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Saddle question for those who ride english & western...

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  • Saddle question for those who ride english & western...

    I would like to buy DH a western saddle for my oldie so we can potentially ride together. Problem is I have ridden english for 20 years and am completely ignorant about western saddles! What seat size does he need? (6ft, 200 lbs). Horse is a wide in most english saddles (appendix qh), what tree size should I be looking for? They will just be walking, maybe a trail ride... would a wintec be good or look for something used? Thanks!

  • #2
    Used is always great because you can get high quality older saddles that will make you happier than a new cheap thing. Western saddles trend much cheaper than comparable English saddles unless they have silver decorations.


    • #3
      I suggest looking at used. Preferably find a tack shop where you can maybe take the saddle out on trial or haul your horse up to try it on. That way you can make sure it fits both him and the horse. Also don't get stuck looking at just western trail saddles. I use a roping saddle for trail riding and it is super comfortable so don't be afraid to try if it's roping, cutting, reining etc..
      I don't always feel up to arguing with your ignorance


      • #4
        would a wintec be good or look for something used?
        We bought three Wintec western saddles back in the early 1990s for competitive trail use ... at least two have thousands of miles on them (at 40 to 60 miles per outing) , nothing has ever broken on any of them. Admittedly they have just been setting on the saddle racks the last few years, but nothing is wrong with them, nothing is defective and no care has been done on them while they wait.

        The Western leather saddles (with shiny silver trim) we have are cleaned every so often just to maintain their life

        there is a parallel similar thread ongoing in the Western Forum


        • #5
          Men at my house prefer a flatter seat, no rise or padding towards the horn. They also prefer a wider twist over the narrow twist that women prefer. No equitation seats! Oddly, men usually take a larger seat size than women of a similar size. Men are "bigger" than they look, solid, even slender guys. Best that he sits on the saddles, find a couple he likes to learn an approximate seat size. Higher cantle that holds you in place, will need a bigger seat, so he can change body position easier, while riding. Lower cantle, Cheyenne roll, allows easier moving because they are lower, so seat size can be smaller in many cases. Lower cantle is also easier to swing your leg up and over when getting on or off.

          Put plenty of padding under the saddle. Use a breastcollar to keep saddle in place. Check girths often. Man will tire fast, sit crooked to ease body parts, so horse has to "deal with it" until the ride ends. Padding helps the horse with the unbalanced load above. Have man do some walking around after riding ends, they say it helps prevent soreness.

          Start with very short rides, don't want him to end up in real pain from a long ride. He WILL be feeling it even on a short ride. Get him fit riding often, before trying to go for a couple hours. He might actually prefer an English saddle as he gets better!


          • #6
            Size will also depend on how the seat is padded out. In my hard seat ranch and cutting saddles, I take a 16”. But, in my trail saddles with gel seats and extra padding, I take a 17”.

            It is really best to visit a brick and mortar tack shop and sit in as many saddles as possible.
            "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


            • #7
              He'd probably be comfortable in a 16-17" seat depending on how wiry he's built.

              But instead of trying to guess bar measurements, I'd get thee to thy local consignment shop/find someone with a bunch of western saddles they're okay with letting you try and go about figuring out fit that route.

              I've ridden both styles and at this point use western style tack only. I will say western IME is easier to fit because the saddles A) have a much larger surface area that makes contact with the horse so less overall pressure on any one area which leads me to B) you can much more effectively shim an okay fitting western saddle and make it a pretty good fitting western saddle far easier than you can shim an okay fitting english saddle.

              If the horse is needing a wider gullet in an english style, you will likely want to go for FQHB (full quarter horse bars). This is not a uniform standard of measurement by any means but tells you that the saddle in question is designed for a horse with a wider mid-body and lower, flatter withers (not NO withers, but not your shark-finned TBs).
              Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you have now was once among the many things that you only hoped for.


              • #8
                For a wide horse, you're going to be looking at "full quarter horse bars" this means the angle of the tree is flatter to fit a bigger horse. The bars sit on either side of the spine, like an English saddle, and has a larger plane for the displacement of weight. You want at least 2-3 fingers of clearance at the withers. Most men ride in a 16" seat, my DH is that size and rides in a 16" when he sits in it, you want to fit 2 fingers between his thigh and the swell of the saddle. Contrary to what the previous poster said, use padding as needed. Too much will cause the saddle not to fit, generally a 1" pad is sufficient if the saddle is a good fit. I prefer a mohair roper style girth because they are soft, they flex with the horse's movement, and the roper style displaces the pressure over a greater area. I also ride with a rear cinch to keep the back of the saddle in place. I've seen saddles with just a front cinch tip over when going down a steep hill dumping the rider.

                Hope this helps!


                • #9
                  Scribbler where are you finding used western saddles that are cheap? My hubby has a hideous wade saddle that cost as much as my Voltaire. I have yet to see anything under 2k in this area unless its 50+ years old and at a pawn shop.

                  OP definitely have DH go sit in some at the local consignment stores. We always use a back cinch and a breastplate, took my TB a few sessions to get use to the back cinch.


                  • Original Poster

                    Thank you everyone!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by streamline View Post
                      Scribbler where are you finding used western saddles that are cheap? My hubby has a hideous wade saddle that cost as much as my Voltaire. I have yet to see anything under 2k in this area unless its 50+ years old and at a pawn shop.

                      OP definitely have DH go sit in some at the local consignment stores. We always use a back cinch and a breastplate, took my TB a few sessions to get use to the back cinch.
                      I am not Scribbler but I see these come across my feed quite a bit.

                      I wonder if you need to buy a Western saddle in an area that is traditionally Western to get a lower price. I know nothing about Western so for all I know all of these saddles below $2,000 are the Western version of Indian leather saddles from Ebay sourced out of China
                      Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)