I use a Tucker Equitation Endurance, which has western type tree, no horn but a nice high pommel that would make you feel secure plus very comfy seat. Uses English-style girth and has free-hanging English leathers so you can avoid the chair-seat, plus the leathers can be placed above or under the flap (no pinching!). Very nice quality leather and weighs about 22 lbs. I use mine for competitive trail and LD endurance. FYI, Tucker also makes an endurance model with fixed western-type fenders and cinch, so be sure you're looking at the "Equitation" model. I'd also look for the "classic" style rather than the new "Gen II" style which has more bulk under the leg, I think. They're not cheap but they do hold their value well for re-sale and people jump on used ones when they can find them.
Also consider the Tucker River Plantation. http://www.horsesaddleshop.com/plantation-saddle.html
Most comfortable saddle I've ever ridden in. I thought I would like the Equitation Endurance better, but I sat in both side by side and much preferred the River Plantation. They are similar, but the River Plantation has a higher cantle and narrower twist.
I've been trail riding in the Kimberly Synthetic for several months now and I'm happy with it. It doesn't put me in a chair seat and the seat is english style, not western. I get sore hips from riding in western style seats. But I last a max. of two hours in that saddle, then my rear-end gets very sore. I'm saving up to buy either the Kimberley Economy Outback or Kimberley Stock saddle. I tried the Longreach Endurance and was unhappy, it pushed me to the back of the saddle.
Originally Posted by Keg-A-Bacchus
LOL Oldpony! Well the only reason I am really interested in maintaining my dressage seat is so that I can 1) School lightly in it and be using the same cues/weight as I would in my regular dressage and 2) Not have to fight back and forth for position every time I switch saddles. I'm currently looking at the Kimberly Synthetic Stock and the Kimberly Synthetic Endurance. Anyone have any opinions on these?? I ride in a 17.5" dressage...should I go smaller with a 17" or larger with an 18"? Pony has a shorter back FWIW. Thanks! So frustrating not being able to just go to a store and sit in the them!
This interests me, too, as an English rider all my life. I could never get along with Western saddles until I rode in a good one - a Vic Bennett custom. My knees always got locked and I sat just plain wrong. The Vic Bennett was a whole new thing. It is a bit of an academic question since I probably could not lift it up onto my tall horse.
I also cannot ride in an Australian saddle - I cannot post the trot without getting hit in the front of the crotch. Perhaps a very large Aussie... I suggest testing it out at the trot before making a decision.
BTW - how does one gallop in a Western saddle (when you have always used the forward seat)?
I hate a western saddle and feel very insecure in them. I am not sure why but the horn drives me nuts too. I hit my wrists on it constantly. I have a OTTB who although well behaved has a big spook on the trails that can and does unseat me in my Crosby. I decided it was time to get something that would offer a little more security. I got the Down Under Kimberley Australian Synthetic Endurance saddle (No Horn!!). I also looked at EquiRoyal Pro Am (looks like an English saddle with a horn). I didn't want to spend a ton as it is only something I do on occasion and I spend so much on my show saddles. I just purchased it (ebay) so now I am anxiously waiting to try it out. I read a ton of reviews and couldn't find a bad one. I hope I'm not the first!!
I adore wade tree saddles! I'm trying to find a dressage saddle that fits me like my wade. The stirrups hang quite straight from most wades and bucking rolls provide a lot of security but are more forgiving than a swell should you come into contact with them. A lot of wades also have pre-turned stirrups which are much easier on your knees. Most wades are not cheap, but lose very little value for resale. When I was shopping for one I found a lot of wades that were 30+ years old and selling for the same pricd as a compareable new saddle. I also like how much hardet it is to get caught up on a wade hirn versus a normal horn. I could talk all day about why I love wades!