Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saddle Shopping

I have been on a mission for the last couple of months...I NEED a different saddle for running barrels on Moon. Right now I am running him in my roping saddle because that is only one of two saddles that I have that fit him. Running barrels in my 16" cutting saddle just doesn't work. I slop around like a rag. But now that Moon is firing around the barrels, the roping saddle isn't working too great either.

I finally found a saddle that I liked and was bidding on it on ebay...
And some butthead outbid me at the last minute. I mean the very last minute. I was so POed! These older Billy Cook All-Arounds are hard to find and they are awesome saddles. I rode one for a year when I worked for a paint horse trainer and I have begged him every since to sell it to me. They have wood trees that are rawhide covered and the horn is heavy enough to break-a-way rope in and even a little light heeling practice.

Now, if Moon was ordinary, I wouldn't even be looking for a saddle, because I have a barrel saddle that I love and it has fit every other horse I have had. But noooooo....Moon, for as streamlined as he is requires not only full quarter horse bars, but a very wide gullet. At least 7-1/2 inches to fit over his very wide shoulders.

Now I know there is a lot of junk on ebay. There is always that little bit of "what if" when purchasing stuff off of there. But so far I have had very good luck with the tack and saddle that I have bought, so I'm pretty comfortable buying like that. I have a very specific set of requirements and do not deviate.

But as I have been looking, I keep finding must have saddles. Like this Dick Pieper reining saddle...
Honestly, if Megan wants to get serious about reining, she needs a saddle specific to that event.

Just as nice is this Bob Loomis reining saddle...
I just wished they hadn't used a leather darkening oil on it. I'm still considering bidding on this one though. It's a high quality saddle at a fraction of the cost of a new one.

Then I found this custom roping saddle...
It's a 15-1/2" with full QH bars and a 7-3/4" gullet. It would fit both Meg and I.

And then I run across this nice show saddle. It has about all of the silver I can stand...
Finding a show saddle that is only a 15" seat and has full quarter horse bars(with a 7-1/2" gullet) is hard, hard, HARD. Ninety percent of the show saddles out there have semi-QH bars and 16" seats. Not wide enough for any of our horses and much too big for Meg and I.

My Honey looked at me kind of funny when I showed him my list. I think he is a little nervous that I am planning on buying all of them. But since I lost my barrel saddle in this round, I am really only leaning heavily toward purchasing one of the reiners. I think I need to show him the price tag on a new one. That'll make him think it's a much better deal...right???

I just won't mention that I still need a barrel saddle for Moon.;-)


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Fascinating post! Those are all nice-looking saddles. Good luck on bidding.

I was just thinking about this saddle subject today because I'm thinking of finding myself a more 'secure' saddle for when I'm able to ride again. My current saddle feels too 'loose', high-up, floaty and slippery, which is probably why I fell off last year. Ah well.

So I just have to ask what are the differences between a roping saddle, a reining saddle and a barrel saddle.

And which kind of saddle would you recommend to help provide a rider a more secure seat....along with a velcro butt, of course.



Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I also wanted to ask you what is the feather on your hat, in your header?

I recently came upon a pile of feathers in the woods and they look a lot like the one in your hat. Cool!


cdncowgirl said...

I've had good luck on e-bay but I also try to be cautious when I buy on there.
Those saddles all look really nice. I want to add an all-around saddle to my tack eventually. Kimfer would flip out if I bought another saddle right now so I'm waiting until we find our own place. lol

Paint Girl said...

My next saddle is going to be a barrel saddle. I have always wanted one, and my Aunt uses a barrel saddle for trail riding. So that is on my wish list! I would love to get a new saddle for my OH someday. The one he has is fine, but I can dream right?
Sorry you lost the bid on the barrel saddle!

Carroll Farm said...

We have always had good luck with EBay and buying tack. Those saddles all look great, and with your criteria you should be fine buying one there. Good luck with that.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Lisa-That's a turkey feather, from the wing.

The biggest differences in saddles has to do with how the seat makes you sit and what the fenders "allow" your legs to do. There would be little difference between the All-Around saddle and the roping saddle that are pictures, except in the strength of the horn and the thickness of the leather used to build the saddle. Both are designed so that the rider sits "up" on their hip bones a bit more and the fenders are set so that your leg hangs straight down with not a lot of movement in the fender. There would be more movement in the All-Around fender, simply because the leather is lighter-weight. In roping and barrel racing, you don't want a saddle that lets you or pushes you back on your butt because you are required to stand up or push forward in the saddle. You want the fenders to stay pretty steady to make that easier for the rider.

As you can see in the pics, the reining saddles are more built up in the front of the seat. That design and the set of the fenders sort of sets you back on your hip pockets a bit more and allows your feet to easily move forward, as required in sliding stops.

Equitation saddles, like the show saddle are designed so that the fender is more inclined to go back rather than forward. That makes it easier to maintain the correct equitation position. But I was just looking at the picture of that show saddle and noticed that the fender looks like it is set very forward. I'm not sure I like that.

Now, cutting saddles are made so that you set pretty flat on your butt and the fenders have a lot of movement.

Amy said...

I took a cutting saddle I won at the Bonanza and had a barrel saddle made with that tree by Larry Coates. I have loved it. The swells are normal and the cantle is not to high...I used it for years and still exercise my horsesi it. Much lighter weight. The last saddle I bought from Martha Wright..I am used to a cutting saddle and this was a good feel if you are looking for a little more support in the barrels when you step it up... But not over done!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

As for what is most likely the most comfortable...I would have to say that something similar to the All Around saddle would suit a wide variety of riders and events.

There is adequate swells and the back cantle is set up just enough to help hold a person in, without giving you the trapped feeling that some barrel saddles can. The fenders hang well and should be a reasonable median for people who need a bit of stiffness to help hold their leg steady, but there should be just enough flexibility there so your legs and ankles don't get sore.

Fenders that do not give enough support or have a tendency to let the leg go backward very easily has a lot to do with why people lose their balance or get bucked off what seems a little too easily. If you watch saddle bronc riders-they almost never get bucked off when their legs are in front of them, but let those feet get hung up behind and they do the swan dive rather quickly.

Slick leather can be a culprit too. Which is why rough-out is so popular in so many saddles.

I have heard a lot of people say they like the "Wade" style saddle. But I haven't ridden one myself.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Amy-It's amazing what a good saddle maker can do. I didn't even know that Martha Wright had barrel saddles made. I think her and Ed are fantastic, so I guess I better look into that. Thanks

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Thanks for answering my questions. I've got an Amish-made saddle and it's very comfy with it's suspended gel seat, but in hindsight don't think it gives enough 'connection' withy the horse's back. It gives the feeling that you're floating over the horse's back.
The leather is pretty slippery and there's not much cantle at all. It might actually be a bit big on me, too.

I wasn't bucked off, though. I fell of when my mare did a telportation 6 feet sideways in several jumps. I held on for the first couple sideways jumps, but then lost it and slipped sideways, severing my ACL in the process. bah.

I was eyeing those Aussie saddles with poleys because of the extra security it might provide for those sideways movements. And of course a wider, higher cantle might be good, too.

I was drooling over the Tucker saddles that Clinton Anderson had set up at his show in Reno last month. I sat in one and wow. Felt like a glove. The price didn't fit was well, though. :(

Thanks again,

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Whoops! It wasn't a was a Martin saddle at the Clinton show.


AKPonyGirl said...

I ride in a 1955 custom made Hamley saddle. Even though it has a slick seat, it is by far the most comfortable saddle I have ever ridden in. The only drawback it has is that it is heavy - about 35 pounds before I put my saddle bags and scabbard and gun on it.

Your description of the different saddles in great. Now I have the right words to tell my friend why the roper saddle she rode in was so uncomfortable for her.

Good luck on your search for a barrel saddle. I have a 14" seat Tex Tan that I'm probably gonna put on eBay. I've had good luck buying on eBay but not selling.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

AK_Isn't that the way of it. If someone is happy that they got a smoken' good deal that means someone didn't. Sometimes I wonder about people bidding on stuff though. I see really nice stuff go for cheap and cheap stuff go for more.

It's really hard for us women to find a saddle that has the substance we need, but is light enough to handle comfortably. As much as I like my roping saddle, I hate how heavy it is. Considering how big many of our horses are, it can get tiring wrestling it on several horses a day.

Lisa-My buckskin teleported sideways on me a couple of years back and dumped me flat on my face, in the pasture. Last summer he flat out bucked me off. It's no fun at our age is it? I remember you spent a lot of time recouping with your knee. I have been bucked out of or left hanging with every saddle I have. I'm no bronc rider-LOL.

Adventures of a Horse Crazed Mind said...

I have heard really good things about the Billy Cook barrels saddles... I have a friend who is on the hunt as well (for a barrel). I am a total saddle snob when it comes to reiners... I would buy another Bob Avila Bob's Custom, (padded, butterfly skirt) in a heartbeat! IT was SOOO comfortable and sat you just right. They cost a pretty penny even used but are so worth it.

Anonymous said...

I like how you described what works for each type saddle. By the way, I had the Lasik in August. My eye sight was terrible. Would do it again in a heart beat and I have a few years on you. Good Luck.

Callie said...

Gotto love a well made saddle, Miss my Simco Red Feather, now that was a nice saddle! wooden tree and rawlide covered!

Danielle Michelle said...

I eBay a lot of my saddles too. As long as you know what you are looking for it's worth it!

I hate to say it but I had to break out my coveralls. Even though it warmed up this weekend- like you said - once they're on, they're on!

Baretta is HUGE! I need someone to take a pic of me next to Smack to I can see how tall he is.

Michelle said...

I love love LOVE my Billy Cooks. I have a working western saddle and a barrel saddle and they are the best made, most comfortable saddles I think I've ever owned. And I got the barrel one off Ebay too. Good luck and happy bidding!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Ok, well I didn't need to hear that! lol! I keep thinking I fell of because I'm still a rather novice rider...and to hear that someone as experienced as you falls off, too, it should make me feel better....but it doesn't. gah!

Why don't they make seatbelts for saddles, anyway?


BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Hahaha Lisa...they do! Of course, I don't recommend it. When things are going bad...I much prefer to part company with el bronco. Is still have scars on my shins from a particularly bad bronc episode where the mare that blew up on me bucked me off in the first jump but would not buck out from under me. Imagine if you will me flying in the air repeatedly and a big, fat red dun mare insisting on bucking up and down directly underneath me. About all I remember is thinking, I wished this dumb b**ch would jump left or right. She finally did and I hit the ground like a rock. My step-dad said I laid there a good while. I really didn't want to get up, but I could hear that mare coming back toward me and she was still bucking. I figured if I didn't get up, she would do the happy dance on my head.

Welcome to my mom's feeding program. She can turn a Shetland into a Clydesdale and a broke horse into an NFR quality bronc. Needless to say, ole Cockleburr(that was the mare's name) came off of the "feed program" my mom had her on THAT VERY DAY. LOL

Rising Rainbow said...

When I get ready for a reining saddle I know where to come for help. Good luck in your bidding.

Andrea said...

Oh I LOVE saddle shopping! And I have been having the hardest time on ebay. I have never before been out bid and now it's happening all the time. I get so mad! That is the worst feeling.
I love those reining saddles. I have two reining saddles. They are great for that, but really horrible for barrel racing. So, I borrow my sister in law's saddle when I take Ozzie to go work on barrels.