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Fallis Saddles

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  • Fallis Saddles

    I am a hunt seat rider that likes to ride western too. Just got my dream horse, a QH filly that will ride both ways. Want to buy my own saddle and like what I have heard about Fallis. I have found a used endurance saddle, with a horn so it certainly has the look. I am used to riding in a close contact hunt saddle so thought this might be a logical pick for me.
    It has a slick fork, not really sure what that means, but there is not a lot up front. Looks light weight and has a padded seat (got to have that lol)
    Almost new for $1000
    Anyone use one or have an opinion to help me out?
    Thanks in advance!

    Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare

  • #2
    Is it a balanced ride saddle? The clinic I do has a lot of people who ride in Fallis Balanced Ride saddles and love them. That's a fantastic price too!


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by Tee View Post
      Is it a balanced ride saddle? The clinic I do has a lot of people who ride in Fallis Balanced Ride saddles and love them. That's a fantastic price too!
      It is the balanced ride. Thanks for your input. I really think I am going to go for it.

      Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare


      • #4
        I had one of those about 20+ years ago and, on steady ranch use, it fell apart in two years.
        Sent it in to be repaired and still it would not hold.
        Sold it to someone that was not riding much and for that, it probably is still doing it's job today.


        • #5
          The Fallis saddles were designed by their neighbor, Monte Foreman, a man way before his time. They have a three point in skirt latigo attachment, so there is no bulk under your knee, and stirrups hung so that you can post exactly the same as a hunt seat saddle. I have the Carmichael Roper, and loved it except for the dally post roper horn that impaled me when in a rough spot with a young horse. It is long retired in favor of my Doug Millholland Reining Saddle. Doug was an early student of Monte Foreman, and his name design saddle by Bob's Saddlery has the same balance and 3 point latigo holes as the Fallis Saddles.
          The only thing I did not like with some Fallis Saddles, a couple decades or more ago when they were made near to me in Elbert, Colo, is that the seat can be very wide, sort of like a table top with an uncomfortable edge angle under my thighs on each side.
          Last edited by Plumcreek; Aug. 25, 2012, 09:41 PM.
          Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


          • #6
            Well, I'm sure some people really like these saddles.
            Nothing at all wrong with giving it a try, it could be PERFECT for you and your horse.

            For me, though, no thanks on two counts:
            First, the 'flat seat'...a flat seat makes me feel like I'm sitting in a puddle, not on top of a horse.
            Seat design is nearly flat to place the rider into the groove and on the horse’s true center of gravity.
            (quote from the Fallis webpage)
            Some folks might have the pelvis structure to where this is actually comfortable, but I think it is likely only comfortable if your feet are braced out in front of you (your femurs going more forward than down)...hence the...

            Second, "Forward Hung Stirrups"
            Stirrups are designed to hang farther forward than conventional stirrups. This increases the riders stability and balance.
            (quote from the Fallis webpage)...unless you have a biggish behind, the stirrups really need to be hung so the stirrups are underneath you, so you can actually align shoulder, hip and heel. Unless you like to ride with your legs out in front of you like they traditionally do in Aussie saddles, or in western saddles with oxbow stirrups. If you really want those feet out in front of you, you'll need forward hung stirrups. But I don't!

            I'm riding right now in a Wade saddle with a Warren Wright tree. It has stirrups hung a LOT farther back than you normally see, as a request from the saddlemaker who specifically wanted the stirrups hung farther back than usual. You won't know the saddlemaker, he has no webpage etc but he's my friend and he made the saddle for himself, hoping for a dressage-type position. It is the only western saddle I've ever been in that is comfortable to gallop in- rather than having the saddle hold me in, I can wrap my legs around and get a stable grip, like I did when I was an eventer and would gallop to jumps. If it weren't for the big post roping horn, I'd jump big jumps in it, no problem.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks Fillabeana. The flat seat has me a little concerned now. I know someone who has one and I am going to try it before I decide. Thanks for explaining the forward stirrups too.
              I would like it to feel like a stock version of an English saddle too.

              Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare


              • #8
                Originally posted by Lilykoi View Post
                Thanks Fillabeana. The flat seat has me a little concerned now. I know someone who has one and I am going to try it before I decide. Thanks for explaining the forward stirrups too.
                I would like it to feel like a stock version of an English saddle too.
                That is why I bought a Fallis saddle many years ago, because they were advertised as riding like an English saddle, but they don't.
                They ride like a western saddle rider's idea of what an English saddle rides.
                They did make one of the lighter western saddles, that is true and that fits some western rider's market.
                Also, at that time, that saddlery didn't know how to shape a seat in a western tree right, that is an art.
                That is why their seat was flat and you could feel the bars after riding for a while. They may be better today.
                You can have that problem with the lower end western saddles of any brand.

                There is really no good way you can, on any kind of western tree, get the twist and balance you have in an English saddle.
                Wade saddles were also said to fit closer to an English saddle.
                The ones I tried didn't, they still feel, like most any western saddle, like riding on a log.
                Which is fine, you get used to that too.
                For my riding and conformation, I find a regular western saddle with standard swells the most effective and comfortable, although I still prefer my English saddle if given a choice.

                English and western designs in most saddles seem to be antagonistic with each other, because they are developed for very different uses and on very different trees.
                Unless you change the tree, you can only do so much over or under it.

                I think it makes more sense to develop riding skills in riders that can be used to adapt to any kind of saddle or discipline easily.

                There are many western saddles that ride very well for those used to English saddles.
                Who knows, a Fallis may be just that for you, if not, keep trying different saddles until you find what fits you best, for what you do horseback.


                • #9
                  Oh, I dunno. I have always ridden equal time in both western and english (both from a H-J and Dressage background), and I remember no problem at all with my Fallis Carmichael Roper saddle as to stirrup balance underneath me. The seat was narrow enough for me also. Maybe that was the only model where this was true, but I liked it, and did not like most of the flat seated Fallis saddles I sat in as a reining and cowhorse student of Gary Foreman, waaay back when. My Doug Millholland saddle is perfectly balanced for schooling in the exact same hunt seat position I would use in my hunter saddle, but has a horn for those moments when you need one to stay in the tack. I specifically searched for one of his branded saddles as I knew there would be no latigo lump under my knee. To me, the no knee lump aspect is important.

                  Bluey is correct that the Fallis family were not saddle makers before starting to make saddles for Monte Foreman, and were not expert saddle tree people in general.

                  I also remember that Monte Foreman did not ride with his legs pushed forward, and neither did Gary. (Although I do not have his book to check photos). Also interesting; that while the Monte Foreman reining stop was out of style for so long, and he was ridiculed as old hat, the stops that win now are exactly the same as he espoused 40 years ago. The idea was that the horse stops on its own, in self balance, no hard pull in the bridle, like a calf roping horse does to prepare for the impact of the calf hitting the end of the rope.
                  Last edited by Plumcreek; Aug. 26, 2012, 02:00 PM.
                  Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


                  • #10
                    Oh, I dunno. I have always ridden equal time in both western and english (both from a H-J and Dressage background), and I remember no problem at all with my Fallis Carmichael Roper saddle as to stirrup balance underneath me. The seat was narrow enough for me also.
                    Exactly the reason to give that used endurance saddle a try, it might work great for you.

                    There is really no good way you can, on any kind of western tree, get the twist and balance you have in an English saddle.
                    Wade saddles were also said to fit closer to an English saddle.
                    The wade saddle I am riding actually does give the twist and balance of a good dressage saddle. It's the only western saddle I've ever ridden that does- I think that for some people's pelvis/conformation, finding a western saddle that rides like a dressage saddle will be like finding a needle in a haystack.

                    Now, my mom has a 10 year old Billy Cook saddle of mine. I liked that saddle all right, for rides that weren't more than 3 hours long. It put me in an ok position to be fairly effective, but nothing like an english saddle. But for my mom, it puts her right where she should be, and for HER it rides like a dressage saddle. I think that has a lot to do with the conformation of her own pelvis and upper leg, and how big her...um...glutes are.
                    If you have two riders who fit properly in the same saddle (same seat size), and those two riders have different size butts, the rider with a smaller butt will have the stirrups effectively 'hung' farther in front than the rider whose larger behind puts the hip joint farther forward in the saddle.

                    As for flat/deep, or narrow seats, I personally like a western saddle seat that would shed water, rather than making a puddle, if you were to pour water on it. (Don't actually pour water on a saddle's seat! Just 'imagine if'.) I think maybe my trochanter/pelvic joint is farther down (vertically closer to my seat bones) than people who prefer a 'puddle' or flatter seat, and I think Bluey might have hip joints like this. You just feel like your legs are being forced outward or forward, rather than being allowed to hang down, in a flat seat. An english saddle can have a nice narrow twist and allow your legs to 'fall' down from the hips, and this feeling is REALLY, REALLY hard to find in a western saddle for me. Someone whose legs can hang right down in a flatter seat, probably has a differently placed hip joint, (both width between joints, and height of the joints above the seat bones).

                    So, go try it and see if you like it.

                    And Bluey, I'd love for you to try this saddle I'm riding- a little hard with the geographical distance, though, and the saddle isn't mine. I'm having one made that should ride the same (same treemaker, saddlemaker, and request for dimensions), though if it doesn't I'll just keep this one.


                    • #11
                      Back in the very early '80's, my husband each got a Fallis saddle. They never really fit any horse we put them on. And at the time I did not know enough to know that the stirrups were too far forward but later figured that out & once in a saddle w/proper placement, my sore knees stopped being sore & my overall balance riding was much better. On the other hand, my husband loved his & still has it. I sold mine off a long time ago.
                      The saddles could be different now. I believe it is the son making them now, not the original father.
                      There is no such thing as "bad" horsemanship or "good" horsemanship. There is simply Horsemanship or the absence thereof.



                      • Original Poster

                        I guess I am starting to rethink the Fallis saddle.
                        Couple of things are bothering me. The forward stirrups are sounding like they put you back on you seat too much. Maybe that's good for ranch work, but I will mostly be pleasure riding.
                        Extreme trail is intriguing too, but I don't think sitting in the backseat of a saddle will be good for that either.
                        Also the seat sounds like it may be uncomfortable too. I have kind of a flat bony butt, and edges can be torturous.
                        I have ridden in a friend's Sharron Saare. Maybe I will be going custom. After all, if you amortize over the life of your horse, not really that expensive. Used Fallis can be over $2000.
                        Thanks everyone for your input!

                        Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare


                        • #13
                          OP, it's a great price for a saddle that has a dedicated fan base. Google around and look for prices on ones that look similar in their condition. Note that there are few used ones to be found anywhere and/or are sold quickly.

                          Fallis still has a website, last time I checked, and will make new ones for much more money. I think you can call them with a serial number and they can tell you this saddle's specs.

                          I went through a Fallis Fetish phase myself. I have some honkin' heavy 1980s Equitation Buckets now that I really love, so I think I have moved on. But I remember liking the lightness, close contact feel and leather/craftmanship on the ones I saw in person. IIRC, the saddles I saw in the flesh were made in the early 1980s.

                          If you think you can resell it and don't mind going to the trouble, I'd buy it just to check it out. If you can condition it and take some great pictures, you might even make money on the deal.
                          The armchair saddler
                          Politically Pro-Cat