Dixieland gaited saddles?

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Dixieland gaited saddles?

Post by Dirtysteve » Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:14 pm

Anybody ever ride one of these?

Looking at buying a new saddle and don't know if I want one of these or a Tucker.

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Re: Dixieland gaited saddles?

Post by jimbo&rooster » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:53 pm

i just went through the saddle search an settled on a tucker after looking for almost 2mos. very happy with the decision.

A limit on the strap is nice, but the kill has nothing to do with tradition.

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Re: Dixieland gaited saddles?

Post by Barry Ward » Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:34 pm

Had two Dixieland saddles. My wife currently rides one and likes it very much. I sold mine after purchasing it for a young green broke horse moved on - comfortable, well made, heavy. Another option is Crest Ridge - located in Missouri - well made, and will return a stock saddle if it doesn't fit. Both Cynthia at Dixieland and Debra at Crest Ridge are knowledgable and know a lot about saddle fit.

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Re: Dixieland gaited saddles?

Post by rockyridge kennels » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:23 pm

Give Kevin Parish (thesaddleguy.com) a call. I have two saddles on order with him now.

He maybe able to help you out.

Good luck.

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Re: Dixieland gaited saddles?

Post by Kmack » Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:54 pm

rockyridge kennels wrote:Give Kevin Parish (thesaddleguy.com) a call. I have two saddles on order with him now.

He maybe able to help you out.

Good luck.
I have two saddles, headstalls, saddle bags, breast plates, and reins all made by Kevin. Couldn't be happier.
If you want to talk, PM me and I will send my phone number.

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Re: Dixieland gaited saddles?

Post by Crl » Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:15 pm

Dirtysteve wrote:Anybody ever ride one of these?

Looking at buying a new saddle and don't know if I want one of these or a Tucker.
I have one. It is my favorite saddle. I have and have had tuckers but I prefer the Dixieland Gaited Saddle. A bit heavier than a tucker but well built.


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Re: Dixieland gaited saddles?

Post by fourseasons » Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:02 am

Have had several Tuckers - nice saddles as far as material and workmanship, but weren't the most comfortable ones to ride after a few hours (at least for me).

Currently have a Dixieland that's very well made, quality leather and workmanship... it is a bit heavy, but otherwise a wonderful saddle! Dixieland's 'endurance' saddles are their lightest model, I believe. The Dixielands are designed for gaited horses and use a Steele tree, or look at the Allegheny Mountain trail saddles -- gaited breeds tend to need more 'flair' at the shoulders.

Whatever you buy, be SURE to measure the horse you want the saddle to fit before ordering a saddle... saddles are NOT one-size-fits-all and way too many horses act up and/or become sore from poorly-fitting tack :-( Saddle sellers' websites usually have instructions for how to measure a horse for their saddles. And know, too, that a horse's conformation will change over time as it ages, loses/gains condition and weight, carries a rider over time, etc.

Most saddlers that use the Steele (brand) saddle trees will allow you to rent saddle forms to try on your horse before you order a saddle.

Added some ideas below for those who might be new to saddle buying/fitting and looking for guidance -- not a pro saddle fitter, but having bought many saddles over the years and having seen too many horses that were either acting-out or off due to poor saddle (and bridle/bit/tack) fit, here are a few things you might want to check when buying a saddle:

* Does the tree pinch or bind around the horse's shoulders, or can the shoulder blade/skin move freely beneath the front of the saddle - as a general rule the saddle's gullet should be seated about two-fingers width behind the rear of the horse's shoulder blade when tacking up. As mentioned before, many gaited breeds tend to need more 'flair' in the front of the saddle at the shoulders

*Are there any pressure points from the base of the fork/gullet (front "upside-down V" of the saddle) against the horse's side that will cause a problem over time, or looking from the front of the horse does the line of the gullet from the pommel downward on the front edge of the saddle smoothly follow the line of the horse's body without tight spots and/or gaps

*Is there adequate clearance above the horse's withers and across the horse's spine - even with a rider's weight in the saddle so as to avoid compression on the horse

*Does the saddle sit 'level' when properly adjusted on the horse's back, when viewing from the side - not pommel high or rear-seat high

*Is there 'rock' in the saddle - if you put the saddle on your horse and place a hand on the pommel (front) and cantle (back of seat) and alternately push down on each end, does the opposite end rise (or 'rock') -- that's a no-no!

*Do the bars of the saddle (the areas under the saddle that rest on either side of the horse's spine and carry the rider's weight) make smooth contact with the horse's back from the front to the back without bridging (when contact is primarily at the front of the saddle and rear of the saddle, but not adequate in the middle area that is 'bridging' and can generate undue pressure points at the front and rear of the saddle) - the purpose of the bars are to distribute the weight of the rider evenly over the back of the horse

*Do the bars (under and sides) of the saddle rest adequately on the horse's back, angle-wise -- you want to be sure that the angle of your saddle bars aren't too wide (flat) or too narrow ("V") for your horse's back, in which case the bars aren't doing their job properly. You also want to check the length of the bars and see if they are too long for your horse's length of back - the rear of the saddle if too long can end up putting too much pressure over the horse's kidney area or can distribute the rider's weight too far back and onto the weaker area of the horse's back.

*Is the length and shape of your saddle's rear skirt/jockey allowing your horse freedom to move its hind legs sufficiently backward and forward from the hip -- many TWH and other gaited breeds tend to be shorter in back than non-gaited breeds, and they tend to step under and past their mid-sections more than non-gaited breeds... a saddle that has a long, square skirt can rub/sore/interfere with a horse's hip area. Gaited horse saddles often come with round/rounded rear skirts which take the saddle leather away from the top of the horse's hip bone.

Because horses DO constantly change in muscle/fat mass over time and to varying degrees, there's no such thing as a long-term 'perfect' saddle fit - however for horses that don't vary greatly in those changes (unlike a young horse that is growing/maturing) a reasonably well-fitting saddle can often be tweaked as needed with quality saddle pads/padding that account for minor adjustments when needed. Even a great pad WILL NOT fix a poorly-fitted saddle!

And when choosing a size saddle to fit the rider:

*Consider that a horse should not be carrying a rider's weight past the horse's last rib -- you can feel the last rib with your hand - put a little mark/sticker at that spot and then put your saddle on the horse and adjust the saddle as it would be placed when riding... look and see where your weight in the saddle would rest in relation to that last rib spot.

*Though saddle makers use inches to describe saddle seat size (distance front to back), there's a big difference between a 16" flat-seated saddle and a 16" deep-seated saddle! Check out the *thigh* opening distance of the saddle's seat between the back of the pommel and the front lower edge of the cantle (in western-style saddles and some endurance saddles) -- if you have a wide thigh or a long upper leg that will be a consideration for you too, not just seat size in inches.

Remember that even if you find a saddle that fits you brilliantly, you likely won't be able to use it well on multiple horses - no more than a favorite pair of jeans fits everyone who might try them on ;-)

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