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Hello All -
I have owned a Sportsaddle for about 5+ years now. I also still use a treed western saddle, a bareback pad, and a modified Natural Ride. For pads, I use Toklat Woolback, Reinsman, and assorted pads that I have purchased and modified. My three kids are Kit (14.3 Appy at 1100lb., 18 yrs.), Bobby (14.3 Arab at 900 lb., 10yrs.) and Dani (15.3 QH at 1200 lb., 11yrs.). All scale weight (on the truck scales, although they don't like to stand on them!). Kit and Bobby have slightly longish backs for their height, and lower withers, with Kit's back also being broad and "bareback friendly". Bobby is more "streamlined". Dani has a shorter back and sharper withers, she is halter bred.
Kit is the one I originally bought the SS for. She's had more saddles than most people have socks, and it is what worked the best for her, without a doubt. The SS is secure, lightweight and easy care. However, as the years have passed, I find she is slightly dipping in her back, (pix from when she was six yrs. old, and through until now). She got hair rub in the winter the past year, and has started "complaining" ever so slightly about her SS (and also any other saddle now). Rather than shim the pad for the SS (Iwould lose "feel"), I ride her with either the bareback pad or the Natural Ride. She loves this, I think she just wants to "take it easy" now, and let the younger kids do all the work ('specially since she helped me train them!).
Bobby does great in the SS (5 yrs). Dani also (even with her nice short back). Dani also alternates with a treed western saddle that I happened to find used (pure luck), 'cause I liked the looks of it. I rode it for a week+ before I bought it. I think it is a good idea to alternate saddles if you do a lot of miles, it has worked very well for us. I don't need to shim the treed saddle (yet, anyway, maybe as she gets older). It is my dream to someday have a traditional western saddle built, just need to #1- save $$$ (!!!), and #2- decide which kid to build it for! Love the "cowboy look", the "real" cowboy, not the "showring" model. I want to show again, but not in a "show" saddle!
I weigh about 150, 5'6", long legs/short waist/top heavy, and carry about 5lbs. of extras when I ride. That and the SS/pad don't bother either horse, whether I ride at speed (two point or post), slow walk/jog, level ground/climbing/downgrade.
The SS is one of the best things they've come up with, I have too many miles on too many horses (can one have too many horses? :)) to be shown otherwise. Like someone else posted, I, too have seen far more horse and rider problems caused by treed saddles, and of the approx 10-11 people I know who ride SS, (for 5-6 yrs, exclusive saddle), not one has had any com-
plaints. Limiting factors? Of course, just like anything else, but they fit a broader range, there is no doubt about that, and I am sure that down the road there will be an assortment of wither widths to chose from. Pricey? Yeah, overpriced, (basically a bareback pad you can mount), but look at some of the other stuff we buy ($40K trucks, $30K trailers, even $50 pommel packs, now all That's crazy).
Lightweight, medium- or heavyweight, I don't know what the cut-off is. I weigh 150lbs. (I already know I'm no featherweight, my clothes tell me that!). Can someone tell me what weight class I would be in? Do you include your saddle/tack/extras, also?
Thanks & Ride Safe -
Cheryl in WNY
Horse Kids Kit, Bobby & Dani

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