View Full Version : Aussie saddle for Trail Riding. Need advice
Mar. 7, 2011, 10:49 AM
I would like to do more trail riding this season. I have MS and am looking for a saddle that is not only comfortable for long rides but also keeps me securely in the saddle.
I was looking at the Aussie Saddles as an option. Have ridden in them before but really don't like the over-girth system much.
Is there another way to girth these saddles without the over girth system.
Mar. 7, 2011, 11:33 AM
I haven't looked into Aussie saddles in a while, though I think the Australian Stock Saddle Company offers different rigging options. The prices aren't bad, either.
A couple of years ago I purchased a saddle on eBay for $250 (including S&H) from a private seller. I guess the saddle would technically be called a "Western endurance." Round skirt, no horn, nice seat, very comfortable, with those broad "endurance style" stirrups. It's not exactly an Aussie, but has a similar deep seat with plenty of places to attach "stuff" if you need to.
Tucker also makes some excellent saddles - I own one of their Cheyenne trail saddles. My one regret is that I bought a western-style (with horn), and I feel like the horn gets in the way more than anything.
Mar. 7, 2011, 12:02 PM
There are several 'hybrid' aussies on the market now with western girthing systems, or cashel makes (or used to) a converter so you could use either western or english style girths with them.
But really, the overgirth system works fine.
Another option would be a wade-style western saddle with bucking rolls. Those lock you in pretty good, and I much prefer my wade over my aussie as it lets me keep my feet under me where they belong.
I've never sat in an aussie that didn't encourage a chair seat, but granted, I've never sat in any of the really nice ones made in Australia, just indian imports and copies.
Mar. 7, 2011, 01:37 PM
Thank you for the advice so far.
My horse has been ridden in a dressage saddle up to now. Would a synthetic saddle be better to transition her with due to the weight differences?
She is a slender, petite framed 15hh mare.
Mar. 8, 2011, 10:04 AM
ya know, currently my fave trail saddle is a Wintec dressage, with trail stirrups and a fleece seat saver added. I have to get creative to have enough places to hang things like water bottles but so far D-ring savers and the breastcollar Dees are working just fine, and for long trips I'll use a cantle pack and/or a saddle pad with pockets to tote lunch and have a place to tie a slicker.
The saddle i use on the mare is a Wintec AP with abundant dees on the cantle, to which i have added saddle strings. Its not as comfy as the dressage, but the mare is a comfier ride, so its all good.
Converters can be cheaply obtained from horse.com, but when i rode Aussies I really liked the overgirth system. You might want to reseach a tackaberry rig, supposedly makes all the doing up easier.
Mar. 8, 2011, 11:34 AM
On the Aussies I've seen the "overgirth" was a surcingle. This is a safety device designed to protect against failure of a girth or girth billet. They are also used on many models of the McClellan cavalry saddle.
Personally I've not found Aussies all that comfortable for me. Many others swear by them even as I sweat at them!!! :lol:
I have a friend who really likes them but has nothing but harsh words for most of what's on the market in the U.S. He considers most of them poorly designed, poorly constructed, and not worth the time to even try out.
Based upon his opinion (which he has developed over 20+ years of experience with U.S. and Aussie-made Aussie saddles) I'd proceed slowly. See if you can find a seller who will send you a "trial" unit to see how you like the style. If that works for you then talk about the specifics of what you need.
Good luck in your search.
Mar. 9, 2011, 02:45 PM
I've been wanting to get a Clinton Anderson aussie saddle. I've never ridden in one, but I have sat in one and it was very comfortable.
He sells them on his website OR you can watch ebay for one.
Mar. 9, 2011, 04:20 PM
Many years ago I thought I wanted an Aussie saddle. I was a "western" rider but I liked the Aussie looks and design. Upon trying one I found it very uncomfortable for me. When my gelding's discomfort with my western barrel saddle forced me to look for another saddle I started looking at treeless and demoed and purchased a Sensation Hybrid. I've never looked back. It has the dressage length flaps with knee rolls, it has a western swell and cantle for added security and the entire saddle is soft and squishy yet suprisingly secure and stable and very comfortable for me and my horse. Love my saddle.
I demoed and purchased from Melissa at: http://www.freedomtreeless.com/
Mar. 10, 2011, 11:08 PM
I had owned a hard to fit horse and after going through several Billy Cook saddles (the last one tore up his back - it was Brand NEW and it was a POS) I finally bought a Down Under Wizzard Poley. OMG was it ever comfortable. I can ride for hours and my backside is just fine. I wanted a hornless/synthetic so I could ride my horse out into deep water - so I got an inexpensive Down Under Stock Saddle. It is just as comfortable as the Wizzard Poley.
I no longer own that horse and the Aussie's don't really fit my new horse :no: I am sorry to say so I have ordered a new Alleghany Trail Saddle.
I will have to ride the Wizzard Poley another week or so until my new one arrives and I keep saying "I hope my new saddle is as comfortable as this one!!!"
The over girth NEVER bothers me. The leather on my Wizzard Poley is super soft. I bought the woolie thingies for the stirrups so it doesn't pinch either. The saddle is just wonderful.
Mar. 13, 2011, 09:47 AM
I used Aussie saddles for several years but will never go back to them. I had bought a couple of Down Under saddles (and they weren't cheap!) but was disappointed with how those saddles are made. Unfortunately, they are made in India and quality control is poor. One saddle was crooked, and they told me it could be readjusted. I sent it back, and it was just as crooked when it came back. They wouldn't take it back, so I took it apart to see why it was crooked. Ends up that the tree was stapled (yes, stapled!) together and the tree was horribly off balance.
So, I stepped up to a Syd Hill saddle. Very well made, but just didn't fit my horse. Also, they tell you that they're comfortable, and even with the extra padded seat, I found it to be hard as a rock.
Then I found Tucker--the Laz-Y-Boy of saddles. Extremely comfortable and well made. The River Plantation provides a very deep seat that has enabled me to stay seated when I would have otherwise been ousted. I've had Tucker saddles for about 4 years now and absolutely love them (I have one for each of my horse). Consider the center-fire rigging (Y-style rigging).
When fitting a Tucker saddle, make sure you get the correct width based on degree angle. If you can fit a piece of 90 degree angle iron over your horse's withers, a regular width is fine. Anything more than that is a wide or extra wide. Unfortunately, they only tell you the width in inches, not angle degrees. I found this method to be precise when communicating with the folks at Tucker about which width to purchase.
After having had a Tucker, I realized how much the overgirth did indeed bother me on the Aussie saddle. I continue to rave about my Tucker saddles even after four years.
One of the things to look for on a saddle is how many used ones you see for sale on eBay and what they sell for. You rarely see a used Tucker saddle, and when you do, they fetch a good price. That says a lot.
Mar. 20, 2011, 03:53 PM
I have a Muster Master from The AUSTRALIAN STOCK SADDLE Co. Sorry, can't post a link since my browser is messed up for the moment. It has no over-girth and is very comfortable. My horse is gaited so I'm sitting in the saddle the whole time and at 47 years old I can ride for five hours and not have a sore butt, knees or ankles, which are problems I've always had in other saddles. (I do get off and walk a bit for long rides). I've never heard any complaints about quality.
The only issue is Colin. He has his own way of doing things, some people have problems with him, some don't. I didn't want fenders, but he insisted so when I got the saddle home I put regular stirrup leathers on. I still recommend his saddles.
Mar. 20, 2011, 06:51 PM
Steele Saddlery has some great saddles tough to come out of...they also do their version of an aussie. Wonderfully comfortable saddles, and hey have a loaner program where you can try their saddles out before you buy.