Saddles and Seat

A friend of mine just got a new Duett saddle. We have some really excellent educated people around our barn about saddle fit, my trainer and ferrier are some of the best so saddle fit is a big topic and because of that, so are saddles.

I’ve tried two of these english saddles by Duett now, once on my trainers horse a few months back on her andalusian TB cross and then again today when my friend Tracie after trying her new saddle out on her mare asked me if I wanted to ride her.

I was like hell yeah! I’ve never ridden a Percheron before so yes yes yes please!

I’ve only ridden one other draft horse and I didn’t really ride him, more like just sat on him marveling how tall he was while asking him to go to which he pointedly ignored and thought was super funny because he didn’t move a muscle, except in his neck to look back at me to make sure I wasn’t missing how funny he thought it was. So today when I rode Twilight I actually got the feel of how they move, how big the movement is. It was a lot of fun.

Anyway back to the saddle bit. I started younger riding both English and Western. Got out of horses in my teens and didn’t pick it up again until my 30’s. The two horses I worked with had Western saddles so I’ve gotten used to Western.

When I bought my own horse I tried my friends treeless English saddle. Found out my seat sucked and I was sliding all around everywhere on the slippery greased BOARD I had placed on my new horses back. So I got a 45 lbs Western Colorado saddle that’s what I am used to riding in now, that or bareback or with my bareback pad.

This saddle thing is funny to me because when I got back into riding I was an english snob…thought it was in some way superior I mean who needs a horn to hang on to anyway…since I’ve re trained myself and rode Western for two years I realize now you don’t hold on to the horn anyway and saddle and discipline mean nothing. If your seat sucks, your priority shouldn’t be a discipline but instead finding your seat. 🙂

Which is exactly what I had to do. I didn’t know my progress because it’s hard to judge since you just have to keep getting back up there and improving your balance and moving with the horse. And if I were to give anyone a tip on how to do this, I would say the biggest thing is don’t ride in the saddle all the time, don’t ride just bareback all the time, keep switching it so you have to modify yourself to match your horse. I would have progressed a lot faster if I had done that from day 1.

So when my trainer told me to switch horses with her in one lesson a few months back so I could feel her horse Gally’s movement I have to admit I was intimidated by her english saddle she was riding in that day, thinking not only would I be slipping and sliding but probably falling off since Gally is Sqirmy, fast and reactive. I imagined me on the ground rolling in pain as he was flying around the outdoor arena in sheer panic because I freaked him out or something.

I got in her Duett Roundo saddle on Gally who was a perfect gentleman and it was wonderful! I felt so firmly anchored in place even on Gally who feels a lot skinnier then Kiko…well almost every horse feels skinnier then Kiko except for Wakan and the draft horse I rode today Twilight. I felt very secure, almost adhered to! It was so comfy.

Today, it was the same thing. Tracie has the Longo model of the Duett saddle so it was a different saddle but I felt the same in that saddle then I did in the Rondo. Very secure, I wasn’t slipping and the saddles don’t lean forward or back, you feel perfectly balanced even while leaning over rubbing the horses head.

I really like these saddles and think maybe after my colt start clinics this year I will have to get one for Kiko. They fit round wide horses like him well. So I think my next purchase will be a Duett.

Originally I wanted a Tucker because my ferriers saddle is a Extra wide Mule saddle that fits Kiko and I thought it was the most comfortable thing I rode in BUT this was over a year ago I tried her saddle on Kiko and right after the experiance with her treeless english saddle and I loved it. Just a few weeks ago however, we switched horses, she rode Kiko and I rode her mare Coco in her Tucker saddle. It felt so good last year I was looking forward to riding in it again and I was actually disapointed! I felt foward and unstable… that was weird. I know the saddle fits this horse, it fits her better then the saddle Kelly had customed made for her. I just felt different in it. I was actually pretty shocked.

I find it very interesting that a year ago this saddle felt perfect for me and I’m really glad I’ve held off spending the money I would have on a tucker. I know they are quality saddles and they are great for horse and rider but I don’t want one anymore.

Wakan’s owner Colleen had a very choice quality Black Rhino. Two years and I thought that was the most secure Western saddle I’ve ever been in. I rode him a month ago and I didn’t like it anymore, I felt so far back that when I was post trotting I was actually leaning pretty far over his shoulders…..which was actually helpful when he started bucking on me so I guess in retrospect since Wakan from time to time does that maybe that IS the best saddle for him LOL! Not the best for me however.

Which leads me to the point….Is it seat? My seat most definently has changed since I started riding again over 2 years ago but my taste in saddles has changed too, the feel I like so is that just getting used to MY saddle? How could it be since I was so comfy in the two Duett’s? So does this mean that saddles are a moving target? That just adds one more layer to the already daunting task of finding a saddle that fits your horse. So many don’t and the poor things are in pain all the time with the oblivious rider never knowing it’s an issue. So this is a very interesting topic I plan on updating on since I am paying attention to it now.

I’d love to hear opinions or stories from anyone that may be experiancing the same thing.


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