horn:D

JMHO:D
 

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Horns, IMHO:

1 - I've had two family members - not me - who slid sideways out of an Australian saddle with a grab strap but no horn. Once you start to slide sideways out of a saddle, the grab strap doesn't seem to give enough leverage to get back on. A horn does.

2 - I've heard of women catching their bra on a saddle horn. Being male, that isn't a problem. In 6 years of riding, admittedly with most of that time in an Australian saddle with a low horn, I haven't had much contact. My current western saddle has a taller horn. I know it is there going up a steep hill, but I'd rather have one than not. It is...comforting, if not comfortable.

In the picture below, a very large moving van was about 50 yards ahead of us. Men were moving inside, which made it sound like The Giant Beast was hungry! Mia was getting kind of light in the front, which is a good sign she was thinking about doing a 180. It was nice to grab the horn with one hand and urge her forward, and forward we went. Well, if not exactly FORWARD, at least prancing sideways. :p In any case, I was pretty certain I was going to go anywhere she went!



If your husband is enough like me to be less than totally graceful, I'd opt for a horn. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here are some pictures of him. I couldn't get him to stand square during the pictures. I don't know if these help for suggestions.


Also - he looks really thin in the first picture, which is so deceiving because he is actually OVERWEIGHT. haha. I can't even feel ribs when I put pressure on :cry:... part of it is lack of muscling, for sure, but I am bringing him back into work.

Tail Wood

Wood Room Hardwood Floor Ceiling

Liver Fawn Horse

Ugh, and again they are all in weird directions. Any idea how to fix that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
We just got back from a local tack shop that had ONE western saddle that was 17". It felt too small for my husband. Do they make westerns much bigger than that?
 

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We just got back from a local tack shop that had ONE western saddle that was 17". It felt too small for my husband. Do they make westerns much bigger than that?
The problem that you run into with larger saddles is that they're often times too long for the horse's back. They definitely do make them larger, though... At a fair last year there was a guy selling saddles, and one of them was a 22" Western saddle :shock: That thing was LONG! I also see 18" westerns pop up on our craigslist from time to time. It may take some looking, but I'm sure you can find a western saddle that'll fit him in a decent brand. But at a certain point you may need to sacrifice the seat room for the sake of the horse. Some horses simply can't take over a certain seat size, and at that point the rider will just have to make do with something a little snug.
 
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