PDA

View Full Version : Switching to a gaited breed, tack questions.



Orn1218
Jun. 26, 2007, 05:51 PM
Due to a pain disorder (fibromyalgia), I have decided it is time to switch to a gaited breed if I am going to be doing anymore riding at all. I pretty much have a deal worked out on a nice young Spotted Saddle horse gelding.

He is a quite bit narrower than QH my mare that I am selling, so my current tack is not going to fit him, even when he is done filling out. Although I ride my mare in both English and western tack, my true love is my English saddle. The trainer style that I most like right now is Lee Zeilger, as it seems she promotes a balanced seat over the (dreaded) chair seat. She does suggest (at least that is what I understood) to use the same seat that dressage riders use to properly ride balanced.

I am looking for suggestions for a relatively inexpensive (new or used) saddle that would work. My budget will probably be about $500 once I sell my current saddle. Would a dressage saddle work for this purpose? Would it be comfortable enough to trail ride with? I am not talking hours of riding right now, but for an hour or two? I've only ridden in close contact or AP saddles. Any help would be great! Thanks!
Melissa

Austin Rider
Jun. 26, 2007, 06:00 PM
I've had good luck with the Wintec Pro dressage saddle. It fits a surprising number of medium to narrow horses. I picked up one used with wool reflockable panels for around $400.

Cashela
Jun. 26, 2007, 07:20 PM
I have friends that ride their MFT's and TWH's in wintec dressage saddles and they find them quite comfortable.

It's such ashame that Lee Ziegler passed away.

Renae
Jun. 26, 2007, 07:32 PM
I don't think a dressage saddle would be the best choice. If you want to trail ride a gaited horse english I would look for a used Stubben trail saddle, here are a few of the models http://www.nationalbridle.com/CategorySearch.asp?SubCategory=14 as you can see the seats are a bit flatter and flaps wider so you can sit in a less rigid positiion than in a dressage saddle. Otherwise if you can't find a Stubben trail model look for a used all purpose Stubben. Stubben are nice for narrower horses as they usually aren't overly wide.

luvs2ride79
Jun. 26, 2007, 08:05 PM
A stubben would be good, but fit can be tricky. You'd likely need a 29 cm tree for a narrow horse.

A wintec with the changable gullet would be good, though I'd recommend the AP 2000 so you'll have more ability to adjust stirrup length. I like the wool panels better too, over the CAIR.

Orn1218
Jun. 26, 2007, 08:23 PM
It's such ashame that Lee Ziegler passed away.

Yes, everything I have read about her, and what she has published is wonderful. I love her attitude about keeping a gaited horse supple and soft instead of nose to the air like so many trainers seem to do.


As much as I would LOVE to have a Stubben I can't afford a new one at this time, and used ones are hard to come buy. I can dream though.

Renae
Jun. 26, 2007, 08:43 PM
Yes, everything I have read about her, and what she has published is wonderful. I love her attitude about keeping a gaited horse supple and soft instead of nose to the air like so many trainers seem to do.


As much as I would LOVE to have a Stubben I can't afford a new one at this time, and used ones are hard to come buy. I can dream though.

Au contraite! A used trail model Stubben will be a little hard to come by, sure, but a used all purpose Stubben in your price range is a very common thing!
http://www.heritagesaddlery.com/proddetail.asp?prod=B71079
http://www.heritagesaddlery.com/proddetail.asp?prod=B75210
http://www.heritagesaddlery.com/proddetail.asp?prod=AP2
And LOADS of them on eBay!

But another style saddle that may interest you that is commonly used on gaited horses is a Trooper Saddle. The Tucker Trooper saddles ae the top of the line with those and if you can find a used one in your price range I owuld grab it, but there are some quality less expensive trooper saddles out there.

jeano
Jun. 27, 2007, 10:51 AM
I'm thinking you might not do too badly in an aussie saddle, basically an oversized dressage saddle. Or check out some of the saddles at crestridge. I ditto the trooper and other Tuckers suggestion, but they are pricey and can be hard to find used, people love them so much. Also check out the gaited horse saddles at National Bridle Shop.

One small caveat, although gaited horses can be less jarring to ride than trotting horses many of them do trot, and sometimes offer gaits that are weird combinations of trot/canter, as well as pacing, which can shake you side to side like nobody's business. As the late lamented Ms Ziegler pointed out, you cant just be on autopilot and expect them to stay in gait, and in order to preserve their soundness you should spend time working them in gaits other than the identified "easy" gait. They can be just as much if not more hard work to ride as any horse. You are likely to still have discomfort and days when even riding your easy horse is hard. Fibromyalgia is a booger that way.

citydog
Jun. 27, 2007, 11:22 AM
I don't think a dressage saddle would be the best choice. If you want to trail ride a gaited horse english I would look for a used Stubben trail saddle, here are a few of the models http://www.nationalbridle.com/CategorySearch.asp?SubCategory=14


The Stübbens on that page were all originally developed for the gaited market. The "sweet spot" is further back than other Stübbens, and will put you in a slight but distinct chair seat. The "Comfort" and "All Around" models were developed by a trainer in Iceland, and personally, I find them ungodly restrictive.

I've long been a Stübben devotee in my ungaited life, and ride my Icelandic in a Stübben Scout (which is a fairly new model so hard to find used, but basically a VSD--all purpose tending toward dressage) with some extra cush and rings for the trail, and panels that distribute rider weigh over a larger surface. The pony and I *love* it. I should think you might want to check out used VSDs, maybe in a larger seat size than you might normally, so you have a little more wiggle room for comfort and for gait foozling, and then maybe put a sheepskin seatcover on it for you.

You might also find a Thinline pad will help smooth out the ride for you. (Thinline + sheepskin = lovely).

In any case, "gaited" saddles are more marketing than anything. If you find a dressage saddle (I'd go for one without the goofy gigantic kneeblocks and super deep seat that are so in fashion right now) that works for you and the horse, go for it. :) I have a Stübben Tristan that's like riding bareback (no knee rolls, plenty of seat room).

Good luck.

Orn1218
Jun. 27, 2007, 02:54 PM
This is all such good advice. I have been a Stubben fan for many years as well, having ridden in them daily while doing mounted patrol as a law enforcement ranger.

I am finding some used Stubben Tristans at fairly affordable prices, so I might consider that as well. I too, like that they are not too deeply seated and over padded. One of my reasons for choosing a dressage type saddle, is that I didn't want to lose the feel of the horse.

It might be a moot point for now, as I have a gut feeling the lady is flaking out on our deal.:mad:

Orn1218
Jun. 27, 2007, 03:19 PM
The lady was a flake!! And I believe rather dishonest. I am not getting this fella, now. She gave me some weird story of her truck breaking and her needing more money. I hadn't even seen him yet!! Grrrrr. So I did the wise thing and just backed away from the whole thing.

katarine
Jun. 27, 2007, 03:19 PM
I would disagree on the Aussie for gaited horses- I don't like the pocket they force you into, too deep for me...I prefer the freedom to wiggle, LOL!

Stubben's making some designed for gaited horses- the Scout and the Gaited Pleasure, I think are the names.

Nat'l Bridle Shop's Lite Rider is cool, reasonable, and designed for gaited horses. The steep cantle means add an inch to your normal western seat size...

Hope the deal doesn't fall through, waa!

Renae
Jun. 27, 2007, 05:42 PM
This is all such good advice. I have been a Stubben fan for many years as well, having ridden in them daily while doing mounted patrol as a law enforcement ranger.

I am finding some used Stubben Tristans at fairly affordable prices, so I might consider that as well. I too, like that they are not too deeply seated and over padded. One of my reasons for choosing a dressage type saddle, is that I didn't want to lose the feel of the horse.

It might be a moot point for now, as I have a gut feeling the lady is flaking out on our deal.:mad:

That bites about the horse, I hope you come across another that suits you. Stubben tristans are one of the few dressage saddles that would be comfortable for trail riding as they do have a flatter seat and judt a pencil knee roll, and because the older models are almost always brown they can be found used for a good price just because the DQs snub their noses at brown saddles :)

Orn1218
Jun. 27, 2007, 06:17 PM
It really does bite, as I have been trying to be so careful in finding just the right one. Well, obviously it wasn't meant to be. So on with the search I go! Grrrr....I just hate disappointment!

Melissa

dm
Jun. 27, 2007, 08:23 PM
Try www.crestridgesaddlery.com Debra is great to work with, knows her stuff, and often has "scratch and dents" for a very reasonable price.

Night of Songs
Jun. 28, 2007, 04:58 PM
We have dressage, western and Australian saddles for our gaited horses. The main thing is that 1. The saddle fits the horse properly and is comfortable and 2. It fits you properly and is comfortable. :yes: Using the Aussie saddles from Down Under Saddlery (http://www.downunderweb.com/intro.htm) the most now. They were spot on in recommending the right model and tree for each horse from wither tracings and photos we emailed them. Very good customer service.

Had adjustable Wintec saddles also before their backs grew too wide for them. So see what fits you and your future horse.

Good luck in your search!

spookhorse
Jun. 28, 2007, 07:31 PM
I would disagree on the Aussie for gaited horses- I don't like the pocket they force you into, too deep for me...I prefer the freedom to wiggle, LOL!


Gotta get the right size or you will feel cramped :) A 17in Aussie is a 16in english.

spookhorse
Jun. 28, 2007, 07:37 PM
I have two gaited horses and ride them with Australian Stock saddles- one Aust. Stock Saddle Co. Jackaroo and one Toowoomba Snowy River Poley.

I paid $300 w/fittings/girth/breast collar for the Jackaroo used locally 9 years ago and it's still going strong. Bought the Snowey River off eBay for under $400 w/fittings/girth/breast collar/saddle bag/shipping. Been very happy with both after switching from an english seat :yes:

katarine
Jun. 29, 2007, 10:11 AM
No, I just don't like Aussie saddles or any saddle with a pocket you "have" to sit in. Steele Saddle Co has some gaited saddles that look like you are sitting down in a hole, ick.

ReSomething
Jun. 29, 2007, 11:21 AM
Trooper saddles are nice and comfy in the seat. The one I used had a rather thick flap - that combined with a rather roly poly Rocky Mtn mare gave me calf bruises. I'd be looking for the Tristan based on the comments above, or a Wintec. I'm so sorry the lady flaked on you, but there will be another one out there, I'm sure. Good Luck!

DairyQueen2049
Jul. 2, 2007, 06:14 PM
Google Dixieland Saddles

and Gaits of Gold - however, be careful not to drink the Kool-Aid at the GOG web site!!! :eek: :yes: :no:

tbtrailrider
Jul. 2, 2007, 07:32 PM
The lady was a flake!! And I believe rather dishonest. I am not getting this fella, now. She gave me some weird story of her truck breaking and her needing more money. I hadn't even seen him yet!! Grrrrr. So I did the wise thing and just backed away from the whole thing.

Where are you located ? I can point you to some bombproof gaited horses in Kentucky...

winona
Jul. 2, 2007, 11:29 PM
Most people I know who have gaited horses go with the treeless saddles. They fit your horse as its musculature changes, fits different horses if you have several and VERY comfy. I know many are over your price range, but some are coming out in a lower price. I know a few people bought the barefoot (not sure which model) and absolutely love it. I have a Torsion standard....love it. I bought several saddles before I found this one. In my attempt to find a "cheaper" saddle I ended up spending more in the long run. Remember...many co. will let you try them out first....take advantage of it.

Good luck with the "gaited horse search". My favs....paso finos and icelandics

HDFarm
Jul. 26, 2007, 12:17 PM
Many people enjoy the feeling of a treeless saddle but the horse is not always so lucky. If you don't have perfect equitation, your balance and seatbones are always changing and giving him mixed signals. I've actually seem more sore backs from treeless saddle than those w/a tree. A tree is designed to distribute weight. Had a horse come to the house for trianing w/two quarter sized white spots on either side of his backbone from, you guessed it...the rider's seatbones. It wasn't a training issue w/ the horse, it was clearly a rider problem.

Lori
Jul. 26, 2007, 12:54 PM
I have fibro and my body is like princess and the pea for saddles and other stuff (like chairs!).
With fibro, you will need to try different saddles to see what fits and works for your body. We are "different" in that way as the pain can be quite specific.

My favorite way to ride, kid you not, is with a Best Friend bareback pad over a merino wool shaped pad. If my body is really really in pain, I found that walking like this is uber comfy and theraputic.

I have had Stubben, my ex had their gaited saddle so I am familiar with those, too. They are not the most comfy seat for pain--but again, it will be up to you what feels good.
I have a County saddle (I know it is over your budget) and out of all saddles I have tried, it is the most comfy and balanced for my body.

I tried treeless and I swear, the twist on those things made my back ache as I rode in them. I tried Ansur and owned a Marshall.

My county rides so balanced, it almost feels treeless to me (I ride bareback A LOT, so I can really swear by this feel).

Let me know what you come up with as I am always interested to hear from other riders who deal with chronic pain.

rideapaso
Jul. 26, 2007, 09:35 PM
Many people enjoy the feeling of a treeless saddle but the horse is not always so lucky. If you don't have perfect equitation, your balance and seatbones are always changing and giving him mixed signals. I've actually seem more sore backs from treeless saddle than those w/a tree. A tree is designed to distribute weight. Had a horse come to the house for trianing w/two quarter sized white spots on either side of his backbone from, you guessed it...the rider's seatbones. It wasn't a training issue w/ the horse, it was clearly a rider problem.


I ride both gaited and trotting horses in Barefoot treeless saddles. I have two of them -- a Cheyenne (trail type) and a London (dressage type). Both are extremely comfortable and they are the only saddle that my gaited horse likes. I have had some back issues with the trotting horse, but that went away when I switched to a HAF pad. I did a 25-mile training ride on Sunday and my horse had no back issues afterwards. They are a bit more expensive than $500 though.... The HAF pad alone is around $200, but well worth the price considering the protection it affords.

Good luck with your quest for a gaited horse. I absolutely adore my Paso Fino! :)

jazzrider
Jul. 31, 2007, 12:02 PM
Can anyone point the way to a site or place where I could find a used Stubben gaited pleasure saddle (or any good site for used saddles for gaited horses)? I've been googling for days trying to find one -- but have only found them new...Thanks!

katarine
Jul. 31, 2007, 01:41 PM
http://p218.ezboard.com/GAITED-HORSE-SENSE-/bgaitedhorsesense

this is a fairly busy gaited horse board, and way down at the bottom is the sales area, horses and tack, too.

jazzrider
Jul. 31, 2007, 01:56 PM
Thanks!

Tamara in TN
Aug. 1, 2007, 10:26 AM
The trainer style that I most like right now is Lee Zeilger, as it seems she promotes a balanced seat over the (dreaded) chair seat. She does suggest (at least that is what I understood) to use the same seat that dressage riders use to properly ride balanced.



Lee was a great woman...I still keep the last email she sent to me before she went on her way to the next world :sadsmile:...she was one of the few modern horse trainers I had much use for...anyway...

just fyi...pay closer attention to the bitting of the horse rather than the saddle....esp if the one you finally choose is a "walking" type gaited with an honest head nod....they will not be very excited about the traditional "snaffle" bits with a single break in the center...

the best results I have had were straight bars or snaffles wrapped in sealtex to prevent the natural "nodding" action from actually jabbing the roof of the mouth...when this happens they tighten the back and hollow and then "rack"...which is not what a "walking" horse is supposed to do...

I have often thought that a good bit of the walking horses becoming so rare is the "snaffle bit mafia" insistance on "snaffle" everything....
so anyway there's my two cents...

Lee also said over and over and over again that riding comes from the seat first....that is the key to her legacy...it's about your seat first....that is my job to her memory...to say that to anyone who asks....

Tamara in TN

jazzrider
Aug. 1, 2007, 12:07 PM
just fyi...pay closer attention to the bitting of the horse rather than the saddle....esp if the one you finally choose is a "walking" type gaited with an honest head nod....they will not be very excited about the traditional "snaffle" bits with a single break in the center...the best results I have had were straight bars or snaffles wrapped in sealtex to prevent the natural "nodding" action from actually jabbing the roof of the mouth...when this happens they tighten the back and hollow and then "rack"...which is not what a "walking" horse is supposed to do...

Interesting you say that. Not to hijack (but maybe I am?) but we picked up a TWH for trial last weekend -- and if we keep him I will also be new to gaited horses (although my hubby has a SSH, but he's very different from this TWH). He came with a snaffle and shank bit. Would this be more or less harsh than a straight bar shank bit? I would think more -- but I'm not a bit expert having ridden all my previous horses (QH, TBs) in regular snaffles.

I'm headed out this weekend with him for a lesson with someone that knows TWHs, so I'm hoping to get set off on the right path re: saddle and bit (and bless him for being patient with me this week!), but would love a little 101...

citydog
Aug. 1, 2007, 12:19 PM
Stubben's making some designed for gaited horses- the Scout and the Gaited Pleasure, I think are the names.

The Scout is not aimed at the gaited (i.e. designed with the sweet spot too far back) market, but it's a fabulous saddle. :yes:


Can anyone point the way to a site or place where I could find a used Stubben gaited pleasure saddle (or any good site for used saddles for gaited horses)? I've been googling for days trying to find one -- but have only found them new...Thanks!

Really, "gaited" saddles are largely a marketing ploy. Don't just limit yourself to "gaited" saddles. :)

katarine
Aug. 1, 2007, 12:25 PM
look at the Mylers, Jazz.

http://www.toklat.com/myler/mbits_06.html

http://www.toklat.com/myler/mbits_43LP.html

The three piece mouths shown above can't break in the middle like a normal snaffle. His head nod - depending on how much nod he has- could make a normal snaffle a real PITA for him- it's going to bonk him in the roof of his mouth with every stride. As Tamara said, he'll stiffen to prevent that, and get racky.

I like the independent sides - the bit is mobile in several directions. I have the second one shown and loff that bit. I think the traditional stiff all over shanked bit can make 'em a little racky too- same reason- uncomfortable in the face.

Now I'm waiting to see if I'm all wrong, LOL- where's T in T?

katarine
Aug. 1, 2007, 12:26 PM
really? Lonnie Kuehn states that the Scout is her design and is aimed at the gaited horse crowd, particularly the versatility exhibitor.

jazzrider
Aug. 1, 2007, 12:26 PM
Really, "gaited" saddles are largely a marketing ploy. Don't just limit yourself to "gaited" saddles. :)

I believe it. It took us two years to find the right saddle for my SO's SSH, and we ended up have a custom made Schleese made. :eek:

But if we keep this TWH, I already know that my dressage saddles won't work for him (they're all wide tree, and he's high withered). I have a Circle Y rounded skirted western that double padded will work for him (and might continue to work if we get some meat on him), at least for a while. Though I'm not a huge fan of riding western (feels too bulky for me). When I think "saddle for gaited horses" I think of a saddle that gives them room for the shoulder movement...and the easiest place to start looking is at gaited horse saddles...

jazzrider
Aug. 1, 2007, 12:33 PM
Katerine -- Thanks for those links! I love Myler bits. I'll wait until after the weekend when I get some feedback from the trainer, but I'd be up for trying the bit in the first link. The second bit looks scary to me, but as I said, I know nothing about what works for a gaited horse. He has a lot of nod, to me. And seems to go well and happier when I practically throw the reins away. Hence I got the idea that maybe the bit wasn't right for him.

Ugh. I'm sure all you gaited horse people are rolling your eyes and thinking, poor horse! ;)

katarine
Aug. 1, 2007, 12:49 PM
oh no, not at all. I'm really very new to TWHs, after a lifetime of QHs and such. I'm learning as fast as I can, though.

That second bit? my QH loves that bit, OMG he just digs it. I can drape the reins and he just power steers, it has a ton of communication to it and it doesn't irritate him in the least, or scare him at all. it just fits him like a glove. Nw the WH is a tense character, full of life and go...and he likes it, but he'll still tense and get racky just to tick me off :lol: j/k, we're getting there. he's also good in a french link but I think he will want a shanked bit in the long run (again, the ability to communicate on a draped or slack rein, that- to me- is the beauty of a shank).

He (your horse) may well tote himself well enough he doesn't need much rein/contact, that would be delightful. one thing- avoid bit clips or snap on reins- that nodding head will make a lot of racket with those in use, LOL.

pictures are required, you know. here's the WH in that bit, BTW...

http://shim1.shutterfly.com/procgserv/47b7d928b3127cce98548c24464200000027108AZN2TRm4Yt9

Tamara in TN
Aug. 1, 2007, 12:52 PM
[QUOTE=jazzrider;2597666] He came with a snaffle and shank bit. Would this be more or less harsh than a straight bar shank bit? I would think more -- but I'm not a bit expert having ridden all my previous horses (QH, TBs) in regular snaffles.

QUOTE]

think less in terms of "harsh" and more in terms of him understanding what you are asking....the biggest reining bits look just awful til you understand that more than 80% of the "understanding" the horse has about riding is in the seat first....

in the older TWH people a horse was put into a bit he could "hold in his teeth"...these were just what the catalogues now call grazing bits...they were used only to "primp a horse up"...their words for collection...the first walkers were ridden in these from the 1920's until the big lick mania hit...

low sweep back....low low ports and just a little bit of curb straps...snaffles were "colt bits" or work horse" bits....my fav is the first mylers picked with the flat shanks...very few horses of mine don't go well in that ....once they are trained you'll need a year or so on them first before you pop that one in

Tamara in TN

citydog
Aug. 1, 2007, 01:35 PM
really? Lonnie Kuehn states that the Scout is her design and is aimed at the gaited horse crowd, particularly the versatility exhibitor.

Not according to Stübben. They told me (and I ride in one and believe it) that it's a VSD tree and balanced as one. I've owned/ridden the gaited pleasure and older Island (from the German market but aimed at Icelandics) models, and have a Siegfried VSS, Tristan and Romanus dressage saddles. I've ridden the Icelandic models (http://www.stubbennorthamerica.com/stuIcelandic.html), too. The Scout is balanced like a regular VSD. I had a couple of lengthy conversations with the American Stübben reps when I was ordering my Scout, and a lengthy exchange with the German shop I ordered from about which tree was used, and how the Scout differed from my old Siegfried VSD (springier tree, more padding, more D-rings).

It's also the saddle used by the RCMP, they tell me. :)

It would make more sense that Lonnie was involved in the design of the Gaited Pleasure saddles (http://www.stubbennorthamerica.com/stuGaitedSaddles.html), maybe?


When I think "saddle for gaited horses" I think of a saddle that gives them room for the shoulder movement.

*Every* horse needs room for the shoulder movement. ;) Jessica Jahiel has a lovely article on "gaited" saddles in response to a question about fitting a TWH here (http://www.horse-sense.org/archives/20050911123400.phtml), and I think Liz Graves has a similar one floating around (she spends a lot of time on the topic at her clinics).

jazzrider
Aug. 1, 2007, 06:23 PM
Katarine -- Beautiful horse! I remember watching the video. Ugh. I've got a lot of learning and reading to do, I think. I've been lucky to have my other two horses be relatively simple in their saddle and bit needs. I'm hoping the trainer I'm taking him to on Sunday will help a bit.

I haven't taken pictures yet -- I guess I don't want to jinx it...we have vet check tomorrow. Won't know if he's staying until we get through that. He's very cute though. Maybe I'll make my SO take pictures during our lesson, if I look good. :winkgrin:

TinT -- Thanks for all the info. I may hit you up in the future!

CityDog -- Thanks for the link! Interesting that in it she says..."Gaited horses tend to have active hips and shoulders, so owners of gaited horses should look for saddles that can be set back far enough to NOT interfere with the horses' shoulders, and that aren't so long and bulky that they might then interfere with the horse's hips."
Yes, of course every horse has that concern, but my understanding is that this is particularly good advice for the gaited breeds, and well, you've got to start somewhere!

citydog
Aug. 3, 2007, 10:06 AM
Yes, of course every horse has that concern, but my understanding is that this is particularly good advice for the gaited breeds, and well, you've got to start somewhere!

Right, but many of the "gaited" saddle manufacturers just slap the name "Gaited" such-and-such on a particular model that is made on the very same tree as their non-gaited models (and then charge more for it). It's a marketing ploy. Yes, it helps narrow it down if you limit your search to saddles called gaited by the manufacturer, but so does only looking for saddles in a medium oil finish with brass hardware.

yellow-horse
Aug. 8, 2007, 10:19 PM
jazz, champion saddlery in doswell had a stubben gaited horse saddle used for sale last week, i know this because it didn't fit the twh my husband just bought, we tried some western saddles but the withers were just not happening
i wound up with a tennesean cut back extra wide trail saddle for high withered horses, see my problem, shark withers and a very wide back, anyway i got it used at a consignment shop very reasonable price
we are now also on the bit search, horse does not like snaffle bits, was previously ridden in a mylar medium port bit but she didn't use the curb part
for the op, i have to tell you we've only had this horse 10 days and we are fighting over her,this is the 1st gaited horse we've ridden,she is my husbands horse, i have to get one for myself

jazzrider
Aug. 9, 2007, 12:30 AM
YH -- Did it not fit because your horse is too wide? My guy is thin and high withered (shark withered, as you say :D).

For the moment I'm borrowing a friend's Kieffer (I couldn't take the western saddle -- but I'll keep trying to adapt!), that with a mattis pad works great for him. Once he fills out I'll have to revive my search. We're going to give the Myler Comfort Snaffle with a 5" shank a try. I have to say, we rode trail and had a lesson last weekend, and he's a ball to ride. We confirmed we're keeping him this week (we had a two week trial). It's funny, because I never liked riding my hubby's SSH, but this guy is fun!

Orn1218 (OP) -- So sorry the purchase didn't work out. Any luck in finding another horse? We need an update!

yellow-horse
Aug. 9, 2007, 11:41 AM
Jazz, not wide enough, it was a medium tree i think,actually i don't think they could tell me the tree size, it's worth checking it out for you though
my horse was going in a draft saddle with the previous owner, so she is very wide

Teffer
Aug. 12, 2007, 10:06 PM
I have owned several TWHs, and I have ridden them all in dressage saddles. First I used the Wintecs with the changeable gullet until they widened out beyond them, and now I have a Thornhill I really like. It's got way too much in the way of thigh blocks, but darn it, it was wide enough to fit her! I highly recommend a dressage saddle that fits minus all of the silly DQ bells and whistles you won't need 'cause you won't bounce (hopefully!)

As for headgear, we ride in hackamores or sidepulls on the trail (just easier if you are going to stop for lunch or to pick blueberries on the side of the trail), snaffles for arena work, and just this year, a shank bit for open shows so the judge might get a clue (doesn't work BTW - open judges are still idiots when it comes to gaited horses!). My horses do like Mylers, and I have one that likes the GOG ported bit, but we only use that on a loose rein because of the monstrous shanks. I think all of the horses who like the Mylers would also have gone well in a traditional low port shanked TWH bit on a loose rein, but I like to mess with dressage and don't want the bother of leverage usually. Mostly TWHs care if the bit is too thick and restricts their fat tongues, or is too sloppy and irks them as they nod.

BasqueMom
Aug. 13, 2007, 12:16 AM
Collegiate used to make a Marathon saddle that was super comfy but did not fit my shark
withered TB. Thought it make a great trail saddle.

I've got an good Argentine copy of a Stubbeun Tristan and rode in it for ten years. It was
my Lazy Boy saddle. When my old guy got retired, it got retired also as it didn't fit the OTTB's that came along for him to boss around.

Have a County Despri with the adjustable flaps and love it. Don't know if used you can turn one up in your price range, but love the saddle and so did my the horse. Did buy it new through a County rep and had it fitted, etc., then waited a month or so for it to arrive.
My favorite flap position is the middle one. Understand some park services use these saddles for their mounted troops.

Sorry your purchase fell through but there is probably something better waiting for you. Probably a good idea to wait until you get the horse before saddle shopping. When Fudgeman was retired, neither of his saddles came close to fitting Basque.

noel_powers-sousa
Aug. 16, 2007, 12:54 PM
I was new to the gaited horse world about 4 years ago when I (inadvertently) purchased a gaited morgan for my next horse (I was leasing her, and she kicked her previous owner, who said with many expletives attached in no uncertain terms she'd sell her unless I bought her :eek:). Sigh, I had entertained buying another thorobred, but I started out both with morgans (new breed I had never ridden before) and gaited to boot. Having been around gaited people and their horses for a few years, I have learned several valuable lessons about gaited horse tack. In general, there is really no such thing as gaited horse bits, gaited horse saddles, etc. But, there are a few general "rules" if you will about fitting saddles to gaited horses, and one important thing is to leave their shoulders free to move under the saddle, as a lot of their gait comes from the shoulders (as, of course, from other body parts). The second thing, is really have a knowlegable saddle fitter help you get or fit a saddle to your horse is you are buying anything with a tree.

I'm an english rider, and rode my horse in endurance the first year I was leasing her, and rode in an Australian saddle. I didn't enjoy it very much, I don't like the leg panels that a lot of aussie saddles have, they curtail my posting ability.

So, I bought an all purpose saddle, and decided on a wintec because 1) its very light, 2) I don't have to clean it (big plus!!). I bought the Wintec 2000 AP because it had a sueded seat, and I had found that the wintec "leather-like" material on other saddles was too slippery for me. I bought a flocked model to have the saddle specifically flocked for my horse, I didn't want the CAIR panels. Unfortunately for me, my horse has a long back, and wide shoulders, is built exactly like a height challenged warmblood (she's only 15 hands, downright short compared to the thorobreds I rode my entire life:lol:) so I lucked out in my choice of saddles, the Wintec 2000 AP has a flat tree, so it fit her back well.

Buying a saddle is a frustrating process. My friend Dianne has a gaited morgan that is built like a really old style morgan, I'm talking MAJOR chunk-a-munk, he's got a short back and is WIDE!!! She's gone through about 7 saddles to date trying to find one she likes, and has had a hard time fitting his wide shoulders.

Best of luck trying to find a saddle. I don't regret my choice, my horse has no saddle related chiropractic issues ever since I got that saddle, and I've ridden thousands of miles in it at this point. :)

noel_powers-sousa
Aug. 16, 2007, 12:59 PM
I have owned several TWHs, and I have ridden them all in dressage saddles. First I used the Wintecs with the changeable gullet until they widened out beyond them, and now I have a Thornhill I really like. It's got way too much in the way of thigh blocks, but darn it, it was wide enough to fit her! I highly recommend a dressage saddle that fits minus all of the silly DQ bells and whistles you won't need 'cause you won't bounce (hopefully!)

As for headgear, we ride in hackamores or sidepulls on the trail (just easier if you are going to stop for lunch or to pick blueberries on the side of the trail), snaffles for arena work, and just this year, a shank bit for open shows so the judge might get a clue (doesn't work BTW - open judges are still idiots when it comes to gaited horses!). My horses do like Mylers, and I have one that likes the GOG ported bit, but we only use that on a loose rein because of the monstrous shanks. I think all of the horses who like the Mylers would also have gone well in a traditional low port shanked TWH bit on a loose rein, but I like to mess with dressage and don't want the bother of leverage usually. Mostly TWHs care if the bit is too thick and restricts their fat tongues, or is too sloppy and irks them as they nod.
I agree with riding in sidepulls and hackamores. I've turned about 6 other people on to riding in s-hackamores. I've never ridden a horse who doesn't work well in it. Plus they can eat in it. Unfortunately, my horse is too spirited to ride in a sidepull in competitive arenas (like endurance) but does wonderful in her s-hackamore. I can get her to almost piaffe in her s-hackamore and I also jump her in it when doing cross-country/eventing where they don't care if I wear a bit or not. In the arena when doing dressage or shows that i have to wear a bit, I use a copper roller d-bit snaffle (the rollers are on the bars of the bit, not the middle).

gabz
Aug. 16, 2007, 03:11 PM
For those seeking "gaited" saddles...
The tree needs to actually be narrower to rest on the muscles along each side of the spine, but FLARED properly at the front, to COMPLETELY free up the shoulders in order to get the "glide" of a gaited horse.

Additionally, since the hind legs move farther forward - since a gaited horse is a lateral mover opposed to TB, WB, Stock, Arab diagonal movers - so the length of the saddle and skirt must be short enough and/or rounded to permit the hip to move forward while the shoulder is moving forward on the same side.

There are some gaited endurance and western saddles that I have seen advertised, that not only have the shoulder flare - but also have a higher pommel / gullet for the "shark-finned" withers. I actually have a QH that is more suited to this type and shape.

i surely hope that the OP has found a "gliding" horse and appropriate tack. Fabtron makes a combination leather/ cordura gaited saddle that I've seen fitted to some narrow TWHs. Too bad that Whitman was bought out by Miller - they made some EXCELLENT cut back gaited saddles... most notably for the Icelandics. A fox lane type/cut back saddle with a gel cushion placed on top, might be a good alternative too.

Guilherme
Sep. 9, 2007, 01:40 AM
"Gaited horse saddles" are a pure marketing ploy. Don't get "fished" by the sellers of "snake oil."

Lee Z., if she were still with us, would agree. :)

I, too, ride a Stubben Scout. It's a very comfortable and practical general purpose saddle. It is not cheap and they are difficult to find used. The original design was based upon a saddle Stubben made for the Belgian Army after WWII. It is used by other militaries and many police organizations (both here and abroad).

My wife rides a Stubben VSD-DL and she is happy with it (although she has recently started talking about a Giacomini saddle; sadly those are REAL money even though well made and comfortable).

Like Tamara says watch out for the bit with a horse with lots of head nod. I don't have any aggressive "nodders" right now (nor any TWHs for that matter ;) ). I like the Myler Bits; I'm presently using a Pelham with a low port mouthpiece.

With any saddle you've also got to consider the padding. The Scout is well padded. I've found a Civil War era blanket I bought from the Blockade Runner in Wartrace, TN (folded cavalry style so that you get six layers of blanket) works very well. Your local Pendelton Wool Outlet is also a good source for excellent quality blankets for about $50.

Whitman also makes a police saddle that has many users in the U.S. I've never sat one but a couple of folks I know who use them say they are a good product.

Two other types of saddle that can work very well are the McClellan (generally called a Mac) and the British Universal Pattern (generally referred to as the UP). Don't try using a historical Mac or UP as they were optomized for the 19th or early 20th Century horse (and don't generally fit the 21st Century "sofa bred" type of conformation. :lol: )

They are very light weight and many find them very comfortable. Personally, I've never liked the Mac but maybe it's just me. Lots of used ones are around, but be VERY CAREFUL to ensure you get a quality reproduction from someone like Doug Kidd (Border States Leather) or Tom Smith (Tom's Cavalry Equipment). I've seen he work of these guys and it's excellent. They are not cheap, but a good saddle won't be. A cavarly blanket under these saddles generally all you need for padding.

IIRC the Trooper saddles that are presently being marketed are direct desendants of the the UP.

Steele makes a very good quality saddle. They are mostly of the Plantation or Western design, but I think they also make a Buena Vista style that some gaited folks like.

Personally, I don't like Aussies (never found one that fit me) and consider the "treeless" saddle to be an instrument designed to sore a horse's back. As with all things, YMMV.

Good luck in your search! :)

G.

Arrow
Sep. 12, 2007, 12:51 AM
I have yet to find a saddle that doesn't bridge on my SSH--he is so narrow behind his shoulders and under this withers that it's not funny. I now ride him in a Littlejoe Bareback Saddle (a bareback pad, really).

Guilherme
Sep. 12, 2007, 01:08 AM
Something to watch for is the difference between saddle "bridging" and the horse traveling hollow. Both can leave the same "sweat pattern" on the back.

If it's truly bridging then a correct fit is possible. If you 've never had a correct fit then it's likely traveling hollow. That, over the long term, has a potential for real problems.

G.

Orn1218
Sep. 16, 2007, 12:42 PM
Well, I looked at a couple of gaited horses and didn't found one that I felt worked for me. But while looking I fell in love with the cutest arab mare and wound up getting her! She is the horse I was waiting for my whole life. I just love this girl. Anyways, I still have saddle issues, just of a new variety, lol. I got a Thornhill pathfinder endurance saddle. it is so cushy. I think it is a little long on her though, and since she is one of those arabs with little withers, it seems a bit perched on her. It's good for riding around the farm, but I will probably get a new saddle for Christmas to use for longer distances.

jazzrider
Sep. 17, 2007, 12:29 PM
Congrats Orn1218! :yes: So glad you found a horse you feel you click with! Sorry though, that you're off on the saddle hunt. I so know how it is (being a person who did switch to gaited breed recently!). Best wishes!!!