Clothing and Saddle Advice/Help - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-02-2019, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Clothing and Saddle Advice/Help

Hi All,
So I am new to Western riding though I know the a lot about riding because I have been riding for 18 years mainly English. I am going to start taking Western lessons and would like to know what kind of riding pants and boots you wear to your lessons? Also, if I were to purchase a Western saddle. How do I know what size to get for my horse? With a English saddle my mare needs a wide tree and I need an 18" seat. How do the two saddles correspond? Thank you and Happy riding
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-02-2019, 05:02 PM
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a Blanket sort of conversion would say a Full QH bars saddle, with a 16" seat. But, the bars thing, well, that's hard to say because is has more to do with the angle of the shoulder, than the width. I am not all that knowledgeable on Western saddles.
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tinyliny is offline  
post #3 of 7 Old 04-02-2019, 05:34 PM
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^ this seems accurate to me.

My horse goes in a wide tree or x wide tree in english saddle and I got him a fqhb western saddle. The bar spread is something like 7in, though his perfect match would be 7 and a quarter. I had to look at different models to find the right angle of the bars, he needed them a bit flatter because his ribs are well sprung. As for the seat, try some out, depending how the swell comes out and how the cantle is placed it can change how you sit in the saddle and what size you might need.

I usually just wear boot cut jeans and my english paddock boots, but I'm also an english rider with no real professional training in western.
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-04-2019, 03:49 PM
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Western Saddles come in SQHB (Semi Quarter Horse Bars)

Quarter horse bars QHB

FQHB (full quarter horse bars)

You can get them in a wide tree or an extra wide tree as well, but there's some ambiguity in that - there's no industry standard, so one maker's FQHB tree may be wide enough to be a 'wide tree' made by someone else.

I found this very helpful when I first starting trying to figure out which horse needed what saddle at our place. I'm still no expert. Sometimes it's a matter of (expensive?) trial and error, but the good news is, if you invest in a GOOD saddle (Especially a used one) and it doesn't fit, you can sell it and not lose any money, and sometimes make a little money.


For western lessons, I'd show up in comfortable jeans, a t-shirt, and riding appropriate boots. Be sure you wear slick soled boots with a leather or a smooth hybrid sole. Lug soled boots will get you hurt.

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post #5 of 7 Old 04-15-2019, 05:00 PM
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You can get a good pair of boot cut Wrangler's at a decent price and they are good quality.
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-15-2019, 05:58 PM
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Conversion of size is English saddle is approximately 2" larger than a western saddle.
So, you sit in a 18" English puts you in a 16" western.
Now, just like English, western seats can and will tweak that size for comfort.
Different discipline cuts in seat also shall fit your anatomy different manufacturer to manufacturer.
As was told, there are no industry guidelines for sizing, fit or trees in the saddles.

You will find just sitting in many saddles will start to make sense that certain manufacturers are more comfortable, better "feel" for communication with the horse...sounds like English saddles.
Depending upon the real width of your horses, there is also draft sized saddles with appropriate trees to fit the massive shoulders and angle.
Also gaited saddles and Arabian offer slightly different sizing and angles which changes fit to the horse.

As for clothing...comfy jeans or riding pants/jeans with a stretch weave in the fabric.
A heeled shoe/boot with minimal grip to the lug work boots.
If you have paddock boots, they absolutely work regardless of saddle style.
In time if you decide to stay with western, they spending the $ for western style clothing is great.
Till that period of time, comfy jeans, and a heeled boot to keep you safe and properly foot-bed supported is all you need.
Enjoy the new challenge.

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-15-2019, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by horseponydogcrazy View Post
I am going to start taking Western lessons and would like to know what kind of riding pants and boots you wear to your lessons?

I wear jeans and cowboy boots 99% of the time. For myself, I love the Ariat Probaby boots. They are very comfortable to wear all day.

Originally Posted by horseponydogcrazy View Post
Also, if I were to purchase a Western saddle. How do I know what size to get for my horse? With a English saddle my mare needs a wide tree and I need an 18" seat. How do the two saddles correspond?

If your horse needs a wide tree in English, then I would probably look at Western saddles that have full quarter horse bars. Western saddle shopping is maddening, because there is no standard. One company might call their saddle a semi QH bar but yet be wider in the bar angle than another company's full QH bars. There is just no true way to know how it will fit your horse, until you physical put it on your horse.

Being both a western (primarily) and English rider myself, I find Western saddle fitting much more difficult because it's harder to see what the tree is doing under all the leather, and you cannot modify a western saddle like you might be able to reflock or alter an English saddle.

The rule of thumb is to subtract 2 inches for a Western saddle. So hypothetically, you would want to look for a 16" western saddle. But it depends what is comfortable for you. I am comfortable in my 14.5" barrel racing saddles, and my 17.5" Tad Coffin jumping saddle. So I am outside the rule of thumb. Try to sit in as many western saddles as you can, and see what feels comfortable to you.

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