western saddle for shark finned TB

evidently I need more tack…
I am trail riding in my dressage saddle which is reasonably comfortable and fits my 24 yo TB but I really want a western saddle to tie stuff to. (also I love the look of a one ear headstall.)

any suggestions? not looking to spend a ton.

Ill be interested to see what is recommended - assuming there is anything to recommend. I have a very shark finned TB.

Plenty of barrel racing saddles tend to be made for the more TB type backs of race bred quarter horses.

They are also lighter to handle, not needing to be as stout as general ranch and roping saddles require.

I have a western saddle for when I go trail riding in the mountains.
Much more comfortable for all day riding and yes you can pack more stuff on it!
For my shark finned Tb I went with a Fabtron( can’t remember the model)but it fits him well.
The Fabtron is part synthetic so it is much lighter than a traditional leather saddle, and for me that makes a difference.
It is a lot harder to lift a heavy saddle onto a 16 plus horse, than a smaller western horse!

What do you mean by “a ton”? Just curious because if that means $500 to you or if that means $2000 to you, of course, that’s a big difference!

In general, most TBs are going to need a semi-QH bar or regular bar tree. But as with anything, that is a generalization.

As Bluey posted, a lot of barrel racing saddles do tend to have higher gullets and better wither clearance.

Can you post pictures of your horse?

What kind of tree do you have in your dressage saddle?

Personally, I am going to disagree with this. If the saddle tree is bridging, then it does not fit. In most cases, a pad should not be used to try to correct bridging, because the saddle needs to fit appropriately in the first place.


Definitely following this thread with interest as I’m playing around with the idea of dipping my toe into the western waters with my young OTTB - we show in eventing and dressage but he’s double registered Pinto and built more like a big Appendix QH and we’re thinking about trying to play a little bit at the pinto shows…but first we need tack!

My old horse has very large shark fin withers and I have a Circle Y Flex tree saddle that fits him really well.

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Curious for my TB as well, as I would love venturing down this road (eventually, not yet).

Honestly when the time comes, I will probably look into Wenger and reach out to Joey. I had a wenger back when I had my old QH gelding and the saddle was nice, but the owner was always extremely helpful and very educational. I would maybe try reaching out to him (I’ve always just messaged him on Facebook) and gather his thoughts!

So I just ordered the fabron barrel/trail which is 6.5 inch gullet. We shall see…

Hope it works.

sadly, the Fabron barrel saddle (from Smartpak-I love them) sat on his withers…I fear I must give up my western saddle quest. My goal is to be able to carry stuff and mount on the trail. I guess I will keep my eyes out for appropriate logs…

the saddle was nice and lightweight

When I worked for Rocking R, we made a “mounted shooting” saddle for a certain trainer, and actually made quite a few of them around 2010-2013. If I remember right, most of them had a modified higher gullet, in addition to more free-swinging stirrups. Other than that, they are essentially barrel saddles. I’m no expert on every saddle out there, but one of those might be just the ticket for your guy.

Is he narrow shouldered? A saddle with too much width in the bars will collapse down further in the front too.


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I live in the UK, north Wales to be precise and there is no western riders, shows or anything! :frowning: I wish there was, i love everything about western riding and I’m looking for a saddle to fit my boy too, hope you found something!

I found a Syd Hill Australian endurance saddle at our local consignment shop (they charge nothing for the service). It fits him perfectly and has places to tie things and enough saddle for me to climb on if needed (not gracefully). I have it on trial for a week. photos in the Aussie saddle thread. IT is yummy leather with beautiful brass fittings. Came with endurance stirrups and leathers but I will probably use some of mine. I contacted the folks who made it in Australia and they said:
<This saddle would have been manufactured in the 1990’s .\
It is a close fitting Australian stock saddle with a fibre Glass tree.
It would have cost approx. A$1750 back when it was new and probably worth about the same today.
Hope you enjoy this iconic Australian brand stock saddle>

I saw that the fabtron did not work for you, I had the same experience with synthetic saddles, and semi bar. I have a young warmblood that I backed and used a western saddle - I bought a Circle Y flex tree, julie goodnight saddle and am very happy with it, except that it is heavy and he is 16.3! I use a mounting block to put it on him. It is extremely comfortable to ride it and he loves it too!

well phoey. I think it is a bit small for me as the poleys are smashing my thighs when I trot.
my goal is to be able to carry stuff (like clippers for the overhanging branches) and be able to remount on the trail.
I think I may stick with my Devoucoux dressage which fits us both

I’ve had good luck with my Reinsman roughout work saddle on my super high withered gelding. Circle Y’s also fit him well but finding one with a 17" seat for me was essentially impossible. It can be very very challenging finding the right saddle if you’re looking for a high quality leather western saddle.

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