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Help me find a steal-of-a-deal, western saddle style

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  • Help me find a steal-of-a-deal, western saddle style

    I've been lucky and have found english saddles for a song in the past, but I know what I'm looking for there. This is going to be much harder because I don't know a lot about western saddles. I have ridden in a few western saddles, and I know the difference between roping, barrel, show styles. Unfortunately that's about it.

    I ride in 17.5" english saddles, but am also fine in an 18". I have ridden in both 15 and 16" western saddles. I think 15 is ok but maybe a smidge small. I prefer a flatter seat but I don't mind a deep one as long as it sits me in the right place. I don't like stirrups that are hung forward, like in barrel racing saddles as I get lower back pain if forced to ride in a chair seat. I also know that I have to rule out saddles that have the rigging very far forward on the skirt as that doesn't work with either of my horses who both have fairly ample shoulders. I prefer a rounded and/or single skirt because they are lighter to hoist, but also because both my horses are short-backed. But again, I'm willing to make lots of compromises as long as I can get the saddle to reasonably fit the horse. Problem #2 is that buying off e-bay usually means no trial so that again is going to make this tricky. I need a saddle that I can use for trail riding and that is appropriate for the local show circuit. Silver/bling are out of the question on my budget. I really like the old style saddles with the steel lacing on the cantle and skirts, but in my target budget, beggars can't be choosers. Honestly I'm going for kicks and not to be competetive so as long as it's leather it's cool. Since I can't do the whole blinged-out thing, I'm going "retro cowgirl" with basic black chaps, plaid shirt with coordinating scarf around my neck. And my helmet, of course.

    So, what about these?






    Also, what does it cost to have the fleece replaced on the bottom of a western saddle, and where can that be done?

    Thanks in advance for the help!

  • #2
    If you are a 17 1/2 or 18" English you want to be a 16" western. Stick with name brands, I like your choices above, in a 16", as long as they fit your horse.
    The Galloping Grape
    Warrenton, VA


    • Original Poster

      thanks, GG. I've been told by one person that you subtract 2" from your english seat size, but then I was told by another person that your western seat size has a lot more to do with your inseam than the size of your rear. I have a lot to learn.


      • #4
        Originally posted by meaty ogre View Post
        ....I was told by another person that your western seat size has a lot more to do with your inseam than the size of your rear.
        In that case I would probably need a 14" seat. NOT.

        I've never heard that in all my western riding years, but I suppose it could have some truth.

        Ditto what GG said about sticking with name brands, especially if you can't look at the saddle in person before you buy it. Circle Y, Tex-Tan, Simco... all good brands.

        Good luck with your search. I wish you needed a 17.5 dressage saddle instead!
        Alis volat propriis.


        • Original Poster

          The guy that told me that also told me to check the fenders? (western equivalent of stirrup straps) to make sure that the stirrups could be adjusted short enough for me, as some of them are heavily tooled and flared so that they can only be shortened to a certain point. He really seemed like he knew what he was talking about, but who knows? I sure don't He also said that a 15" saddle would fit a lady better, while a 16" and up would be more suited to a man's build. He was old-school, so maybe that was true of older western saddles? He has since passed away so I can't ask him. He owned a tack shop and was always helpful with stuff in the past.


          • #6
            Originally posted by meaty ogre View Post
            The guy that told me that also told me to check the fenders? (western equivalent of stirrup straps) to make sure that the stirrups could be adjusted short enough for me, as some of them are heavily tooled and flared so that they can only be shortened to a certain point.
            I am dealing with that exact issue myself with the saddle that came with Scout. The fenders are just about 2 inches too long for me. It's not a massive problem but I do find myself reaching for the stirrups at a trot. I'm planning to take the saddle to a leather master this weekend and see if he can cut the fenders down for me.
            Alis volat propriis.


            • #7
              My husband is 6'2" and I'm 5'4" and we both ride in a 16 inch western saddle. 15 is too small and 16 is too big for me, so I bought a wool seat saver that snugs up my seat just enough to make it fit me perfect.

              I was always told the english to western saddle conversion was 2". If you ride a 17.5 - 18 english saddle you want a 15.5 - 16 western. There is some play with the seat size of western since the cantle and pomel can make a difference on how big the seat feels.

              Not sure how you feel about cleaning saddles? Personally, I won't own one with a bunch of tooling ever again. DH had a saddle with beautiful basket weave all over the entire thing. 2 years of cleaning it with a toothbrush to get the dust out of the crevices and that thing had to go. We still have two that have a fair amount of tooling, but none with basket weave.


              • #8
                Of the saddles you have posted, I like this one the best:


                Happy Trails~


                • #9
                  If your horse has ample shoulders I would look for saddles with full quarter horse bars (abbreviated as FQH). I wouldn't think you would want semi QH bars.

                  As far as seat size it sounds like you could go with either a 15" or 16". I ride in a 17.5" English saddle but swim in a 16" western saddle! I fit perfectly in a 15" western saddle.

                  I'm looking for a new saddle too, it's hard! I currently have an Ortho-Flex that is gorgeous and comfortable but heavy and hard for me to lift onto my horse.

                  I also want a short, round skirt since my horse has a short back.

                  Good luck!
                  Proud Native Texan!
                  owned by 3 Cardigan Corgi's + 3 wonderful horses!


                  • #10
                    One more idea, have you searched Craigslist?

                    I've found some neat saddles there and often times they are close enough that you can actually go see, touch and sit in the saddle!
                    Proud Native Texan!
                    owned by 3 Cardigan Corgi's + 3 wonderful horses!


                    • #11
                      Where are you located? Someone may know of a good saddle shop located near you where you can really look at, touch and sit on some saddles. We have a great on here in NC.


                      • #12
                        For everyone who mentioned light weight, please take a look at the new all leather Fabtron Cross Trails made right here in the good ol' USA. Only 20 pounds, super soft supple leather (no break in time), short round skirt. Great Great saddle! http://gallopinggrape.com/crosstrail...seatsizes.aspx
                        The Galloping Grape
                        Warrenton, VA


                        • #13
                          I'd check Tack Trader as well, they have a huge variety of saddles and some might be close enough to check out in person.

                          I ride in a 17.5 english saddle and can ride in a 15.5 western, but I like a little more room and ride in a 16" (the saddle in the post about shortening a saddle blanket). Mine is a trail saddle (gaited tree) but does fine for our local shows as well.

                          For sure stick to a name brand, you'll never regret it and even an older saddle will resell for pretty much what you paid for it.

                          I haven't seen, but what size horse are you buying for?