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What type of saddle do you use to back a green/young horse?

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  • What type of saddle do you use to back a green/young horse?

    I am going to begin to start my own young horses at home and I have only my personal saddle, a Hennig, and don't particularly want it on the backs of unpredictible youngsters.

    So, what type and how much are/were your saddles used for backing? Since they change so much, are the air panels types good or should I stick to conventional types? Thanks, Peg
    Fleur de Lis Hanoverians

  • #2
    I use Quantum Saddles on all my babies. Since changing to them, I actually have not had a youngster over-react to the saddle or girth. They are not a cheap saddle, but the fit cannot be matched and that is invaluable for me for getting them going on the right foot. www.quantumsaddle.com
    Small Spark Farm Performance Horses: Home of Bellerophon
    www.smallsparkfarm.com

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    • #3
      What type?

      Whatever fits the horse and rider and won't fall apart after 2 uses or a good sweat

      Collegiates are a great lower end but still good enough quality (and not by just a smidge) saddles that you can find all over the place, used, for a few hundred.

      Older County Dressage saddles can be found for a little more. For some reason I don't see as many older CC saddles for that $500 +- range, they tend to be more (though I'm sure there are exceptions).

      Conventional - foam, wool - vs air, is personal preference to you and the horse. My PERSONAL thought is I wouldn't use air on a baby, since they can be a bit bouncy, and you really want stability. Not a HUGE bounce, but since you're talking a virgin back, even little bounces matter.

      Foam - older foam vs newer foam, the latter is far preferred as it just doesn't get hard. I don't know how old it is, so don't know how old and cheaply you can find these. Many higher end saddles use this now - Prestige, CWD. And older Prestige can be found for under $1000 but I don't know what foam is in there.

      Wool is another love or hate, as there is the potentially constant reflocking as a young horse grows and works and the wool compresses.

      Don't worry about "type" of saddle. You have to fit the horse you have now.

      *I* would fit him 1-2 sizes too big and use appropriate padding, as that will allow you to very quickly change the fit. You and/or your saddle fitter really need to understand this though or you can do as much harm as a poorly fitting saddle to start with.
      ______________________________
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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      • #4
        We start ~6 Hanoverian 3 yo's each year with a couple Wintec dressage saddles. The medium width fits nearly all of our Hanoverian youngsters when they are just starting plus the adjustable gullet system allows us to adjust to a wider width when they start to develop. The Wintec's are economical, adjustable and hold up reasonably well to the abuse of training multiple young horses through all kinds of weather. We also use a Mattess pad if the horse needs a little extra padding and comfortable girths.
        Annetta P. Coleman
        High Valley Hanoverians
        www.HighValleyHanoverians.net
        Annetta@HighValleyHanoverians.net
        https://www.facebook.com/HighValleyHanoverians

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        • #5
          What type? I thought you meant style, and I would say I always have started a young horse in a close contact jumping saddle or a western saddle, depending on the horse. I don't know when people started breaking and riding greenies in dressage saddles! I was always taught that one should not ride a youngster in a dressage seat for at least a few months, it has shocked me to see riders riding newly backed horses in not only a dressage saddle but sitting deep in a dressage seat. And we wonder why so many horses have back problems so early on?

          I like the County Stabilizer (or similar) in a wide tree. I'll use a nice wool felt pad (with wither relief cutout), or a Mattes or SaddleRight pad depending on the width of the horse. A Western Saddle with a thick wool felt pad with wither relief is good for a youngster you are more worried about launching you. The wide saddle with large surface area is also good for a youngsters back.
          On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Perfect Pony View Post
            What type? I thought you meant style, and I would say I always have started a young horse in a close contact jumping saddle or a western saddle, depending on the horse. I don't know when people started breaking and riding greenies in dressage saddles! I was always taught that one should not ride a youngster in a dressage seat for at least a few months, it has shocked me to see riders riding newly backed horses in not only a dressage saddle but sitting deep in a dressage seat. And we wonder why so many horses have back problems so early on?

            .
            I'm with PP on this one, started one this summer in a Euroriding jumping saddle. Wouldn't "sit" on that precious back just yet, but hey...that's just me. Almost forgot: I bought it used, VERY good condition for $550.00.

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            • #7
              Sorry for the clarification needed related to dressage saddles. We do a couple months of free schooling and long lining using a Wintec all purpose saddle and then back them in the all purpose saddle. Because of the extensive ground work, the backing process is normally a pretty calm event and horses are doing a comfortable w-t-c within 2 weeks. We then start them in the dressage saddles for flatwork and keep them in the all purpose saddles for trails and hills. Our YH trainers are excellent at getting the horses to properly use their backs, responsive to the aids and light in the bit. The Wintec all purpose and dressage saddles have proven to be very effective.
              Annetta P. Coleman
              High Valley Hanoverians
              www.HighValleyHanoverians.net
              Annetta@HighValleyHanoverians.net
              https://www.facebook.com/HighValleyHanoverians

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              • #8
                Since Wintecs were brought up a couple of times, I just have to say:

                Again, it comes down to what fits. Wintecs tend to be on the flatter side, front to back. That will *not* work for a curvy horse, no matter how well it fits at the withers/shoulders.

                that doesn't mean there aren't some curvier Wintecs. Most are flatter though.

                So, it still comes down to what fits the horse, what fits the rider, and what the rider feels comfortable in.
                ______________________________
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                • #9
                  I have always felt really insecure in a dressage saddle on a baby as the construction did not give me the abilty to ride an emergency seat and brace my feet at least a little ahead if needed-but that is me. I also felt like the older collegiates tended to tip the rider forward a little (for equatation purposes?) which again made me feel insecure. I am using an older used pessoa right ($400) now which requires no extra padding, seems to distribute my weight evenly, is stable and makes us both feel happy and secure.

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                  • #10
                    I first "back" a youngster bareback so that they can feel me and get used to "live" contact, but this is just for very short periods of standing and walking and I include much scratching and rubbing. The western saddle is used for first rides since it gives me a lot of security and basically spans the entire back with a thick blanket under it. For lounging, I also use Wintecs, even a Wintec children's saddle.

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                    • #11
                      I was brave - I used my Antares...
                      Of course it helped that every step along the way of starting my young one that he was easy, easy, easy.
                      Alison/Mikali Farms
                      www.mikalifarms.com

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                      • #12
                        I'm backing my youngster this spring with my Albion jumping saddle. I've thought of using my western saddle but if she bucks I hate getting hit in the crotch by the pommel.
                        I don't think anybody has a harder buck than my TB gelding when his back hurt recently. ( I'm searching for a new saddle for us, riding in an ancient Stubben that fits him, too small for me). I stuck to him like a tick. If that filly bucks harder than him, she needs to be a bucking horse, so I'm thinking I'll be plenty secure in my jumping saddle.
                        Since hunting the past ten years, I've grown really secure in my English saddle, not so fond of my western gear anymore.

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                        • #13
                          I always start tthem with a western saddle. I want them used to things banging about on them and it gives a bit mroe security when first backing! Plus the larger surface area distributes the weight better preventing pressure points.
                          www.shawneeacres.net

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                          • #14
                            I start my youngsters in a western saddle. I want that extra security so that I am giving them more confidence if they do something stupid. I also like having everything flap around on them when I am lunging them so they get used t it.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Peg View Post
                              I am going to begin to start my own young horses at home and I have only my personal saddle, a Hennig, and don't particularly want it on the backs of unpredictible youngsters.

                              So, what type and how much are/were your saddles used for backing? Since they change so much, are the air panels types good or should I stick to conventional types? Thanks, Peg
                              I use one of my western saddles! The saddle I use has sentimental value and is a very well-made saddle, but it's old, so it's okay if it gets a little banged up (which it has!) I appreciate the horn on some of the youngsters I've had to push a bit when I start and I love that the youngsters are then used to all the flapping and banging and "extras" of a western saddle. THEN, after 30 days or so, I throw on one of the english saddles. With my own horses, I've been re-buying (used) to an extent as they change shape (and padding in between), but with client horses I try to fit it as best I can, and pad where necessary (I've got a couple sort of "specialized" pads I use). With the client horses and where I can with my own I usually use the Wintec AP (not with the air though) with the adjustable gullet.

                              Agreed with the points about staying off the young horse's back when freshly started! You can still stay off their back in a dressage saddle though by using 2-point in the canter (of course I'm doing this AFTER using the western saddle for 30 days or so though), posting in the trot, etc. Depends on the saddle though of course.
                              ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                              ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

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                              • #16
                                I have a couple of older, but good quality GP saddles that I use. One is a wide, the other is a medium wide. I've used Wintecs, but I like leather better.
                                Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!

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                                • #17
                                  I use my galloping saddle. Light, has an amazing fit, and I don't come out of it easily. While all the youngsters have been great, it is a saddle that gives me great security no matter what situation arises.

                                  I know you all are thinking it couldn't possibly fit big warmbloods but it does. No pressure at all and is capable of fitting the smaller ones too. Currently I take it to my job galloping and one of the horses I get on is 17.1 hands and wide as a house. Not a bother.

                                  Love that saddle and it gets a workout!

                                  Terri
                                  Last edited by Equilibrium; Jan. 14, 2011, 05:12 PM. Reason: Stupid phone spelling mistakes
                                  COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                                  "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.

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                                  • #18
                                    I cannot recall the name of it to save my life, but I think Bates made them - they were synthetic and had adjustable trees/gullets. Anyway, that's what I used to use.
                                    Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.
                                    W. C. Fields

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                                    • #19
                                      My cutting saddle, breast collar, belly cinch, crupper plus carry a rope and saddle bags (nylon....they do make some noise) and sometimes a rifle scarab. However, they've had all this on them on the lunge line prior to getting on them so it isn't as much as quickly as it sounds. Sometimes have a tarp folded and tied behind the cantle as well.
                                      Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                                      www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
                                      Northern NV

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                                      • #20
                                        I have an old TB exercise saddle that I use for this. It only has a 1/2 tree in the front to give a little wither clearance and a place to attach the stirrups.

                                        Since the back has no tree it is flexible so the saddle fits all kinds of horses and ponies. It is also thin (Maybe 1.5" in the back) so there is excellent feel.

                                        I don't feel safe with an unpredicable horse and a western saddle - there is too much to get hit with or caught on and much harder to bail out of if needed .


                                        Christa

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