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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2006
    Knoxville TN

    Default Saddle recommendation - Western initially


    I am working with our local therapeutic riding program. We have a couple of bigger draft and draft cross horses in our program, which will allow us to cater for bigger and taller riders, which is excellent ! And now we need to raise funds for some wider saddles

    Do you know of any programs using draft crosses ? Do you use a western saddle on a Percheron, or Percheron cross, and can recommend me a manufacturer to talk to ?

    I am a new, starting out saddle fitter, but all my experience is in english saddles, so this is a new project for me. We will have a budget for these 2 saddles - obviously value for money is important, but 'cheapness' does not outweigh 'good fit' and 'built to last' as buying criteria.

    The two horses I am fitting for initially both have good strong backs, which are long enough to take larger seat sizes.

    So - ideas ? Who is currently making good, long-lasting, basic (not show !) western saddles ?

    We will be looking for English saddles in the near future too, so comments about those would also be welcome



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 6, 2010
    San Diego, CA


    Here are a couple of links
    Print out their cut out and put it to your horse's back to make sure they can actually take a full QH bar or if they need the Draft Bar.
    I always hit the closest horse auction and see if I can pick up a bigger cutting saddle as they have nice deep saddles and big horns for the people to grab onto. They also tend to not run into the 1k range but stay in the 6-700 range. Even the big 18" saddles of decent quality. Don't be shy to measure the saddles and lift the fenders to check for leather rot. Tooled saddles are just as easy to clean as plain. Western saddles are heavy monsters and a good one will weigh between 20-30lbs before girth etc. My ML Letty was 50lbs bare but my racing saddle was 20lbs. I don't remember the Tex Tan's weight as I sold it as soon as I stopped WP.

    I rode in an ML Letty cutting saddle for most competitions and ranch work and raced in a Circle Y. My WP saddle was a Tex Tan and I really really hated that saddle.

    Western Saddles are all about the padding and are much easier to fit than English saddles. We used wool pads and then bought navaho blankets and put over them for the various shirts I had.
    Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
    Originally Posted by alicen:
    What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
    Brooklyn, Wisconsin


    Remember to look at the backs of your draft and draft-crosses as individuals, just as you would with any other horse. Although he's huge, my 18.2hh Belgian draft gelding is only wide enough for semi-QH bars if I'm putting a western saddle on him.

    Mostly I ride English, but I also own a Circle Y Park and Trail saddle with semi-QH bars that's quite comfortable and secure, and an old Hereford roping saddle with full QH bars that's a little less supportive, but extremely comfortable and well-made.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2006
    Knoxville TN


    Ok, thanks guys. I did measure both their backs, taking tracings, and they are both wide, but not the super-wides I was expecting. The boy, who is a cross actually looks quite good in a MW Collegiate close-contact, which I always find quite bizarre.

    I will get talking to some manufacturers. I would love to economise and get them a used saddle, but the liability is probably too high right now ... hmm..... I do have western buddies I could take with me to the local auction though....

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