Saddle Questions - what type?

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nj gsp
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Saddle Questions - what type?

Post by nj gsp » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:23 pm

I posted this on another site, thought I'd post here too - always helpful to get lots of opinions!

So, I have some questions about saddles, but I should give a little background first:

In February 2011 my wife was diagnosed with colon cancer - stage 4, it had already spread to her liver. 45 is too young to have colon cancer - usually it's not something they look for until you're 50. It's been a rough road, but although her liver is inoperable, with chemo and radiation it's been knocked back to where she's doing pretty well and is feeling pretty well too. I went to a field trial back in August where there were rental horses available, and I got the idea that as my wife loves horses, maybe we could go trail riding. It would be something fun my wife & I could do together.

I've got lots of experience mucking stalls, and I had been under a horse once - pulled and re-shoed a horse under the supervision of a farrier friend (which made it abundantly clear I was not made to be a farrier) but I'd never ridden before. When I suggested to my wife we rent some horses and go trail riding, she said, "You are not going trail riding until you take some lessons first."

So we started taking western riding lessons together back in August. Although she was a little rusty at first, my wife is an English rider with some jumping experience. She's been a horse girl since her first lesson when she was 7, and she got her first horse at 12, so she has really been enjoying getting back into riding. I'm having a good time too, and just wish we'd started riding together sooner.

"Horse therapy" has done her worlds of good. We were thinking about getting a horse we could both use, and we were talking about a TWH so I could use it in trials. We were going to take a trip in the next couple of weeks to try out some TWHs with a trail ride outfit to see how she liked them, and also get a feel for trooper saddles.

But opportunity knocked, and we've ended up getting a very nice 14.2h 15 year old quarter horse mix gelding for her. An experienced trail horse, he is dead calm, steady, and bomb proof. He has a nice smooth jog and canter. My wife fell in love with him instantly, and I could not say no. He's the perfect horse for her and she's just tickled pink, I haven't seen her smile this much in a long time. He's probably a little small for me, but that's OK - he's her horse and it's not about me anyway.

We'll get the horse this Saturday, but we have no tack, no gear, no nothing - which brings me around to my saddle questions...

Are trooper saddles better suited to gaited horses, and if so should we just get a western saddle for my wife?
Are troopers more comfortable than western saddles? What are the advantages of one over the other?
If we get her a trooper, what size? My wife is 5' tall, and I'm 6' - from what I've seen troopers are 16" or 18", would we both be able to use an 18"?

I'll add that an endurance saddle was suggested as an option, and we might have a lead on a nearly new used one.

Thanks for any help/suggestions!

Hey, and why not - if anyone has a used saddle in good shape they wouldn't mind parting with, let me know!

jimbo&rooster
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Re: Saddle Questions - what type?

Post by jimbo&rooster » Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:58 am

Saddle type is purely a matter of personal prefrence. As long as the saddle fits both horse and rider anything goes. I ride our gaited horses, in western, trooper, and plantation saddles, and have been known to get silly from time to time and toss an old english saddle on and go for a ride.

For a beginner, I would always recomend a western saddle. They are a little more secure and in my opinion easier to get in and out of.

I personally like a trooper saddle, but you need to try one out before you buy one, and keep in mind they are not all the same.

Jim
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tenbearsviz
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Re: Saddle Questions - what type?

Post by tenbearsviz » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:09 pm

nj gsp,

Search around here for other threads asking the same question.

Having changed from western to trooper and back to western, I agree that it is a matter of comfort (you and the horse) and preference.

One MAJOR difference between a trooper and a western is that a trooper may (not all brands) elevate you off the horses back a bit. This gives the rider a higher center of gravity. This matters if the rider doesn't have the best balance in the world, one jig spin and you or your wife could be out of balance and on your melon. On the flip side, it can help comfort sitting a trot.

I prefer western because it keeps me closer to the horse. A good trail saddle will have all the rings to carry gear that a trooper has.

Bottom line, go with what makes you comfortable.

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daniel77
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Re: Saddle Questions - what type?

Post by daniel77 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:17 pm

if you decide to go western, I recommend CORRIENTE SADDLE CO. New saddle for about 600 bucks. My son has one and I am very impressed with the quality for the money. imo you can easily spend twice as much for half the saddle. Mod assoc. Is the basic western saddle style.
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nj gsp
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Re: Saddle Questions - what type?

Post by nj gsp » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:02 pm

Here's an update:

We picked up a new Tucker Endurance trail saddle, with English rigging and fenders. Wow, was it comfortable! But it does not give very good contact with the horse. I tried it out, and got my first "ye-hah" moment when he did a few pirouettes but I stayed in the saddle just fine. The way the skirting is cut led to our legs putting pressure on it, which led to a lot of confusion as the horse was getting cueing my wife & I were not intentionally trying to give him. He did have some training as a ranch sorting horse... So, we returned it.

My wife has decided to go western. So we'll see what she ends up with. Thanks for the suggestions!

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DonF
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Re: Saddle Questions - what type?

Post by DonF » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:07 am

There is a saying about horse's. The best thing for the inside of people is the outside of a horse. Good luck to you!
I pity the man that has never been loved by a dog!

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nj gsp
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Re: Saddle Questions - what type?

Post by nj gsp » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:57 pm

Here's another update:

My wife ended up with a Fabtron Lady Trail, and absolutely loves it - it was super comfortable to start with but she got a fleece seat pad and loves it even more. I bought a Tucker Cheyenne Frontier (wide tree) with the close contact square skirt, western rigging, fenders, & oversize stirrups - and love it. Fits me really well, it's super comfortable, and I've been surprised to find it fits every horse I've had it on so far, including a Belgian draft cross.

And DonF you are right! My wife loves her horse, and it has made such a difference for her. Best money I've ever spent!

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