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Help me pick out a saddle?

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  • Help me pick out a saddle?

    My young horse Bert has successfully experienced two trail rides now and I'm so excited I can't stand it

    The last one he walked back on a loose rein and was a happy camper with two horses well in front of him and two in back. I'm so proud!

    I pretty much ride dressage and in the past when I trail rode I did it bare back or in my dressage saddle. Well, my dressage saddle is getting older and I want to save it for training and competition. And I don't even dare riding Bert bareback, yet, ever.

    So, I'd like a western saddle. However, I know *nothing* about them! Bert's an Arabian, but a "stockier" Arab. I don't want to spend an arm and a leg and I can't lug around anything heavy. Here's a picture of Bert at Christmas time- he's filled out more and isn't quite as bum high now, but maybe it will help.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    My Dad's Site: http://www.horsecrazy.net

  • #2
    Cute pic!!

    Are YOU comfortable riding in a Western saddle?
    The reason I ask is because I grew up riding English, and it feels much more comfortable and more in tune with my horse in an English saddle. I have over 500 competitive miles in my Pessoa, and the one ride I did with a western saddle (which was a good fit for my horse), my horse ended up with a sore back, mainly due to me not being as comfortable in it...
    "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


    • Original Poster

      Thanks! He puts up with a lot.

      OOOh, good thought! I can't "feel" my horse as much in a western saddle as opposed to my dressage saddle. Nevertheless, I have ridden in western saddles when showing that were very comfortable and nice. I have no idea what type they were, but I also know that they were not the kind of saddles to bring out on the trail (lots 'o silver)

      I don't want to make Bert's back sore, by any means, but if there's something out there that would work, I'd be willing to give it a go!
      My Dad's Site: http://www.horsecrazy.net


      • #4
        Bob Marshall Treeless saddles

        My personal favorites. And you CAN feel your horse move -- it's feels more like my old close contract than a treed western saddle. You can get them with our without horns (both still have the western style riggins). He makes shorter skirts for us height-challenged adults and a peaked pommel for your high withered horse. You can also get the stirrups foward or under you depending on your use or preference. Check eBay as there's aways a few used BM's for sale there. Good luck!!
        If you cannot set a good example, at least serve as a terrible warning....


        • #5
          Be sure to find one that is built on an arabian tree - shorter through the back.. and also flared at the front.
          An Aussie or the Bob Marshall may suit you. They are suitable for a wide range of horses.
          Be sure to shop where you can return or do a trial. Several of the online catalog stores are offering demo saddles.


          • Original Poster

            Will all Arabian saddles have a rounded skirt? I thought about an Aussie, but I'd rather go western. I'm not sure of the logic behind it. I just do.

            I've mentioned synthetic to some people at the barn and they told me not to do it. I can't remember the reasons- something about the trees.

            I'll Google this Bob Marshall thing for starters

            Originally posted by gabz View Post
            Be sure to find one that is built on an arabian tree - shorter through the back.. and also flared at the front.
            An Aussie or the Bob Marshall may suit you. They are suitable for a wide range of horses.
            Be sure to shop where you can return or do a trial. Several of the online catalog stores are offering demo saddles.
            My Dad's Site: http://www.horsecrazy.net


            • #7
              I personally LOVE my Abetta Endurance saddle I have two of them now, one for each pony.
              (¯`·._¤ Jess!·._¤ ´¯)


              • Original Poster

                Okay... here's maybe a stupid question, but well, I have to ask it- Quarter Horse bars... or semi Quarter Horse bars will be different than an Arabian tree, right? Just typing it I believe the answer is yes. Therefore, not all saddles come with an Arabian tree option. They actually seem somewhat hard to find.
                My Dad's Site: http://www.horsecrazy.net


                • #9
                  1. please go sit in a bunch of saddles, even if it's a long drive.

                  2. Take a wither tracing with you. Google that and you'll find good instructions, and many show you how to take a few different measurements to best fit the horse- then-just when you think you've got it...if at all possible- haul horse to shop to try it out.

                  3. repeat til done. I could have saved myself boundless $$ time and headaches chasing a saddle that fit them, and me, too.


                  • Original Poster

                    Sooooo, finding a western trail saddle isn't any easier than finding my dressage saddle and then having it fitted to the horse, eh?

                    Thanks for the tips!
                    My Dad's Site: http://www.horsecrazy.net


                    • #11
                      nope, it is not.

                      Saddles I hate that others love:
                      Abettas of all shapes and sizes- I just don't love them. All synethetic and it doesn't feel 'right' to me
                      Crestridge Guffey- seat is too wide for my pelvis...but the girl I sold mine too, loves it to pieces

                      Saddles I love:
                      Rocking R hard seat Lady Trail saddle (husband HATES it- again, built for ladies bones, not mens)
                      Tucker River Plantation (does promote chair seat but can be overcome)
                      Fabtron's Ladies trail saddle (synthetic /leather mix)
                      bighorn trail saddles
                      Bullard barrel saddle- incredibly nice saddles, too narrow in the gullet for anything I owned. Sold to a friend with an OTTB and it fits him like a glove.

                      you need to take your time and find what you love.


                      • #12
                        I prefer to trail ride in a dressage saddle. My TWH is narrow and short-backed so it was REALLY hard for me to find an 18" seat for me that fit him too! I got a Barefoot London treeless saddle. They also make trail/endurance saddles and a western model or 2 now I think. If you buy a treeless then you also should be sure to get the proper saddle pad for it.

                        Be careful if you are used to english that the fenders on a western saddle don't bother you too much. I can't ride western because of those terrible things. it feels OK for the first half hour, but after that, it KILLS.

                        I got to ride a friend's bighorn synthetic and suede saddle and will say it was OK.

                        I didn't care for Abetta when i had one.

                        Don't know any other western brands! lol.


                        • #13
                          Search ebay for, "arabian endurance saddle" to find a nice Abetta with rounded skirts


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jess! View Post
                            I personally LOVE my Abetta Endurance saddle I have two of them now, one for each pony.
                            I too like my Abetta saddle. It's wieght is only 11 pounds stripped , light weight stirrups with a wide padded foot. I do NOT like a horn since it can end up in your gut. I also jump in mine and don't want to hit a horn. It is water proof and can be pressure washed. In 2000 miles it shows very little wear
                            It is also cheap so you can afford a new one every couple of years
                            I also use CCM bike nylon saddle bags.


                            • #15
                              treeless, custom or cheap- those are the options

                              A ride arabians and I (currently) use a Torsion Treeless Saddle- which fits most any horse except those with high whithers and heavyweight riders, and have used Abetta's.

                              Depending on your budget (abetta's are 400-500$) and Custom saddles are $1500+

                              I just order a Specialized Saddle and will take 10 weeks for it to get here. They are adjustable so the fit will be perfect for your horse

                              Good Luck-

                              The best thing to do it sit in as many saddles as you can and try as many on your horse as you can so you know what you want/ like


                              • #16
                                I do dressage on my Arab and some LD rides also. I ride him in the Wintec 500 on the endurance rides and he came back after his 25 miles with a 'A' for his back.

                                As others have said, if you're used to an english saddle you may not find a western too comfy (I personally don't like them).

                                You can pick up a cheap wintec 500 for 2-300 on ebay and the nice thing is you can change the gullet out to fit him. Also nice that its synthetic so I don't worry about the rain/mud damaging it.
                                I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.


                                • Original Poster

                                  This is ironic. I'm in the process of selling a Wintec dressage saddle. It hurts my back pretty bad. Plus, my saddle fitter doesn't really like how it fits my horse.

                                  Bummer too, because it's so nice and sticky, which would be perfect for those young horse moments and I wouldn't have to worry about it so much getting wet on the trail.

                                  Alas, not the saddle for me

                                  I hope to play around in a few western saddles this weekend.

                                  I'm very curious about treeless saddles and these Abettas would fit the budget for what I'm doing here- if one would work for my horse.

                                  Originally posted by JackSprats Mom View Post
                                  I do dressage on my Arab and some LD rides also. I ride him in the Wintec 500 on the endurance rides and he came back after his 25 miles with a 'A' for his back.

                                  As others have said, if you're used to an english saddle you may not find a western too comfy (I personally don't like them).

                                  You can pick up a cheap wintec 500 for 2-300 on ebay and the nice thing is you can change the gullet out to fit him. Also nice that its synthetic so I don't worry about the rain/mud damaging it.
                                  My Dad's Site: http://www.horsecrazy.net


                                  • #18
                                    I have an Abetta Arabian flex tree that fits my gelding really well and is very light weight, so you might try that. I really don't like mine because the twist is too wide so I bought a custom endurance saddle. I loved trail riding in my dressage saddle but I used it on my mare and it didn't really fit the gelding. The mare is retired now so I sold the saddle.

                                    If you decide to go with a saddle with a tree that's not specifically an Arab tree, just be sure that it's wide enough and the skirts are rounded. The shorter the saddle, the better, so get a smaller seat (say 15" as opposed to 16") if it will fit you.


                                    • #19
                                      I love my Abetta Endurance saddle with the extra wide tree. If you plan on doing some trail riding, you can't beat the price. Super lightweight too.

                                      Unless your guy has good withers, a treeless saddle may tend to slip. Mine did and I ended up selling it.

                                      IF I had the money I'd go for a Circle Y Mojave (Arabian saddle) It is leather, but weighs only 20 lbs. Unfortunately they go for about $1400.

                                      MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

                                      Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                                      • #20
                                        Another Abetta vote. I had two, sold one, now I'm down to one. (This higher level math on a Friday afternoon is tough. ) Anyway, the saddles are really great. So comfortable, and seems to fit a nice wide range of horses due to the many different models available. They really "stick" you in too. They're affordable, super lightweight, easy to clean, well made and balanced. Overall just really great saddles. I kind of regret selling the one.