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QUESTION:

I'm trying to find information about Australian saddle.... but as of now nothing help me...

Sorry for my English... my first language is French...

I used to run English and did some jumping ten years ago. I stopped riding due to time restriction. I returned to riding more intensively last year with a horse with lot of character (it's a 7 years old mare QH baby from by original horse of 10 years ago). But I'm less confident and decide to run with an western saddle (to be able to use the horn when my horse is restless...)

The thing is that I prefer the feeling of an English saddle (more in contact with the horse) but I feel more secure with the western due to the horn. A friend told me that I should try an Australian saddle, which I did, and find it very comfortable.

I started looking at buying one, but I have many questions and feel like the retailer only wanted to sell what they have and I'm not sure they are honest... so... (it's not very popular in my region and some even told me not to buy this kind of saddle because it's not good.)

My question #1 is: what size should I buy? I'm 5 feet tall, 110 pounds, hip around 37 inches. Someone told me 17 to 17.5 inches and another one told me 15 inches...? (None of them have a stock saddle to try, therefore I could not compare) ...maybe they just measure it differently.

Question #2: what's the good way to measure the seat of the saddle?

Question #3:I like the feeling of an English saddle and feel that the Australian ones seem to be similar, but the one I tried had a long fender or skirt (don't know the real word in English)... are they all done with long fender?

Question #4: I like to ride for 3 to 4 hours... and maybe in the future I'll be able to return to jumping (small jumps)... (I mean do small jumps when riding on trail or a little bit of a jump in a arena). Do you think it's possible to jump with this kind of saddle? (My friend says yes and that they even jump with western saddle) or should I forget this and use an English saddle when going on trail if I plan to jump during the trail?

Question #5: I went on the net and I found saddles starting at $200 to.... what's should I look at in term of price/quality is $200 to cheap? is there a big difference if I pay $600 in term of quality...

Question #6: on one site they said the saddle should fit the horse.. What should I look at?

Question #7: Do you have some saddle company to suggest to me? Thank you for your help and I find your site very interesting

- H. B.

ANSWER:

Here's a place for you to check on the Internet: The Australian Stock Saddle Company in Malibu, California -- http://www.aussiesaddle.com/sad_index.html. I haven't had any dealings with this outfit, so I can't vouch for them. They do seem to know what they're doing, however, and their prices seem to be in the right range for a decent stock saddle ($655 to $1,800 US for saddles with horns). I also like their system for fitting the withers.

Personally, I'd be wary of a new saddle that only cost $200. A used saddle, however, might be in that range.

As for fitting the rider, the measurement is the distance from the pommel to the cantle. Just remember that you should allow for some space between you and the cantle -- about an inch.

Can you jump with an Australian Stock Saddle? Absolutely! Think of it as a much more secure version of the English saddle. If you don't believe me, look at the motion picture, "The Man from Snowy River." The incredible jumps in that film were all done with an Australian Stock Saddle. Some of those stunts may not even be possible with an English or Western saddle.

I hope this gives you a bit of help.

Happy Riding!

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