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Western Saddle?

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  • Western Saddle?

    It looks like I am going to be reduced to riding The Terminator again -- my small quick shark withered TB. I have a very bad ankle and it has been suggested to me that I should try riding in a Western saddle. I started looking at used synthetic ones on eBay and wonder if anyone can tell me whether sizing for English and Western saddles is the same and if any of the saddles are designed for high withered TBs or if I just need to have a padding strategy.

  • #2
    It would be go to a local tack shop with some measurements to see what might work...I have a high withered TB, and though I loved the grippiness of a Wintec western seat, even the semi QH tree did not give enough clearance for his withers. Some people love the Big Horn synthetics (light, durable); I actually am deligted with a gaited horse saddle (Simco Rusty Taylor) in leather - 29 lbs, pretty, and good clearance. The seat is a bit slick though - I like to wear my full seats in it for traction!
    Founder of the I LOFF my worrywart TB clique!
    Official member of the "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique


    • #3
      The measurements are not the same- a western is measured front to back, not on a diagonal, from the back of the horn to the cantle.

      The trees are a completely different shape.

      Good luck! Hope you find one you like!


      • #4
        If your issue is a bad ankle, you will need to get either a very well broken-in western saddle, or one that has had the stirrup leathers turned. Cheaper saddles that have stirrups that hang parallel to the horse are notorious for being ankle and knee killers. You might want to consider an Aussie or endurance saddle instead.
        "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

        Spay and neuter. Please.


        • #5

          I went from English to western this past August because I broke my ankle last April. I bought an Abetta Endurance. Really grippy seat and I don't have a problem with the fenders because they are nylon and turn easily. Not sure about wither clearance but I asked the tack store to come out and fit this saddle. I,too, had no idea about fitting my horse for western or seat size. Turns out seat size is much smaller, I felt like I instantly lost weight...

          Now someone go buy my English saddle that has been on consignment since August at my local tack shop!!!
          Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
          One of our horsey bumper stickers! www.horsehollowpress.com
          Add Very Funny Horse Bumper Stickers on facebook


          • #6
            I don't understand why a western saddle would be an advantage to a bad ankle.

            I ride in both English and western and if any thing the western is more strain on the joints even after broken in. I love the western for trail riding but English stirrups and leathers are less stress on the legs from what I have experienced.

            Maybe you would be better off looking at a stirrup upgrade for your English saddle or what ever you are using now.

            Like these? http://www.doversaddlery.com/product...cd2=1236697291
            No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill


            • #7
              You can't pry these out of my cold, dead fingers:
              Still, you'll have to have very well broke-in fenders or you're going to be in trouble.

              Also, to fit a shark-withered horse in a western saddle, look at older/vintage saddles if you have any place with a good used selection. Of course you have to make sure they are in good shape, but a roping trainer had the best western saddle fit-wise for my TB ever. They didn't always have big fat QH tanks to ride!

              I also love my aussie saddle for comfort. The wide stirrup leather is very stable yet flexible, and the wide footbed of the stirrup is very supportive. The people at downunderweb.com are super-helpful and will adjust any saddle to fit your horse with a wither tracing if you do decide to go ausse. Comfort-wise I'd definitely look towards the endurance world, "real" cowboys and die-hard long trail riders who spend hours in the saddle at a time as far as your best comfort bets. They would know.


              • #8
                I would suggest contacting the people at horsesaddleshop.com to help with saddle fit. You may find that an endurance type western saddle would work well for you too. As far as stirrups go, I highly suggest these: http://catalog.windridertack.com/vie...item_id=674456

                I use them on my dressage saddle *gasp* when I trail ride. The 1.5" neck works fine with my regular stirrups leathers.


                • #9
                  I had my saddle fitter out, turns out nothing off the rack in western stores would have worked on my mare (who is NOT hard to fit). They need to be fitted just like anything else.
                  Bonus is I can get more what I want for a better price, since they get the inside "scoop".

                  I have found my western saddle much more unconfortable for riding, the strirups are much more unforgiving.


                  • Original Poster

                    The Western saddle thought was that it would improve my seat, get my leg longer and away from my stirrups completely. With a horn though there would be a bit of something to hang on to if I needed it.

                    My ankle is pretty much kaput. No stirrups are going to change it. I have no ligaments in it and there is a big chunk of bone missing from the talus. I am supposed to have ankle surgery one of these days.

                    I haven't thought through all the saddle options though. I did talk to the saddle fitter I normally use and got the impression he didn't know anything about Western saddles but maybe I should try again.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by monstrpony View Post
                      If your issue is a bad ankle, you will need to get either a very well broken-in western saddle, or one that has had the stirrup leathers turned. Cheaper saddles that have stirrups that hang parallel to the horse are notorious for being ankle and knee killers. You might want to consider an Aussie or endurance saddle instead.
                      Just thought this was worth repeating! :-D
                      I'm borrowing someone's Big Horn trail saddle- I'm not sure if its semi or full QH bars (I'm leaning towards semi) but it seems to fit my "withery" horse well.


                      • Original Poster

                        Okay, I hear that. I am googling a Big Horn saddle right now. Thanks!


                        • #13
                          We have had good luck with these:
                          "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist


                          • #14
                            I would try a barrel racing saddle or something with a good deep seat that is close contact. I have a bad ankle as well, though not as bad as yours sounds, and have found that switching my leather fenders(western stirrup leathers) for synthetic made a huge difference. They are much softer and turn easier. If you want to stick with leather I would look at a good used saddle that is broken in or try ''stirrup turners''. Maybe go to a saddle store and just sit in a bunch of saddles until you find something that your comfortable in, then move on to fitting your horse. Aussie saddles are also great at keeping you ''in'' the saddle. Some also have great wither clearance and panels that can be restuffed to fit better. The cushy trail stirrups are a godsend on longer rides, but that depends on what you want as far as looks. Good luck!!
                            Just cause you move to Texas, doesn't mean you are a Texan. After all, if a cat puts her kittens in the oven, It doesn't make them Bisquits.


                            • #15
                              op, based on the additional info of your new post I think you should try an Aussie with a horn and try some of those better stirrups. Just make sure you get one big enough because they tend to lock you in.

                              Or look into a made for trail riding or endurance saddle that is an English/western hybrid. If budget allows some thing like this might work!

                              No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill


                              • #16
                                Crest Ridge Saddlery does gait saddles. They have a wonderful program of how to measure your horse for a western saddle. Go to their website and have a look at it. I have one of these saddles, it is too narrow for any of my current horses EXCEPT for the shark withered QH (yes, QH! he's very old) Very comfortable, well made too. But at least using their measureing system will give you an idea.



                                • #17
                                  I HATED the Crestridge saddle we had. Set up for a man's pelvis, too wide for me. Good saddle, hated to sit in it.

                                  OP, you need to go sit in a bunch of saddles. Find a big horse show nearby, I bet there's a tack trailer there for trying. Invest the time in driving to a big western tack shop. It's going to be an exercise in frustration trying to guess what your butt and legs will like, and that ankle. I will say the Cloud stirrups or EZ rider, etc, will help you- very stable, hard to lose, very cushy.

                                  BTW Big Horn has gone out of business, just FYI.

                                  I can't recommend my favorites, the Rocking R hard seat Lady Trail saddle. They are heavy, hard seated (NO padding) and you might hate it. Me, I love it so much I have two of 'em

                                  Road Trip!