Saddle advice for the "can't take another fall" rider?
I was reading the thread on saddle for the para rider and realized many of you probably are like me and need a good safe saddle. I have one broken ankle and have injured both feet and muscle weakness in my legs. I'm a trail rider who doesn't want to quit but I really can't take more falls. I've been riding a Steele Plantation saddle which is very comfortable and has a nice deep seat however its to narrow for my horse and thats the only tree available. I liked the Steele because it combined a comfy , deep seat like a western but with english billets . My knees kill me in a western saddle. The Aussie saddle feel safer but again have narrow trees. I tried the wintec Aussie and wow thats one uncomfortable saddle.
So anyone happy with their saddle ?, any suggestions for safe secure and comfortable for me and my horse.
I do ride gaited as I can't post and I now love the cadillac ride.
So saddle do you ride?
I have several saddles, and the one that I go to when I want to minimize risk - because, let's face it, there is no saddle that you can't fall out of - is an Abetta endurance. Nice plushy deep seat. I love it for trail rides. It's like sitting on a cloud.
I ride my rm in a wide Arabian Saddle Company Solstice. It is deep, but not overly deep, and pretty much there is NO way you can come out of this saddle. It is squishy and comfy and very secure on the horse. I also ride with a long stirrup due to knee issues too. I am a former endurance rider, so comfort it really high on my list. Yes, caddy ride!
I use it on my youngster and whilst one would think it can't be doing much, it does A LOT.
I've even noticed when my other horses play up, I've come to rely on the gadget being there with the young one, I need to pay attention when riding without.
It is ever so helpful in situations where the horse makes you loose your balance due to spooking, bucking etc.
It pulls you back into the saddle.
When a horse spooks or does something unexpected, often the riders hands go up and control is lost, this will keep your one hand right where it needs to be, locking you back to the saddle. It also allows the body to follow the horse when a sudden unexpected change of direction happens.
When a horse spooks naturaly your body will tense and lock especially your elbows will lock themselves which works perfectly combined with this gadget keeping your hands low, pulling you into the saddle whilst still allowing freedom to correct the horse by giving rein-aids unlike a grabbing strap.
It does not interfere with any rein aids at any time.
I rider in a Tucker Equitation Endurance saddle which is made on a western tree but has English girth rigging and English stirrup leathers (that you can put above or below the flap). Nice pommel for security but no horn. Also lots of rings for attaching things.
You can get Tuckers in regular, wide and, I think, extra wide trees. I believe they have a loaner/trial program. They also make a Plantation saddle but I'm not sure if it has English rigging as an option. The website is http://www.tuckersaddles.com
It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.
I am a HUGE fan of Aussie saddles. They really help you keep your seat. I attribute one to keeping me alive:
I went on a riding trip abroad & some of the riding was nuts (Yes, Man From Snowy River, here I come). They had hunt seat saddles, and I have never been able to ride in one of those w/out feeling like I am 1) sitting on horse's neck & 2) leaning forward like crazy.
Anyway, they happened to have an Australian stock saddle that they let me use instead. It was awesome. We rode for 10 days, up & down mountains, I had to gallop to keep up with crazy non-English speaking guide, who also liked to jump his mountain pony over gates & fences (like, fences to keep in cows, not fences created to jump!).
Also, we often would stop to say hi to shepherds, who would give us sinus clearing grain liquor, so did I mention that often I had a buzz going when this guy decides to mount up & tear out of camp?
The mare I was riding had some ideas of her own about where I should be, and most of the time this was NOT on her back.
I never once felt like I was going to come off (and I do NOT attribute a lot of that to my skills). That thing held me in place like no one's business. I am 100% sure that if I tried that trip in another saddle I would have been brought back on litter.
I like the english stirrups, the shape & position of the saddle & I liked that the one I had was horn-less, b/c a large metal spike near my pelvis seems like a recipe for disaster.
I bought a cheap one for use on a stock horse type that I leased. It has been great for trails, etc.
If the Wintec wasn't a good fit, maybe try others? I got a wide tree that fit a very round paint horse & also a Friesian.
Loove me some luc chelderic saddles nice and deep yet non restrictive, iride with either mdc bow balance or regular flex stirrups with those wrap around super comfort pads- they make a huge difference in keeping stirrups and foot soreness for me those pad are a godsend.
I also ride with a thinline trifecta pad it is a thinline on a cotton half pad. Bucking stap or i take the neck loop of a cheap martingale to make a inexpensive neck stap, also hunter breastpllates make good hold straps.
I second the full chaps suggestion.
Good point about having the right horse, Foxtrot. Having a trusted horse is the best way to lessen the risk. My horse was green, green, green still when I first started having pain. She's been in and out of training since then, and I did get almost two whole months more on her last summer. Thankfully, she takes care of me and was a little angel the few times I managed to climb (literally ) on her. I would probably have sold her for an older, been-there-done-there type if she wasn't such a good girl.
When I put a total beginner on my horse, I used to put them in a western saddle, thinking that they'd feel more secure and the horn would be helpful. Not so much.
The second time each person would ride, I'd offer to let them use one of my dressage saddles, just for the heck of it, since to me, they feel much more comfortable and secure. I figured that was just because I was used to English rather than western. Nope! Every beginning rider who tried a dressage saddle vastly preferred it to a western saddle, and agreed on the comfort and feeling of security the dressage saddle provided.
Just my experience, but from now on, I'll start folks off in a dressage saddle!
I've got a pair of full chaps in suede and love them. But, I find deerskin full-seat breeches much better in terms of both comfort and security in the saddle. The full chaps are heavy and a bit restrictive in comparison to deerskin full-seats. Regular leather just isn't the same as deerskin either, deerskin is both more flexible (moves WITH you) and has better grip in the saddle (without gluing you in).
So if I wanted the most secure trail ride possible, I'd go with a good, deep dressage saddle and a pair of full-seat breeches with deerskin leather.
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Thanks for all the suggestions. My safe MFT is now 23 with some stifle issues so i need a new horse. All of you know that it takes a while to know and adjust to a new horse. Tucker saddles have a wide twist, I tried the Tucker plantation and it killed my back. I'm a skinny women with narrow hips,weak legs, bad back and broken ankle hence staying away from western fenders. I tried wide stirrups which felt great but i slipped off once and my paddocks boots stuck to the stirrup pad so my foot was not coming out of the stirrup. I was riding my good mare who stood calmly till i could pull the stirrup off my foot and throw them away. That treaded bottom is comfortable but very dangerous.
I know ,lots of issues but I have tried many options only to find someones technical ideas don't necessarily translate to safe comfortable ridding. I was disappointed in the Wintec stock saddle but have learned its the older ones that work well, like so many things new saddles just aren't made as well since the economic depression. All the manufactures are buying cheaper materials to save money. I can't even find a toaster that last a few yrs. remember when appliances didn't wear out you just got tired of them.
Back to horses, I will contact the Aussie dealers with wider trees. My horse aren't that wide being gaited but Aussies used to be made for the Aussie horse, a very different build than American horses.
I even tried the swivel western stirrup but found that they locked my foot in place. I like English leathers and stirrups because I can change my leg/ankle position easily and freely and also change the length of the leathers so my Knees can be in different positions during a long ride. Its great to be able to adjust stirrup length w/o having to dismount.
I hope some saddle maker is following these threads.
What I left out is that the horse I bought to replace my mare is a wonderful, sweet, beautiful and fantatsic gaited TWH,smooth, great ground manners, a lover of people and saved my life once. Whats wrong with this Adonis is that every once and a while something will really scare him and he has a sudden spin that will unseat me. He normally brave and forward horse but when his flight response goes off (usually for something real ) he is going to disappear. If I can stay on for the spin I can handle his run rather easily. So yes I'm going to need a different horse. He really is a keeper and any decent rider can handle him but I'm not able to anymore . Of course my feeling unsafe and always on guard for the spook doesn't help him relax.I rode him for several years w/o a problem and love this boy, but................