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Any western riders out there who can help me out?

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  • Any western riders out there who can help me out?

    I am a hunter/jumper rider who is helping a good friend look for a nice trail horse. This part I have under control, but her husband has asked me to help him find a saddle for her for her birthday and she will be riding western. I don't know the first thing about western saddles. Can anyone give me some guidance? She doesn't need anything fancy, as she will just be puttering around my place, but something comfortable and durable would be good. Price is also an issue, so how much should he expect to pay?

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can throw my way!
    www.facebook.com/SunsetPonies

  • #2
    I was a jumper rider but my long backed horse was a monster to fit. A big Western saddle was finally in order, esp. as with school I don't have time to do much more than pleasure ride.

    We have a Reinsman FlexTree Saddle, and I would never ride in anything else. My husband and I fight over it.

    It has fit every horse (including TB's). It broke in instantly. I like it keeps my leg underneath me, much like my Beval saddle, just with a deeper seat (did I mention it came with a GEL seat). Lifetime warranty on the tree, etc.

    I got it from Holtz Saddlery in PA, but the Western Superstore in Cheyenne, WY has the largest selection of Reinsman saddles I've ever seen, and I think I heard they were having a sale...

    I got it new for about $1200. You can find them for around $800-$1K on eBay. I can guarantee, it is WELL worth it. I sold my PJ to afford it, and I never looked back.

    If you don't buy a Reinsman, buy a used saddle. They take forever to break in, and can be very miserable until then. A 16" fits most, a 15" is for the petite, and a 17" is for the real big boys.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have a boarder that has a nice Big Horn flex tree memory foam trail saddle. It is super light despite being all leather and very comfortable! She is selling it for $600/offer if that helps. She is having $ problems.
      "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

      Comment


      • #4
        My mom has a circle Y that she's had since she was 16 and it has held up fantastically with only one re-flocking over the years (she's 52 now).

        That and its' the most comfortable (other than an old roping saddle) that I have ever ridden in .

        I'd look for a nice pleasure saddle or roping saddle, both I have found to be the most comfortable - try ebay -
        Friend of bar.ka!
        Originally posted by MHM
        GM quote of the day, regarding the correct way to do things:
        "There's correct, and then there's correct. If you're almost correct, that means you're wrong."

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        • #5
          I have a Wintec. Its very light and easy to haul around and put on the horse.

          I did learn a big lesson about Western vs English yesterday. You must dismount without sliding down the horse. My bra got hooked onto the saddle horn and I had to be undressed to get free of the horse. I have no idea how that happened, but those horns can be a b*tch. It could have been a dangerous situation, but since the horse is bombproof it was pretty funny instead.

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          • #6
            Watch for the "pretty and cheap" ones, they are garbage and will leave you and your horse sore. Try to find one in a tack shop that will do an exchange if it does not fit either horse or rider.
            I have seen some really nice saddles going for $300, even a Circle Y. I find them at the local auction all the time!

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks for the replys so far. I used to work for a trail company many years ago and I think the Circle Y was what I used to ride all day in. I will check ebay and see what I can find as well as hitting the one local tack shop that sells western saddles. I am definitely looking for something light. She is a small woman and I want the saddle to be easy for her to handle.

              And equinelaw...I will pass along your experience so she doesn't find herself having to undress to dismount

              What about sizing? Are the measurements similar to english saddles. If she rides in a 16" english saddle, will she ride in the same size western saddle?
              Last edited by Sunset Ponies; Sep. 4, 2009, 09:16 PM.
              www.facebook.com/SunsetPonies

              Comment


              • #8
                Western saddles are the devil to fit. I'd wait till she found the horse, because a suitable brand of saddle will depend heavily on the shape of the horse.

                See, you can't adjust the flocking in a western saddle. The saddle either fits or it doesn't. So features like rock, length, bar width, are all incredibly important.

                My little paint horse? Oddly (since he is a foundation QH type) cannot wear any western saddle that I've ever clapped eyes on. He's short backed and flat backed with shoulders like a bulldog. You'd think they'd make a western saddle for that, right? But no.

                Those Tucker saddles that are so popular? Nice saddle and very comfy for the rider - but only fits a horse with some wither, who isn't terribly wide. Crates make a lovely saddle - but they're too long for my little fireplug and rub his loins.

                Anyway, I'd wait till I could fit the saddle to the horse.
                I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

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                • #9
                  I too would wait til there's a horse to fit.

                  The Fabtron Lady Trail is a balanced, comfy synthetic. and I hate synthetic western saddles LOL

                  If you want leather, I'd avoid Bighorn (Owned one, crappy leather quality) and a Circle Y might be ok...for my $ I'd get a Rocking R. www.stagecoastwest.com carries them or www.rockingrsaddlery.com

                  16" english? Are you sure ? that's teensy. I'd take 2" off the english size but a 14" western is a TINY youth seat.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Agreed, wait until she finds the horse so you at least know what tree width to buy.

                    Also with the synthetic saddles, watch for where the rigging for the cinch is, some of the cheaper made saddles have rigging that is too far forward in my opinion.
                    Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.
                    Bernard M. Baruch

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RxCate View Post
                      My mom has a circle Y that she's had since she was 16 and it has held up fantastically with only one re-flocking over the years (she's 52 now).

                      That and its' the most comfortable (other than an old roping saddle) that I have ever ridden in .

                      I'd look for a nice pleasure saddle or roping saddle, both I have found to be the most comfortable - try ebay -
                      unfortunately Circle Y has had a million owners since the 60s. they are not nearly so good as they once were.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree on waiting for the horse. (:

                        I can usually borrow a nice quality leather working saddle when I need one, so my own western saddle is a Big Horn cordura trail saddle. It is actually super comfortable, very lightweight (15 lbs) and fits my QH easily. For general trail riding and putzing around, it is very nice, and in western synthetics Big Horn is much better than Wintec (their western saddles seem to be a little wonky).

                        I did replace the nylon cinch and straps with leather, for safety and breathability. The stirrups are a durable plastic, but can also be replaced with better quality ones.

                        I generally just ride in my English saddle and keep getting tempted to sell my Big Horn, but it does fit well and is very comfortable for long rides.
                        "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                        Graphite/Pastel Portraits

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by equinelaw View Post
                          I have a Wintec. Its very light and easy to haul around and put on the horse.
                          I had one too, super comfortable. But it really tended to pinch the withers when cinched up, even with 2 thick pads. Horses were bucking and I couldn't figure out why....
                          Someone mentioned Western leather saddles have a lot more weight in the back and this is the downfall with the synthetics.

                          I did learn a big lesson about Western vs English yesterday. You must dismount without sliding down the horse. My bra got hooked onto the saddle horn and I had to be undressed to get free of the horse.
                          A few weeks ago I was showing a novice how to get off without using stirrups. This so happened to me for the first time ever. Like you, thankful for a bombproof horse!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I would wait for the horse AND the in order rider to get the right fit. A nice gift certificate/cash would be appropriate. A western saddle either fits or it doesn't. There are corrective pads out there, but it is best to just have one that fits to begin with.

                            If the new horse is already being ridden western, the former owner will be able to give good insight as to the tree size and maybe even a brand that has worked well.

                            There are also some very nice comfortable saddles designed specifically for trail. They are light and have padding for the rider (and horse) in all of the right spots.

                            Also, find someone to help out with the shopping who has experience with fitting western saddles, they are an invaluable resource.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I agree- it must fit the horse. Took me almost 6 months to find a saddle that fit my horse. Ended up with a Champion Turf saddle- it works well for me, although I do have my eyes on a Blue Ribbon Custom.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by katarine View Post
                                I too would wait til there's a horse to fit.

                                The Fabtron Lady Trail is a balanced, comfy synthetic. and I hate synthetic western saddles LOL

                                If you want leather, I'd avoid Bighorn (Owned one, crappy leather quality) and a Circle Y might be ok...for my $ I'd get a Rocking R. www.stagecoastwest.com carries them or www.rockingrsaddlery.com

                                16" english? Are you sure ? that's teensy. I'd take 2" off the english size but a 14" western is a TINY youth seat.
                                A 16" english saddle is not that small. That is a pretty average size for a small woman.

                                I definitely plan on waiting until after she buys her horse and fitting the saddle to the horse. We are down to the final choices and it will mostly like be a chunky quarter pony

                                Thanks for all of the good advice.
                                www.facebook.com/SunsetPonies

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by FatPalomino View Post
                                  I had one too, super comfortable. But it really tended to pinch the withers when cinched up, even with 2 thick pads. Horses were bucking and I couldn't figure out why....
                                  Someone mentioned Western leather saddles have a lot more weight in the back and this is the downfall with the synthetics.
                                  The cinch rigging may have been too far forward. This pulls the front of the saddle down over the withers and pinches behind the shoulder.
                                  Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.
                                  Bernard M. Baruch

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I ride daily in an old Billy Cook - I think it was $1200 new.
                                    "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Older Circle Y park and trail saddles are wonderful, but they have to be at least 10 years old. The newer ones are junk and take forever to break in. I think they can be found for around $500.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Reinsman FlexTree Saddle...I totally agree with FP!! I took my horse to the saddle shop where they were more than happy to let me sit several on my horse. I was completely amazed at how my body (primarily my tush) with the seat padding of a saddle changed my balance on every one! In a few my legs were too far back...but...the Reinsman saddle was a dream. Everything in my posture/balance all came together.

                                        Having said all of that...I ended up getting the Trail FlexTree from Circle Y because it was VERY similar and I could get it for less. I was shopping not only for fit but for light weight....no more trying to throw a 65lb saddle on a tall horse!! I have been very happy with it.

                                        I always recommend Bedford Tack in Tenn for their great service and prices!!!My saddle retailed for 1800. I paid 1150 including shipping...and I could return it at no charge if it didn't work.
                                        "My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sunlight and nicker to me in the night"

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