• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Stepping Over To The Dark Side

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Stepping Over To The Dark Side

    Hello all!

    After 16 years of being an english-disciplines-only rider, I'm going to take the plunge into the "dark side" of the western world. I have a 14 year old German Riding Pony that I currently do dressage and jumpers with, but lately I think he's been telling me that he wants to be a western pony! He's got a fabulous jog and LOVES to go long and low like a pleasure horse, and has the super-chill 'whatever' mindset of a good western horse, so we're going to give the western thing a whirl.

    There is just SO MUCH NEW INFORMATION to take in! I'm starting with looking at saddles and trying to learn what I need, what to avoid, how they should fit, etc. and it's a little overwhelming. I do have a friend who shows western pleasure and horsemanship on the APHA circuit whose brain I will be picking to death, but do any of you have advice for someone just starting out with riding western? If all goes well our eventual goal would be pleasure and/or horsemanship classes at VERY local shows, just for fun.

    So... what should I be looking for in a saddle? My pony is 14.1 with a somewhat narrow shoulder, and I ride in a 17" close contact saddle, so I'm thinking we need a 15" pleasure-type saddle with semi-QH bars, would that be appropriate? Then of course there are all the variations in rigging positions, stirrup bar placement, tree shapes, padding, AHH! Any brands to avoid like the plague? Things to look for in a good western saddle? I'm a good judge of quality and fit as far as english saddles go, but I want to make sure I cover all the bases with what I should be looking for in a western one.

    The local shows by me abide by AQHA rules, so I can't ride him in a snaffle since he's over 6, and he goes in a plain D-ring for flatwork and jumping now. What type of curb bit would be a good "starter" bit to try? He tends to get heavy in front once in a while anyway, so I'm not worried about leverage being "too much" for him!

    Thank you for reading that novel! Whew! I'm very excited to try something new.
    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique


  • #2
    Welcome to the dark side. I grew up showing hunters and jumpers and now I ride reiners and cow horses. Such fun.

    Saddles -- do you like narrow twist or wide on your english saddle? Western saddles can vary widely. Personally, I hate the wide twist western saddles. My hips kill me if I ride too long in a wide. There is a reason there are "ladies" reining saddles.

    I would avoid barrel saddles (trap you in position), roping saddles (pitch you forward), and bling (costly). I have too many saddles -- barrel, roping, cow horse, reining, and pleasure, but I really like my reining saddles best. Decent pocket to keep your seat where it should be, fenders that swing to allow your leg forward or under you. When I ride a large fast circle, I am in two point, so a reining saddle does not mean a chair seat. Also, most reining horses are short, 15 hands is a big horse in that world, so finding a saddle appropriate for a 14.1 horse may be easier.

    I would also recommend a double rigging (to allow for a back cinch). Most people show pleasure and equitation without a back cinch, but if you start working with cattle or trail riding, you will want a back cinch. Just make sure that you can take the back cinch off until needed.

    Saddle fit can be difficult. The width is only one piece of the puzzle. I have semi bars and full quarter bars that work on the same horse because of the rest of the tree shape.

    A lot of the reining type tack shops will let you test ride the saddles at shows, others have demo saddles they send out with a deposit. A lot may depend on if you are looking at used or new. In Colorado, some of the tack shops that carry used saddles will let you test ride or at least see if the tree fits the horse.

    Padding is not really an issue, just make sure you have a good saddle pad. Pad choice is overwhelming. you can get wool felt, neoprene, synthetic felt, and all sorts of other options. A simple 3/4 or 1" inch thick contour back wool pad can be a good place to start.

    Brands -- check out the thread on favorite saddles. Quality is quality. If you know a good english saddle, you should be able to gauge western saddles. I have shown at high levels in a "cheap" but well made RS Training saddle because it fit me and it fit my horse. I did as well in that saddle as the custom Bobs I had the next year.

    Bits -- borrow and try bits until you find what your horse likes. How soft your hands are will make a difference in what works as does what mouth piece your pony likes in a snaffle. You may be able to find the same mouth in a shank bit.

    Have fun!



    • Original Poster

      Thank you so much for all of the information! I'm picking my APHA friend's brain as well, everything you said was super helpful.
      Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique



      • #4
        Ditto Appyreiners comments.


        • #5
          You are generally correct on seat size- 17" English would generally mean 15" western- but double check, proper fit for 'you' means you should be able to get a couple of fingers between your thigh and the base of the pommel at closest point. I also prefer a narrower twist- I have a McCall that is wider, I do use it on one horse as it's the best fit for him- on the other hand my custom narrower saddle fits both that big 16h fellow and my 14h mare as a function of tree construction and angle (very spooky that the withers clearance is identical on both). And speaking of withers clearance, you need to be able to get two fingers between pommel and withers when rider is in saddle.

          I also prefer a reining saddle generally, or a cutting saddle.


          • #6
            Hey! I thought that "Eventing" was "The Dark Side". Western can be "The Cool Side", because "The Dark Side" is already taken.
            When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


            • Original Poster

              Thank you SO MUCH for the input everyone! I have also been picking my APHA friend's brain like CRAZY! We're headed out to the PA Horse Expo this weekend and I'm psyched to get to sit in some saddles and soak up some western knowledge.
              Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique



              • #8
                let us know what you decide on!!!! have you decided for sure what discipline within the western world you want to do??
                Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors

                Stop Wasting Hay and Extend Consumption Time With Round Bale Hay Nets!!


                • Original Poster

                  Update from the expo, with a couple more questions for y'all! I was able to check out a TON of equipment, sit in some saddles, watch the most gorgeous, soft palomino reiner and his rider, and I bought a headstall & reins.

                  I sat in quite a few saddles and had a Crates rep give me the low-down on fit, what to look for, appropriate types of saddles for what I want to do, etc. He was awesome! The saddle I liked best just from sitting in it was a Crates reining saddle, it just felt effortlessly balanced and secure without making me feel trapped, so now I know what to look for when I start combing through used saddles in my area.

                  So... question on saddle pads! I see that there are thick "work" pads, and then there are show "blankets", which are SO thin, it seems to me that you can't just switch back and forth between the two for schooling and show without drastically altering fit?! How does this system work?

                  equinekingdom, I'm going to do some pleasure and horsemanship type riding. My pony has that "low & slow" way of going naturally, so I think he'll enjoy it.
                  Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique



                  • #10
                    The pretty show blankets go on over your work pad, or another pad just for when you show that's still thick like a work pad. Provides ample cushion plus protects that pricey show pad.


                    • #11
                      I very much like the Crates reiner, sadly, it didn't fit my gelding (not enough withers clearance). As to thickness of pad, thicker does not always equal better. You need to check your basic saddle fit without a pad and go from there. Too thick of a pad can cause too much pressure in some areas, particularly base of withers, depending of course on the saddle and the shape of the horse. I've used the full gamut from a single layer Navajo to a Navajo over a one inch thick wool pad. I'm currently using this type on both horses (First one on top of page): http://www.bigbendsaddlery.com/saddlepads.html

                      It's just a basic ranch pad but I don't show a lot these days, could throw a Navajo over the top for such a need. For use with my round-skirted McCall I use the round pad shown at bottom of page.

                      In general, I much prefer wool, whether the wool felt pad or a wool blanket.


                      • #12
                        The western world has a version of the 'baby pad", which is a 3/8" to 5/8" pressed felt pad, that goes under the navajos or show pads, and is totally machine washable. They are usually 30" X 30" and can be found in Schneiders and other tack supply catalogs online. Price is right.

                        I am always intrigued by the pricey tech-age work pads, but when I see them in trainer's tack rooms, the underside always has a hard layer of sweat/dirt caked on. Exactly how does that absorb sweat?? I would rather have something I can wash and keep cleaner.
                        Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks for the information on pads, very helpful. We had our first ride in his new western bridle yesterday and the switch from a snaffle to a leverage bit was a non-event. Love my pony! Plus he looks ADORABLE in it.
                          Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique



                          • #14
                            I had a similar question a year or so ago and got great advice on this thread:



                            • Original Poster

                              Just had to share a pic of my sweet boy in his western bridle... we've been working in it bareback & in my english saddle until I can save up enough to get a western one, and he gave me the most AWESOME jog the other day! Plus he looks so cute.

                              Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique