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Fallis Balanced Ride saddles: Do I still want one?

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  • #21
    Seems to me that a part of the Monte Foreman designed stirrups, was the fact that they could be adjusted forward or back, to suit the rider in getting aligned. They sure were "free-swinging" in that you could put boots on point of horse shoulder and up behind the skirts if you wanted to.

    The only pictures I could find of the adjustment system, were here. The last two photos of saddle upside down, and with the girthing system, show the three parts of fender straps I remember. And the slots of the locking device, key?, that made no thickness under your legs.


    I am not clear on that, but there were two places to set your stirrups for your personal "fit" in those Monte Foreman Balanced Ride saddles. You were NOT forced into a chair seat unless you didn't set your stirrups correctly. Posture was expected to be like any other riding, with head, hips, heels aligned as you sat there. If you were doing other, faster gaits, body would naturally shift to keep you in balance, free-swinging stirrups ALLOWED your legs to go where they needed to be.

    It was pretty radical thinking back then, being aligned, getting leads AS REQUESTED! Way out of the box for us eager students trying to improve ourselves and skills of our horses. Heck a common belief was that a Reining horse only had a specific amount of stops in him! Once you used up his number, he wasn't going to be a good stopper anymore!! Monte was the beginning of my "higher expectations" attitude in horse training. Can't get better if you don't "expect" it of your horse.


    • #22
      I wasn't commenting about anyone's ability to sit balanced in a saddle, but the saddle itself can make it easier or more difficult, depending on how that saddle is made and how well it fits the rider. I've ridden in saddles--western and English--that made sitting in a correct, balanced position very difficult, if not impossible. In my experience, many western saddles put the rider in a chair seat, back against the cantle with legs too far forward. In these saddles, it's very difficult to sit in any other position, even if you want to. That said, it seems like some saddlemakers are designing saddles that allow a more balanced seat, so that's a good thing.


      • #23
        Originally posted by zipperfoot View Post
        I wasn't commenting about anyone's ability to sit balanced in a saddle, but the saddle itself can make it easier or more difficult, depending on how that saddle is made and how well it fits the rider. I've ridden in saddles--western and English--that made sitting in a correct, balanced position very difficult, if not impossible. In my experience, many western saddles put the rider in a chair seat, back against the cantle with legs too far forward. In these saddles, it's very difficult to sit in any other position, even if you want to. That said, it seems like some saddlemakers are designing saddles that allow a more balanced seat, so that's a good thing.
        Sorry, not meaning to be commenting about your post. You are right, a lot of Western or English saddles don't let you move to be aligned correctly and comfortable during a ride. Copying each other, no one saddlemaker was creating new designs, didn't recognize the problems back then. Lots of chair seat problems still can be found today.

        My remarks were only about the "unique" design of the Monte Foreman stirrups, and my old memories of why they were different with the double adjustment features. No one had specifically mentioned Foreman's forward thinking in stirrup design to allow leg movement, alignment, though it has always been part of the total Foreman Balanced Ride saddle design.


        • #24
          No problem goodhors, my comment was directed mainly to cowboymom.

          IIRC you're correct about the logic behind the design. It's also been my experience with my saddle--the ability to freely move your legs in a western saddle took some getting used to at first, but I really liked it after that. Same with the less bulky rigging--I could actually feel my horse, not the rigging, under my leg.

          IMO, Monte Foreman was way ahead of his time when it came to horsemanship and saddle design. I highly recommend reading his books and articles if you can find them. Dave Jones was another good one.


          • Original Poster

            I do remember those weird tabs that let you put the stirrup where you wanted on the Fallis saddles-- front or back. But I don't remember how they work or messing with them.
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat


            • #26
              DITO what Zipperfoot said. My saddle was made in 1957, I've had the fleece replaced, and a few minor repares but it has another 50yrs in it.
              The link to St Ansgar Saddle is great resorce. Gary has several Fallis and other 'Balanced Ride' saddles. He is knowledgeable and honest, and willl let you try a saddle for a week or so. You can send him a wither tracing, and your seat size and he will tell you if he has something that will work.
              Circle Y makes a saddle that you can move the fender forward like a Fallis or back like an Equitation saddle. I'll try to look up model.


              • #27
                Here's a pretty Fallis on craigslist:

                “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey