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Please recommend saddle for achy old man

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  • Please recommend saddle for achy old man

    I would like to start trail riding again if my body can handle it. The saddle I have now is a roping saddle that I used in my younger and trimmer days. I would like to keep the price as low as possible, since this may not work out for me. I haven't shopped for a saddle in years so I don't really know whats out there. thanks

  • #2
    Go sit in a few and see what fits you and your horse.

    I don't think that I can recommend one brand as better or worse. It's what fits your body.

    Some things to look for in any saddle. Stirrups that are already turned. I like the ones where the saddlemaker twist the leather to force the stirrups to hang straight.

    Also consider some of those sloped or angled stirrups, Where the bottom of the stirrup slopes off at an angle. This keeps the bottom of your foot flat or level when you ride.

    You can add a wool or gel seat cover if you don't like a hard seat.

    More than the saddle, I'd consider getting a gaited horse vs a trotty horse. A smooth gait does wonders for older riders. The movement of trying to stay centered in the saddle is more troublesome to riders out of shape than the actual shape of the saddle.


    • #3
      Take a look at the Bob Marshall - they are VERY comfortable (we call my husband's "the couch")

      He has the basic trail rider model - http://www.sportssaddle.com/b_trail_rider.php

      You do need to get a Skito or similar pad to help with weight distribution.


      • #4
        You might be able to find a used Tucker saddle for a decent price. They're very popular as trail saddles.


        I find them too big/heavy, but if you're used to a roping saddle it won't be a problem.

        I've got an Abetta with a memory foam seat that I use as my extra saddle for guests, and it's pretty comfy and lightweight. Mine's an endurance without a horn, but they do make several horned ones with the extra cushioning. The prices are very good too.


        And ditto on the gaited horse suggestion!

        But be sure to try a bunch out--some gaits work better than others based on the riders individual needs.

        And and not every gaited horses is smooth! For example I've ridden Pasos that are like sitting on a floating carpet and ones that feel like a jackhammer.


        • #5
          I love my Abetta endurance saddle. That might be a good choice for you. Light weight and fairly inexpensive.

          The seat can be hard at first, so you might want to check out the ones with the padded seat.
          (I wish they offered that when I bought mine.)
          MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

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


          • #6
            Gosh, you sound so much like me! (Well, I'm an achy old woman, but I'm also looking for a gaited horse.)

            I second the idea of a smooth-gaited horse.

            If your roping saddle is no longer comfortable for you (or wouldn't fit your horse) you might want to try one of the lighter synthetics, like the Abetta saddles. I love my Big Horn, which is a lot like the Abetta saddles, only I think mine is more flexible. It has cordura fabric fenders and skirts, and pads in the stirrup treads. It weighs about 17 pounds. But you might find the seat a bit hard if you're gonna be in the saddle a long time. I don't ride that long, so I'm OK with it.

            Good luck!
            Rack on!


            • #7
              1) go gaited
              2) get a sheepskin seat saver, they let your rump breath so you don't get chapped
              3) Get those doohickies that help the stirrups turn so it reduces pressure on your knees.

              after that just try several saddles. Tack stores in our area will let you take the consignment saddles home for a 48 hour test ride. You leave funds in the amount to cover the purchase as a deposit in case you don't return it.
              Don't be afraid to pop a few ibuprofin before you get on and about 2 hours into your ride.

              Good luck!


              • #8

                I like the Big horn or Tucker saddles for comfort. also some models of Orthoflex are very comfortable. The main thing is that you have fenders that flex easily. Heavy western type fenders put more pressure on knees and ankles. I like a western/aussie type saddle that has english type stirrup leathers.

                Also look at wide endurance type stirrups. They have cushioning, and a wider "footprint" which distributes your weight better.

                If you are doing short slow trail rides, gaited horses are great. I find on longer rides (25-50 miles), I get more sore on my Foxtrotter than riding my Arabs. To me it is like if you sit still on a sofa for a long time. When you finally get up, you are stiff until you move around.

                Another thing to think about is how wide the horse is. The wider the horse, the bigger angle your legs have to stretch which can cause more hip, leg , back and knee issues. (to test this out put your legs about 2 feet apart and bounce up and down like you were posting. Then move them 3 feet apart and repeat. See the difference? The older and ache ier you are, the less your body loves doing the splits.

                Good luck,

                Paul N. Sidio
                Spokane MO


                • #9
                  regarding fenders, you can almost always put english or aussie leathers on a western saddle. You can get slip on "fenders" to take the pinch out of english leathers, or put a nice fleece tube on them. The biggest plus for this achy old woman is being able to adjust stirrup leathers without the enormous pia of fighting with blevins buckles. Which is another plus for the abetta's that have tongue buckles on the leathers, its actually more feasible to adjust without dismounting. And for the old and achy mounting/dismounting can be the biggest challenge of the ride.


                  • #10
                    What would ease the aches more than a saddle is a horse with easy on the body movement.
                    They can be found in any breed but the gaited breeds are the first choice, an ex western pleasure QH (Trained to death to look like they move like they float like a zepplin) or an older wants to take care of 'his' human arab.
                    Or just any horse empathic enough to understand your needs.
                    A pussycat of a horse with a chewed off tail won the triple crown, The Cubs won the world series and Trump won the Presidency.
                    Don't tell me 'It can't be done.'


                    • #11
                      Bob Marshall..........all the way!!!!!!!!!!!


                      • #12

                        Treeless saddles, such as the Bob Marshall have their place and have worked out very well for some people.... however, they also have not worked out well for some people.

                        In general my experience seems to show that lighter people who are more accomplished and balanced riders do better with them. Heavier riders who are not as balanced seem to have more problems with them.

                        Before you part with the cash for a Bob Marshall, try to get on the horse with it on. You may find the saddle is now sideways on the horse. If you are light, and well balanced, you can get on the horse before this would happen. If, like me, you are heavier, and not as centered a rider as you would hope to be, you will be looking at the saddle seat.

                        In fact it should be obvious that you need to ride in a saddle a while before you close the deal on one. Some saddles that seem nice when on a fiberglass horse in a tack shop are not nearly as nice after two hours on a hilly trail on a hot day:-)

                        Paul N. Sidio
                        Spokane MO


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks for all the helpfull information. I think I'm ready to head for the tack store.


                          • #14
                            I got my Marshall when I weighed almost 220 and it was great....I'm now 60 lbs lighter and still have the same saddle and love it just the same,and so does my horse.I have been riding for 43 yrs,so my balance is good.I've never felt like I needed to be extra careful about that though.I even get on from the ground.The key is...proper pad.I use a Skito.


                            • #15
                              If you can sit in a Steele.
                              I thought my long riding days were over. I could force myself to ride a maximum of 2 hours. I bought a used Steele and had an 8 hour ride!!!!
                              I shrunk out of my first Steele and have just bought a smaller one now. All our horses are as comfortable as I am them..


                              • #16
                                My grandmother still swears by her tucker plantation saddle and she rode well into her 70s. Only reason she stopped was her horse died and she is not in the mood to break another one to her preference. Her horse was a PITA to fit and the saddle was custom. Her horse was a grade mare but before that she was a trail riding queen and would swear by her Peruvian Paso Fino. He was an incredible ride and could easily out step most of the other gaited horses. He sucked for chasing anything though as his top speed was about the speed of a turtle. But I never had to worry about him outrunning me and he was voice commanded. He was a crop out at 16hh and looked like an Andalusian with all that mane and tail.
                                Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                                Originally Posted by alicen:
                                What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.


                                • #17
                                  Tuckers are known for their comfort.

                                  Steele saddles are very comfortable too! (and they have a large number of their saddles you can try out on your horse)

                                  Seat savers are great, either gel or sheepskin.

                                  Riding in bike shorts with the gel inserts built-in are good too, just wear em' under your jeans.

                                  Stirrup turners, less stress on your knees.

                                  Endurance stirrups with a larger bearing surface for your foot.

                                  Gaited horse or mule is your friend. My mule is gaited, he's very comfortable.
                                  "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                                  • #18
                                    I liked my Billy Cook Trail Saddle with Crooked Stirrups. Very comfy but not for my horse. I changed to a Down Under Wizzard Poley Aussie Saddle and I LOVE it. I rode for 3 hours yesterday at a jog/trot and some walking and felt just fine when I got off and I am not a spring chicken.

                                    I sold my Billy Cook (BC replaced my saddle as it caused issues on my horses back) when I got it back last week...I can't imagine giving up my Aussie!
                                    Logging Miles with the Biscuit 530.5 Miles for 2011 visit my trail riding blog at www.dashingbigred.blogspot.com


                                    • #19
                                      As another poster mentioned special care should be taken when a rider over 200 pounds wants to try out treeless saddles. But even if you are a larger person different brands of treeless saddles could work when another one didn't. There are many different ones on the market today. Bob Marshall, Barefoot, Black Forest, and my personal favorite...Sensations jsut to name a few. I ride in a Sensation Hybrid and LOVE it. I'm a size 12 and my weight fluctuates between 165 - 175. I have the firmest foam inserts I can get in my Skito pad and have had to have the saddle custom made a little bigger. BUT I feel secure and stable in this saddle. I usually use a mounting block but can and have mounted my 15.3 hh horse from the ground. I have hip problems that made riding in my treed saddle fairly painful but not in my Sensation treeless saddle. I love the close contact feel of it to. You just can't get that feeling with a solid tree between you and your horse. You can demo one for free too, you just pay shipping. I demoed and purchased mine from Melissa at Freedom Treeless. www.freedomtreeless.com
                                      "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by jeano View Post
                                        regarding fenders, you can almost always put english or aussie leathers on a western saddle. You can get slip on "fenders" to take the pinch out of english leathers, or put a nice fleece tube on them. The biggest plus for this achy old woman is being able to adjust stirrup leathers without the enormous pia of fighting with blevins buckles. Which is another plus for the abetta's that have tongue buckles on the leathers, its actually more feasible to adjust without dismounting. And for the old and achy mounting/dismounting can be the biggest challenge of the ride.
                                        I am really glad you posted about putting English leathers on a western saddle. I have been wanting to try that but didn't know how it would work. Now I am going to try it.

                                        I love western saddles that have regular tongue buckles! Blevins buckles are a pain (literally--they always come so close to pinching a bit of me when I adjust them).