adventures in Aussie Saddle

I don’t really need more tack but…
I am on the quest for a saddle for trail riding which I can attach stuff to and climb on when out riding. My visor came of due to a tree branch yesterday and luckily one of my friends was able to dismount and retrieve it for me (the remounting is the tricky part)

I am not having any luck with a western saddle to fit my big shouldered shark finned TB.

I stopped at Portland Outdoor store and brought home a used Syd Hill endurance saddle on trial ($700 with all the fittings). Everything I have read about the aussie saddles is folks don’t like them but it feels just like my Devoucoux dressage saddle (which I trail ride in now) but has things to hold onto while mounting and lovely brass horse shoe dee rings to tie stuff to.
So why do aussie saddles have such a bad rap?

I will pad it up for trail but I think a saddle should fit with no pads
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I have to admit I didn’t like aussie saddles… till I sat in a proper one. Not a low-end one made for the american market post man from snowy river. the good ones are balanced nicely, flocked properly and can be re-flocked. I have one that has a 1.5" felt bottom that fits my boy well, and found out that it was a special order from the maker. It gives me a good close-contact feel and a secure seat. Enjoy yours!

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I also think they vary a lot in quality.

A friend bought one for about $400 new from a regional dealer. Made in China or India I think. It never fit, rider and saddle always had a tilt, horse began to really act up under saddle, then saddle fitter was finally called in after a year and declared it fundamentally assymmetrical from a factory defect and it’s mothballed now.

However just the basic design shouldn’t be a problem if it’s a quality saddle and you have good fitting advice. There’s a lot that’s good about the design, a bit like cavalry saddles.

I just had extra D rings installed on the back of my comfortable dressage saddle and use long leather boot laces as latigo ties to strap down jackets and saddle bags. Works a treat.

I do need a park bench or tree stump to rmount, I am OK with about 12 inches boost. But I doubt I’d be any better with a Western saddle.

I have trained my horse to pick up gloves and crops and other lightweight things off the ground and hand them to me :). Sometimes she picks up other people’s used Kleenex or lost socks off the trail too.


The one I used bumped me at the rising trot, just where it hurts. Do a trial first.

well phoey. I think it is a bit small for me as the poleys are smashing my thighs when I trot.
guess I will stick with my Devoucoux dressage saddle which fits us both.

Not an expert but I think that western riders who ride in them do not do a rising trot.

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I had no trouble posting in mine, which was a DownUnder Campdraft. Maybe lower your stirrup? Or maybe practice two point while riding the Aussie?

I had my stirrups as long as I could. I think the saddle was just too small. But I have found another on Craigslist that is a bigger size so fingers crossed.

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For tall withers you have plenty of options. Wintec westerns are good for tall withers. I have a 16 inch I’m selling and a 15 inch I’m going to keep forever because it fits me perfectly (and it was my first saddle ever).

Big horn western saddles tend to fit tall withers but are narrower.

Fabtron western saddles definitely fit tall withers but are wider in the tree.

Simcos are nice. I have one of those as well. It has a raised pommel compared to most western saddles for higher withers.

The right saddle pad helps. Cut-out pads definitely give you clearance.

I don’t like Australian saddles unless I’m riding a gaited horse. Many just aren’t as well made.

I have a traditional Spanish saddle with a wool fleece seat. Rides like a dressage saddle, panels are very broad so distributes weight well. I love it and my horses love it.