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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, y'all. Just wanting to get some advice here on these two saddles. HELP! :D :D

I plan to use my draft cross mare for trail riding and lessons. No jumping other than a log or small ditch that might get in our way on the trail. I'm a beginner, able to ride in all gaits but still not totally balanced all the time. I take lessons twice a week.

I'm trying to decide between these two saddles.

My overall goals are comfort for long trail rides and security in my seat.

First, the 17.5" Big Horn Draft Horse Saddle 1683


Saddle info:
Similar to the 1682, this 1683 model is built on a 17.5" seat.

It's designed specifically for the draft horse or draft cross and built on Big Horn's fiberglass covered wood draft horse tree.

A great pleasure and trail saddle with its 17.5" Dual Density Memory Foam seat, long leather strings, and solid brass rings.

We love Big Horn's #2 brown finish and so will you! This saddle comes with just enough tooling and border to add some interest and a 4" cheyenne roll cantle.

Featuring double, stainless steel dropped D rigging, draft horse/draft cross tree, and dual density memory foam seat.

  • Tree: Fiberglass covered wood for Draft horse and Draft crosses
  • Cantle: 4"
  • Seat: 16" grainout with Dual Density Memory Foam
  • Horn: 3" x 2.5"
  • Gullet: Extra Wide width x 7.25" high
  • Rigging: Double, stainless steel dropped D
  • Skirts: 28" x 14"
  • Fenders: 17" x 7.5", 2.5"
  • Stirrups: Leather covered Visalia, 4.5" tread width
  • Finish: Brown
  • Trim: Solid brass rings, solid brass back crupper ring, and leather ties.
  • Weight: Approximately 30 lbs.
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And then we have the Down Under Wizzard Poley with Horn




Saddle info:


he Wizzard is deep and soft seated, finished in rich nubuck leather. This leather is very soft to the touch and very durable. It has the beauty of a smooth leather with the grip of a suede. The embossing is simple yet bold. Deep seated and very comfortable, this saddle comes highly recommended ......
Weight: without fittings approximately 22 pounds,
(larger seat sizes will weigh slightly more)
Colors: Dark Brown or Black
Seat Depth: 4-3/4", Kneepads: 4"
Sizes: 16", 17", 18", and 19"
Panel Type: Serge
 

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I guess it would depend on which you think will fit your horse the best.
Personally, I prefer my Aussie or English saddles to western, but if a western saddle fit my horse better than the other two, then I would have to reconsider.
 

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I agree, it all depends on which one fits your horse better and is comfortable for you to ride in. Check to see if you can take or send it back if it doesn't fit.

Also keep in mind that you will need a size smaller seat in western than you would in an English saddle.
 

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a 17.5 inch seat in a Western saddle is HUGE! this is the same as a 19.5 inch English saddle. Did you know that? I am a fat woman, but in a Western saddle, I am fine in a 16 or 16.5 inch, and a 17.5 inch would be way too big.
Your horse is part Arab. She may have the short back of an arab, right? so any saddle with a seat that large will need a longer tree to support it, which will not work well on a short backed horse.

I would look at a western saddle, but consider more her Arab features, than her draft. many drafts are easier to fit a saddle to than an arab. \
try posting some photos of her back, from various angles. you might even consider looking at an arab tree western saddle.

my limited experience with Aussie saddles is that they are hard to fit well to a wider horse. However, talk to Wallaby. she has an arab mare, and uses an Aussie, (a synthetic, I believe).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
a 17.5 inch seat in a Western saddle is HUGE! this is the same as a 19.5 inch English saddle. Did you know that? I am a fat woman, but in a Western saddle, I am fine in a 16 or 16.5 inch, and a 17.5 inch would be way too big.
Your horse is part Arab. She may have the short back of an arab, right? so any saddle with a seat that large will need a longer tree to support it, which will not work well on a short backed horse.

I would look at a western saddle, but consider more her Arab features, than her draft. many drafts are easier to fit a saddle to than an arab. \
try posting some photos of her back, from various angles. you might even consider looking at an arab tree western saddle.

my limited experience with Aussie saddles is that they are hard to fit well to a wider horse. However, talk to Wallaby. she has an arab mare, and uses an Aussie, (a synthetic, I believe).
I was wondering about that size for the horse. DARN IT ALL! I'm kind of heavy (getting smaller every week, though with all this riding!), so a bigger saddle is what "I" need, but I know I have to fit the horse first because she's going to be more difficult. I started out as a size 16 and I'm a 12 now. I'm 5'4" with short legs, if that gives you any indicator of what I need in a saddle.

Here's a photo I took so you can see the length of her back from withers to croup. It's only when I bothered to do this that I realized that she's got a sway and high withers and short back. At least, I think she does. Anyone want to confirm that for me? Also, she's wide being a draft cross.

I'm starting to think the only saddle that will ever fit this horse is a custom one. Holy expensive saddle alert. [wallet sadness]

I did hear about one more saddle, the Meleta Brown Freedom Saddle. I'm going to post the specs on that one after the picture.




Okay, so the Meleta Brown Freedom Saddle:

A trail saddle developed and designed by Meleta Brown, using the same bar and rigging technology as the Freedom Series Barrel. Made using grain-out select saddle skirting, finished in three different shades, with a round trail skirt.
  • Tree: Meleta Brown Barrel, Equi-Fit, Quarter horse bars
  • Width: 6 5/8", 8" High
  • Horn: Barrel Race, 3 1/2" High, 2 1/2" Cap, Rawhide tipped
  • Cantle: 4" Oval
  • Rigging: Triangle Flat Plate, 3/4 Position
  • Skirt: Round 25" x 13", Real wool shearling fleece
  • Fender: 17" X 6 3/4", 2 1/2" leathers, belvins buckles
  • Weight: Approximately 30 pounds.


Original design and development by Professional Barrel Racer Meleta Brown, trainer, clinician and fit specialist of Decatur, Indiana. Made and distributed by Crates to exacting specifications, this innovative platform distributes the weight and tree bar surface evenly along the horse's back, by the combination of a newly shaped tree bar with convex flair in the front of the bar to provide freedom in the shoulder movement. A modified "flat plate" "Triangle" rigging assembly sets the saddle evenly along the back.
Research has shown that the horse needs to have his shoulders free or it will inhibit his gait. This saddle offers more shoulder and hip room and better weight distribution due to wider tree bars than traditional saddles.
Freedom can mean the difference between winning and loosing, fighting your horse or enjoying your ride.
-Meleta Brown
This Crates model utilizes the "Equi-Fit" barrel tree, built by Steele Saddle Tree Company, of Ashland City, Tennessee, saddle tree makers since the early 1800's, features a new unique bar design which reduces pressure points along the surface of the bar "freeing" the forward shoulder movement.
 

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You would probably be fine in a 15 inch western saddle. No bigger than 16 inch.
A side view and a view from above , like standing on a fence and looking down on her back, would help to get a better feel for her shape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You would probably be fine in a 15 inch western saddle. No bigger than 16 inch.
A side view and a view from above , like standing on a fence and looking down on her back, would help to get a better feel for her shape.
I'll try to get those today. :) Thanks!
 

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Do you have folks around you with western saddles that you can try out? Or a tack/feed store with consignment saddles that you can sit in? If so, I'd try out as many as you can seat-wise. Decide what's most comfortable for you. Put the saddles on the horse to judge the fit. Try everything in the 15-16" range on the horse's back to see if it's too long for her. Do the best to find a saddle that fits you, but ensure that it's not too long for her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Unfortunately, I live in southern France. Almost no one rides Western here. They have a variation "Camarguese" but the saddles are different. The local tack store has about 5 western saddles and none of them are suitable.
 

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Maybe you should adopt a slant on the Roman philosophy
When in France do as the French do'
It would give you a much bigger choice of saddles to pick from and wherever possible get a saddler to come out and bring a selection for you to try
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The Camarguese saddle is designed to do bull running contests. The saddles aren't really suited to long trail rides. :)

If you're curious by what I mean, check this video out:

 

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You might want to get some templates for western saddle tree fit. Both my draft crosses (the larger of whom is 16.2 and weighs about 1500 pounds/680kg) wear an average size saddle with Full QH Bars and a 7 inch gullet.

Here's a link where SouthernTrails posted a link to some downloadable templates to give you a good idea what size tree your horse might need.
http://www.horseforum.com/saddle-fitting-issues/saddle-fit-help-advise-349994/#post4581170
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks, SMrobs. I got the templates off the internet and made cardboard cutouts this afternoon. Tomorrow I'm taking them and my Equimeasure moulding thing out to the horse and I'm going to do everything I can to find out all her measurements and the best saddle for her. I'm very anxious to get it done, but don't want to make any expensive mistakes.
 
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You should really talk to Southerntrails. He's a saddle maker and makes some really great quality stuff. He could likely help you decide what's best for your mare and maybe even help you find one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You should really talk to Southerntrails. He's a saddle maker and makes some really great quality stuff. He could likely help you decide what's best for your mare and maybe even help you find one.
Thanks, I will! Appreciate the referral and info. :)
 

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Unfortunately, I live in southern France. Almost no one rides Western here. They have a variation "Camarguese" but the saddles are different. The local tack store has about 5 western saddles and none of them are suitable.
Ah, I see the problem! You don't need to be considering the saddles for purchase, but unless they're really wonky then they may be able to give you an idea of your seat size. I say that because I can almost guarantee that you'll be swimming in a 17.5" at 5'4, heavy or not!!
 

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Eh, it really depends on the seat style too...and the size of the person.

I'm 5'5 and weigh about 135 pounds(61kg) and I ride in a 15. Anything smaller would be too snug...and if I was very much bigger, I'd need a bigger saddle. I know folks my size and smaller that refuse to ride in anything smaller than a 16 because they feel trapped.

OP, your best bet would likely just be to sit in as many saddles as you can, regardless of quality. You don't have to buy them, but it will give you an idea what seat size you are most comfortable in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ah, I see the problem! You don't need to be considering the saddles for purchase, but unless they're really wonky then they may be able to give you an idea of your seat size. I say that because I can almost guarantee that you'll be swimming in a 17.5" at 5'4, heavy or not!!

I think I'm going to go with a 15 because I'm losing a lot of weight and I don't think it will take me long to feel comfy in it. :) Thanks!!
 

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I think I'd give those Camargue saddles a try - they look different but not uncomfortable - wouldn't they have been designed for the people who work cattle off horses there?
Its really all about getting used to something new - I trail ride in an English saddle and I don't find it uncomfortable because its what I'm used too. I didn't find the western saddles any easier on my backside!!!
EXCELSIOR "Camargue" saddle on Ekkia, the horse's world
 

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I think I'd give those Camargue saddles a try - they look different but not uncomfortable - wouldn't they have been designed for the people who work cattle off horses there?
Its really all about getting used to something new - I trail ride in an English saddle and I don't find it uncomfortable because its what I'm used too. I didn't find the western saddles any easier on my backside!!!
EXCELSIOR "Camargue" saddle on Ekkia, the horse's world
The ad says Buffalo Leather and Fiberglass Tree, a definite sign it is made in India.

I have seen too many Trees made with Fiberglass that break in half, also do you know what most Buffalo Leather is tanned with in India? How do I say it and stay PG...lol..... number one as the grand-kids would say :lol::lol:

Cool looking style though :wink:

.
 
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