Narrow seat/twist western saddles - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 10-13-2020, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Narrow seat/twist western saddles

90% of my riding is trail or ditch riding, which I do in an all purpose English saddle that has a fairly flat seat and a narrow twist. It's an older used saddle in not great condition and no rings or ties for gear on the trail.

I tend to trot for about 40% of my riding. I have a short backed horse with a bouncy trot so I post 99% of the time I am troting. I have an older western saddle but its quiet wide at the front of the seat and I struggle to find my balance when posting.

I'd really like a western saddle that has a similar seat to my English saddle and I'm really struggling to know what to look for in saddle descriptions.

I see lots of "lady" advertised saddle but I'm not sure if they are just lighter or have a narrow fork/twist.

I had a dressage saddle that had a high rise to the pommel and I always felt like I was rubbing against it.

Unfortunately I live in a rural area without any large saddle shops around to go sit in a bunch of saddles. Im also not prepared financially to get a fully custom saddle built. I'd like to know what to look for in a used saddle.

Thank you for the help!
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post #2 of 22 Old 10-13-2020, 11:25 AM
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My Abetta saddle ($400 new) has a very English feel to it. The stirrups are hung too far back (IMHO - I like forward stirrups) and it is physically much smaller than the average western saddle. The black western is an Abetta & the English saddle is a Bates Caprilli CC, compared with a Circle Y:


My leather saddle on the same pad as the Abetta below it:




While I prefer a forward hung stirrup, I do 90% of my riding in the Abetta.

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post #3 of 22 Old 10-13-2020, 12:07 PM
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My riding instructor has a "lady's" saddle...and there is a difference.
I asked and she told me hers is a different tree under it period.
Her saddle is either a older Circle Y or Billy Cook, about 30 years old I think...think its a "Y"...

Go try a High Horse saddle with a equitation seat to it, semi bars and see if that is more comfy..
And a Circle Y Park & Trail saddle also has the near same feel to me in narrower, don't know about other brands anymore.
P & T saddles will be older saddles as they were not being made last I knew, but there are hundreds around for sale.

Otherwise, go find and sit in a saddle cut for the female anatomy and see if it helps.
I also found different manufacturers trees are also cut different and that is a ouch or comfort to me.
Cutting and roping saddles I think have one of the larger width trees...know it hurts to sit in many of them for any time, the pull to my groin hurts.
Equitation, reining, sorting, dressage{western} seem to be cut narrower and I've not sat in enough barrel saddles to make that comment but have to think it might be narrower just because more females do barrels than males...
Also look for a saddle with the "close-contact" skirt cut-outs that gets you closer and not so spread and pulling to hip or groin...
Good luck.
..

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post #4 of 22 Old 10-13-2020, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
My Abetta saddle ($400 new) has a very English feel to it. The stirrups are hung too far back (IMHO - I like forward stirrups) and it is physically much smaller than the average western saddle. The black western is an Abetta & the English saddle is a Bates Caprilli CC, compared with a Circle Y:


My leather saddle on the same pad as the Abetta below it:




While I prefer a forward hung stirrup, I do 90% of my riding in the Abetta.

Would you say this (circled) part of the saddle is narrow and low?

I find I have three points of contact to the seat, and if the circled part is wide or has a high slope I am against it awkwardly and not comfortable when I rode.
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post #5 of 22 Old 10-13-2020, 02:45 PM
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I have a Dale Chavez Western Equitation style (Pleasure) saddle that I had custom made. It has a narrow twist and it seems that most of his flatter, pleasure saddles have the same. My saddle is so comfortable, I can ride in it for hours and never get sore.

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post #6 of 22 Old 10-13-2020, 04:02 PM
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The feel between the thighs of a western saddle is not driven by the tree, but by the "ground". That is the fiberglass & leather built up part above the tree.

"Saddle makers are often asked what a person should look for in a comfortable saddle. Though it is a fair question, a simple answer is tough to come by. The key lies in what is called the ground seat."

https://caryschwarz.com/the-ground-seat/



https://www.freckerssaddlery.com/making_saddle.php

It is very hard to see variations in a picture (I've TRIED but failed to capture it before) and really the only way to KNOW if the "ground" fits your goals is to sit on it and feel. The ground on our Circle Y saddle puts the leg into a certain position. I hate it. My daughter loves it. It isn't "twist" but a deliberate part added to the tree meant to support the rider in a certain position.

FWIW, I consider the Abetta to have a narrow, low rise ground. Add in the small tree and I find it very comfortable to ride....except I'd like the stirrups hung further forward. The Abetta has the most "English" feel of any western saddle I've sat in.

Another comparison, this one of my Abetta versus the good leather saddle I sometimes use:



One drawback to the Abetta. It has a large D-ring that can hinder the free movement of the stirrups leathers (made of nylon) forward. I added a leather strap to prevent the front edge of the nylon leathers from snagging on the D-ring:



Another drawback: It doesn't have many places to tie things!

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post #7 of 22 Old 10-13-2020, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
The feel between the thighs of a western saddle is not driven by the tree, but by the "ground". That is the fiberglass & leather built up part above the tree.

"Saddle makers are often asked what a person should look for in a comfortable saddle. Though it is a fair question, a simple answer is tough to come by. The key lies in what is called the ground seat."
I also prefer a more narrow twist and discovered suspended seat saddles for me. So instead of sitting in/on a ground seat, you are sort-of sitting in a hammock... Some people hate it, for me it was the best thing ever. When my barn owner (who prefers riding bareback, otherwise rides in an English saddle) tried it out, she was all gushy how close you feel to the horse and how much it reminds her of bareback...
It may be worth a try.
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post #8 of 22 Old 10-13-2020, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
The feel between the thighs of a western saddle is not driven by the tree, but by the "ground". That is the fiberglass & leather built up part above the tree.
....
It is very hard to see variations in a picture (I've TRIED but failed to capture it before) and really the only way to KNOW if the "ground" fits your goals is to sit on it and feel. The ground on our Circle Y saddle puts the leg into a certain position. I hate it. My daughter loves it. It isn't "twist" but a deliberate part added to the tree meant to support the rider in a certain position.

FWIW, I consider the Abetta to have a narrow, low rise ground. Add in the small tree and I find it very comfortable to ride....except I'd like the stirrups hung further forward. The Abetta has the most "English" feel of any western saddle I've sat in.
I've looked up Abetta and apparently they are no longer making saddles.

What style of circle Y saddle does your daughter like?

When I look into the differences in pelvis between men and women I feel like I'm so typically female example. In my legs turn out and are pushed forward (I have very long thighs) and I feel like I'm rubbing the front of the saddle with my pelvis on every stride.

I would love to fall into $$ to get a custom saddle.
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post #9 of 22 Old 10-13-2020, 05:41 PM
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McCall saddlery makes a "Lady" version of several of their popular saddles. The seat is narrower, they tend to be a bit lighter depending on the model (around 35lbs) and as far as a bigger brand goes they have really great seats in general.

They are more in the $3K range brand new, but if you shop around on facebook and ranchworldads you can find them for $1500-$2500 used.
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post #10 of 22 Old 10-13-2020, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SHRIDER85 View Post
I've looked up Abetta and apparently they are no longer making saddles.

What style of circle Y saddle does your daughter like?....
Wow! Didn't know that. Wonder if it is COVID-temporary or permanent?

My daughter's is a used Circle Y equitation saddle from 1990-ish. Was $450 on Craigslist. Will probably still be functional when I die. An old picture of my daughter using it when I was still using Australian saddles:



My wife with the same saddle:



The angle of their thigh is driven by the shape of the saddle. I cannot capture it in a picture but it is like a groove that places the thigh at that angle. I like a steeper angle to my leg and that is why I don't like it.



Guess the good news is that my Abetta may outlast me too! I will say the old Circle Y is easy to stay on when a horse spooks and our horses like it too.

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