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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2008
    Location
    Little Rock and Boxley, Arkansas
    Posts
    301

    Default Western saddle for dressage horse

    I'd like to use a western saddle for enhanced security while my young horse and I start out.

    I have fallen off twice and this can't continue. I otherwise love my Bates dressage saddle but I need something else for now.

    Is there such a thing as a close contact western saddle?

    Ideas?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2008
    Posts
    4,266

    Default

    You might like an Australian saddle - they have the security of a western saddle but without the horn and more of an English look. Several friends of mine migrated to Australian saddles when they got older or got younger horses. Depending on where you live they can be easier or harder to find.

    With a western one I've followed the advice given to me to avoid barrel racing saddles, as they are designed to put your legs forward and tilt your butt back for high speed runs. Saddles designed for trail riding or ranch work usually put you in a seat not unlike a dressage seat.

    That said, now that I have a youngster I seem to be rediscovering the long lost art of falling off myself, and that's WITH a western saddle!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    857

    Default

    I find I have a good secure seat and close contact in my borrowed wintec western saddle. It is one of their original "all 'rounders" with a semi-qh bar and it fits my high withered saddlebred adequately with the addition of a 3/8" wool felt pad on top of the regular western pad. The stirrup fenders have quite a bit of "swing" and don't hold your leg in one position as some western saddles do. The seat is secure and open enough for me to sit up on my seat bones and really be straight and correct. My horse actually feels my seat aids to collect his canter better in this saddle than any other.

    Best of all they are relatively cheap, especially if you look for used.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 18, 2007
    Posts
    323

    Default

    Abetas are similar to the Wintecs and sometimes cheaper. If you're being thrown forward too far the extra pommel of the western saddle really helps, even if you go "hornless". Post a sign at a tack store and someone may lend you a saddle - also ask your farrier.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 25, 2009
    Posts
    150

    Default

    BUMP

    I'm on the same search. Looking for a 16" western to ride out my OTTBs antics and then use my dressage for shows



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 26, 2009
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    740

    Default

    The McCall Lady Wade and Lady Pendeleton are close contact western saddles. Not cheap: Brand new mine was $2500 about seven years ago. There are other makers/models that have close contact because there is a cut out skirt under the stirrup. I have a Crates now that has this. Still doesn't give me the same contact as my dressage saddle, but great for this ol' gal when riding thru a "problem"...
    Good luck in your search.
    "And I will be an embarrassment to all
    Who have not found the peace in being free
    to have a horse as a best friend."



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 6, 2005
    Posts
    1,139

    Default

    I bought a used Billy Cook cutting saddle - puts me in the same position as my old Stubben Romanus. Close to my old Bates Haute Ecole. I also use another western saddle - it is an o-l-d Simco "cutter trainer". Doesn't feel so much like my dressage saddles, but doesn't put me out of position, either, and has a 'pillow seat' that helps you stay on top when the horse underneath you is gyrating.
    Hidden Echo Farm, Carlisle, PA -- home of JC palomino sire Canadian Kid (1990 - 2013) & AQHA sire Lark's Favorite, son of Rugged Lark.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2008
    Location
    Little Rock and Boxley, Arkansas
    Posts
    301

    Default

    Thanks for the responses!

    I bought an inexpensive Australian saddle that had great reviews but felt like I was perching on top of my horse. That and the complete cheesiness of the construction just put me off.

    I found this Wintec western saddle that doesn't look too bad:

    http://www.ozarkranchsupplies.com/st...096823555.html

    Price is certainly low.

    How does one figure out fitting?



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2005
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    773

    Default

    aussie saddles are like any saddle. A cheap one is likely going to be cheap and no good for horse or rider.

    I don't feel more secure in a western saddle than a dressage saddle, but I do feel more secure by far in a good Australian saddle. So if you can't find a western one that suits don't give up on aussie saddles, some are wooonnnderful



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 1, 2008
    Posts
    43

    Default

    Funny ... I was just looking for an additional western saddle. I have only one and would like another.

    If you want the feel of a dressage saddle in a western saddle, check out a barrel racing saddle. It has a deeper seat, higher cantle and narrower twist than a traditional western saddle. I like the Big Horn brand for durablility, cost and price. It is not as cheesy as the typical synthetic saddles and has leather seat, pommel and horn.

    JMHO



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2008
    Location
    Little Rock and Boxley, Arkansas
    Posts
    301

    Default

    So one recommendation against barrel saddles and one for. Yikes.


    Aven- I think I agree with you - re the quality. I saw pictures of some Toowoombas and Syd Hills that looked great.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2006
    Posts
    1,295

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Antaeus View Post
    The McCall Lady Wade and Lady Pendeleton are close contact western saddles. Not cheap: Brand new mine was $2500 about seven years ago. There are other makers/models that have close contact because there is a cut out skirt under the stirrup. I have a Crates now that has this. Still doesn't give me the same contact as my dressage saddle, but great for this ol' gal when riding thru a "problem"...
    Good luck in your search.
    Ditto on the McCall Lady Wade. Dressage like seat. Close Contact. Quality saddle but not cheap. I paid $2000 for mine used but I'll never ever sell it.




  13. #13
    Join Date
    May. 1, 2008
    Posts
    43

    Default

    So one recommendation against barrel saddles and one for. Yikes.
    Would you expect less? This is a dressage board, after all.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun. 29, 2008
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    2,205

    Default

    I love my Champion Turf, but if money were no object I would have a Blue Ribbon work saddle- they are custom but really hold you in the correct position.
    Proudly Owned By Sierra, 2003 APHA Mare
    In Loving Memory of Tally, April 15, 1983 - June 2, 2010



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    857

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zwarte View Post
    How does one figure out fitting?
    Western Saddles are most commonly found in semi-QH (read standard or medium) bars and full QH (read wide) bars. It has to do with the angle of the bars, not the gullet width as some people measure. That is, you can have a semi-QH tree and a full QH tree with the same gullet width.

    Most TB types would need a semi-QH tree. I don't have WBs but I would think it would depend on their build. If your horse takes a wide tree dressage saddle try a full QH bar. Like English saddles, the western saddle should sit fairly level. If it's too wide the pommel will sit down on your horse's withers; if it's too narrow the bars will press into the muscles behind your horse's shoulders. An almost right but slightly wide fit can be adjusted with pads more easily than an English saddle. As I stated above, my horse has shark fin withers and almost no western saddle fits with the proper wither clearance by itself. I have to use a special pad to fill in the hollows behind his withers and then add a thin wool felt pad on top of that to gain enough wither clearance. Like an English saddle, you should have 2-3 fingers clearance under the pommel, but as long as it doesn't touch your horse's withers when you are in it and he is working you're fine--the western trees spread out your weight differently than English trees.

    For you, a 15 inch western seat is the equivalent of a 17 inch English saddle. That said, you really should sit in a bunch to see what you like in a Western Saddle. My wintec all-rounder is a 15 inch seat and it fits me well; I feel secure but not held in. However, in a deeper barrel or equitation seat western saddle I prefer a 15.5 inch seat.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by cmdrcltr; Jul. 9, 2010 at 06:41 AM. Reason: typo; clarification



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2001
    Location
    Cullowhere?, NC
    Posts
    8,578

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MidlifeCrisis View Post
    Ditto on the McCall Lady Wade. Dressage like seat. Close Contact. Quality saddle but not cheap. I paid $2000 for mine used but I'll never ever sell it.
    Ditto this again. Really well balanced and excellent feel.

    Actually, a Wade tree saddle doesn't have to be a McCall. In fact, most of the hand, custom makers are better, but also much more spendy. McCall is perhaps the best of the less expensive ones, and is very practical.

    Colorado Saddlery seems to make a decent saddle, including Wades, but also other real using models. Working saddles will have better balance than many of the pleasure type saddles.
    "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

    Spay and neuter. Please.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2007
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    223

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zwarte View Post
    I'd like to use a western saddle for enhanced security while my young horse and I start out.

    I have fallen off twice and this can't continue. I otherwise love my Bates dressage saddle but I need something else for now.

    Is there such a thing as a close contact western saddle?

    Ideas?
    YES!!! I am just getting back into western and starting reining and I've tried a few saddles. Donn Leson has been making saddles since 1966, his wife is a dressage trainer and after talking with him about seat, weight and leg placement I'm thoroughly convinced he's makes the closest contact western saddle out there. Plus, the two top reiners I've talked with have recommended him AND a big time western distributor I know from Holland spoke VERY highly of him as well. His custom saddles are upwards of $17,000 but he has a Reinmaker which I rode in twice now (LOVE IT!) for $3995.

    I started out western as a kid riding pleasure classes, barrels, then on to team penning, then to dressage competing through Grand Prix and have ridden in lots of different types of western and dressage saddles and this is by far the closest thing to a well fitting dressage saddle close contact feel I've received. It's still just my opinion of course but I think I've been in enough to have a pretty subject review.

    No I don't sell them altho this post might sound like a sales pitch. His website is http://www.lesonsaddles.com/reinmaker.php and he's just a lovely gentleman to speak with.

    Best of luck to you!
    angelea | AnGeLeA media | angelea.com

    Founder, HorseGirlTVĀ®. Writer. Editor. Dressage USDF Gold Medalist. Where bits & bytes converge.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2007
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    223

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zwarte View Post
    So one recommendation against barrel saddles and one for. Yikes.


    Aven- I think I agree with you - re the quality. I saw pictures of some Toowoombas and Syd Hills that looked great.
    Barrel saddle could tend to lock you in or put you in a chair seat. If you're looking to find close contact that won't interfere with your dressage seat I'd say stick with a quality reining saddle like the Leson. Oh and they also have this "Security Blanket" that keeps your saddle from slipping (common in the spins), forms to your horse, breaths and just needs hosing off. I just got mine this week and am looking forward to trying it out. I have a feeling it's a similar technology but with a different approach to the ThinLine (which I love my Thinline Half Pad). It's also on the website link I sent you in my previous post.

    Good luck!

    Now I'm off to take my dressage mare jumping then pack for the reining futurity tomorrow! Haha!
    angelea | AnGeLeA media | angelea.com

    Founder, HorseGirlTVĀ®. Writer. Editor. Dressage USDF Gold Medalist. Where bits & bytes converge.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2006
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO
    Posts
    793

    Default

    I had a McCall Wade, that fit the QH just fine and I loved it, but it didn't fit my Arab at all. It was close to $2, 400 k, no tooling.Then my friend who is Jack Brainard's business manager had me try this : http://www.jackbrainard.com/SaddleInfo.html
    I sold the McCall and bought one of these. I actually have 2 as Jack was kind enough to sell me the prototype after I used it at his place. Theses saddles fit my Trakehner, my Arab and 2 very different QH's with pad tweeking. You can customize them and they are between $1500 and
    $2,000 depending on fanciness and additions like back cinch and breast collar. They are a reining type design. Too , the fenders are adjustable so you can put your leg in the classical place ! For the money, I don't think you can find a better quality saddle. I haven't found a horse this saddle didn't fit. Love , love my Jack saddle !
    Last edited by AZ Native; Jul. 10, 2010 at 10:11 AM. Reason: spelling.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct. 16, 2000
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    2,538

    Default

    I had a nice little western Wintec that I used for breaking the youngsters. Worked great and the balance allowed me to ride in a dressage seat. Plus I can't lift "real" western saddles on to WBs & TBs...

    Definitely liked having more saddle when someone decided to have "brat attack"...lol.

    Good luck.
    Seb
    \"The Truth is contagious, and I haven't washed my hands in days...!\"-- Stephen Colbert
    www.janearmour.com



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