I am thinking of getting a second saddle to use for trail riding. I normally ride Saddle Seat and Western, but rode Hunt Seat as a youth, so I'm open to any type of saddle.
I'm looking for something comfortable, durable, grippy, easy to clean, that won't be damaged by water or the occassional branch scraping it. I've looked at the Wintec saddles but have never ridden in one, and don't know if there are other brands to check out that are as good/better. I would not be opposed to leather but I don't want to be worrying about the saddle while I'm riding, so I think I'd prefer synthetic.
My horse is a 16.2 hand Saddlebred, but he has a fairly normal wither and back (no shark fins or slab sides LOL).
Get a used one so you won't worry about the leather. Either cut back or hunt. Personally, I don't enjoy riding in a western saddle anymore. My Mom has a Aussie, and that thing is a little weird feeling. OK, a lot weird feeling.
I tried alot of all purpose saddles when I was looking for my huntseat saddle. I ended up with a Stuebben and I love it. I know alot of Saddlebred people like the Wintec Isabel dressage saddle, but I never tried one of those.
I have tried soooooo many different saddles over the years. My hubby even bought me a really expensive Billy Cook Western Saddle, which was soooo uncomfortable and very heavy, it really took a toll on my back but held me in my seat well, but it also scratched up pretty easy. (hey, it looked beautiful though, nice for show)
I now own 2 Fabtron saddles that are sooooo comfy, fit my horses well, wear well through all weather, and are not real pricey.
any thoughts on the abetta endurance saddles??? I ride in a half dozen western sadddles of various brands but my butt doesn't thank me in any of them!!!!!!!! I keep eyeing up the abettas....or what about a gel saddle seat? anybody know where to find those???
I am of the treeless variety. I have an Isabelle for the high withered horse and just love that and it fits him well but the others I use the treeless dressage and find it comfortable for me and excellent for the horses.
If you are interested in western. I ride my ASB's in this saddle, http://www.nationalbridle.com/product-p/1-6450.htm
I actually bought it as a Big Horn.
My Fiance has the cordura version of it. We love both of them. They fit my ASB's and TWH great. It has plenty of room for withers.
Just a thought!
I have a Cordura Big Horn Western saddle that I bought 20 years ago almost new for $50, it still looks great, and you can take a hose to it to clean the sweat off. I've started young horses and stallions in it, can ride dressage in it, and I've never hit the ground while riding in this saddle. I've paired it with a Heather Moffett seat-saver (memory foam suede pad) and it is lovely! Rode 7 hours in it yesterday up and down mountains, and I'm not sore today, which says a lot with my bad hip, back and neck! You can pick them up used for $100-150...I save my Schleese's for ring riding so they don't get wrecked!
Last edited by artisticgold; Sep. 7, 2009 at 01:44 PM.
Reason: spell check
Maybe consider a Wintec Adjustable tree saddle? It's nice if you get caught out in the rain to know your saddle is practically indestructable.
I have an Abetta endurance saddle that turns out not to be wide enough for any of my TB's (wide backs and high withers are a tough combination for saddle fit). A wide tree might work, and the saddle feels very secure. If it doesn't fit the horse though, it doesn't matter how much you like the saddle.
I also have an Abetta wide tree western (I cut the horn off), but I'm not impressed with it's construction. It does fit my current wide-backed TB, but you can't hang gear off of it, becuase the leather pieces rip. The endurance saddle is sturdier in that respect.
I now ride in a Bob Marshall Sport Saddle (treeless) and love it. It fits my TB who has normal high-withers, as well as a variety of other horses I've used it on, ranging from a 17hh Friesian to a 13hh Icelandic with a very wide back. It takes some getting used to, but it is a great saddle.
Some of it depends on what kind of trail riding you're planning on doing. If you just want to hit the trail for a few hours occasionally, you could probably do well with something like a Wintec. If you're planning on week-long riding trips where you will be riding for several hours every day, you might want a saddle made more specifically for trail or endurance. And, of course, you want something that will be comfortable for both you and your horse.
I have a Tucker Cheyenne (western) saddle that I bought new back in 2002.
It's very comfortable, though over the years I've decided that I really don't care for riding in a western saddle. Like you, I grew up riding in an English saddle and (to me) the horn just gets in the way and, overall, it's just kind of bulky.
Tucker does make a wide selection of styles, and I really like the looks of their equitation endurance model. They're a little pricey, but (IMO) they're one of the better quality brands.
That Cheyenne saddle I have is also a little too wide for my own horse, though I still use it when riding my boyfriend's TWH. We just got back from a long weekend camping trip with the horses at Shawnee State Forest (Ohio); lots of gaiting, lots of hills, but it was comfortable for me and the horse. Two thumbs up for the gel-cush seat.
A friend of mine has a Wintec saddle (English) with the changeable gullet system, and she's very happy with it as a trail saddle. She was also on this past weekend's camping/riding trip. There are plenty of rings for attaching a cantle bag or water bottle holder, breastcollar, or other items. It's easy to clean as well, which is a big bonus because the trails in our local park can be very muddy. I think Wintec actually makes an English-style trail/endurance saddle that is very lightweight.
Many online/catalog tack stores have demo programs on their saddles, so you could always try a demo saddle and see how it works for you and your horse.
Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.