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RE: The Saddle Hunt - One more time...

Congrats on your new horse!!  We just got a new youngster (4 yo) and we're faced with finding a saddle to fit him, too.  We already have 11 saddles that don't fit him (but fit everyone else).  Aaarrggh!  (And I promised my husband that the next horse would fit a saddle we already have!)  :-O  I'm hoping to barter some other tack for a saddle that fits him until he gets into condition.
Reconsider wanting the horn - if you ride where it is hilly or where you have to go up some steep inclines, you won't like it.  Ever get hung on the horn by your bra?  (Explain that to your boyfriend!)  Ever get hit in the chest so hard that you go to the hospital with a bruised heart?  (My friend nearly died after he was hit as they lounged up a steep embankment.)  You DON'T want to do it!!  Horn are for roping - not endurance!  (Only exception in my book is if the horse is hard to fit & it's the ONLY saddle you've found that otherwise fits.)
If you want the added security for bucks and high speed turns & shies, consider an australian saddle with poleys or an endurance saddle with thigh blocks.  They are life savers!  A hornless pommel is nice if you are used to a western style saddle.  You probably don't want a saddle that sits you to the rear in a pocket like some western saddles.  You won't be over the horse's center of balance and you will both get sore.
If he has a longer back that is relatively flat (but with withers) the Orthoflex saddles may work for him.  They have western english & endurance models with flexible hinged panels to conform to his back.  These saddles are LONG which is why mine doesn't fit the new fella.  I'm using an OF Express Lite which is a cross between an english & western saddle in the seat, a hornless pommel, and a very balanced position for the stirrups.  It works great on my LARGE 16H polish arab.
Sharon Saare makes western & endurance models of saddle on a variety of trees that are sized.  If you need a size C tree, it will be the same in every saddle she makes.  There are a variety of folks who saddle fit for her all over the US.  (She was one of the original saddle makers for endurance saddles.)  Call her for the nearest saddle fitter at:

Saddles by Sharon Saare

If you go with a western style, try to get stirrup leathers (under the fenders) that are narrower than 2".  The thick wide ones will make your knees ache.  Also look for a rigging that is either adjustable from center fire to full, or one that is 3/4, 5/8, or center fire depending on your horse's conformation.  Center fire works if the horse doesn't have a wide rib cage that narrows directly behind the front legs.  Those horses do better with 5/8 or 3/4".  Try to get a dropped rigging to get bulk out from under your leg.  (Then try to find those SHORT girths!)  Look for lots of loops to hang everything but the kitchen sink.  (A plastic bleach bottle will have to hold water instead.)
If he's young or not in endurance shape, remember that his back will change shape in the next couple of years.  You may want to buy used & trade the saddle later.  You won't lose money that way since most good quality used saddles hold their value.
On the bright side, look at the conditioning that YOU are getting chasing him down with that saddle on your shoulder!!!
Linda Flemmer
Blue Wolf Ranch
Bruceton Mills, WV
-----Original Message-----
From: Rachel Ward []
Hi all,
    I just got a brand new, very nifty, arab gelding.  Unfortunately my current saddles are not gonna work on him, his name is Sabre and I think they named him for his withers...  <bg>   He's not terribly thin, just a rather lanky boy.   After chasing him in a circle with my boyfriend's 65 pound roping saddle on my shoulder, I have decided I need a new saddle that's light AND fits him.  What companys sell saddles with trees that work well on high withered lanky arabs?   Any advice would be appreciated, my experience with endurance saddles is VERY limited.  (like non-existent!)  I usually ride a barrel saddle but I sold it before I got Sabre and am now stuck with the aforementioned really-large-boyfriend-saddle.  In the interest of self-preservation, I would like to find one with a saddle horn. <bg>
Rachael "Don't buck Sabre!" 
Sabre "You mean like this?"  WEEEEEEEEE!!!

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