Good Evening, Friends!
There is lots to be said about saddle fit! I’m very close to getting a saddle for Flicka. She has been using the saddles at the barn, which are serving well. I’ve been considering the weight issue, getting it up on her back, lol! and expenditure. I’ve spent a little, and a lot. While I like to keep things simple, Flicka’s comfort while doing the job I ask, is imperative. Saddle pads can be high tech material, synthetic, or the classic wool for breathability and conforming to the horse’s back. It appears that you can spend as much as you want!
I’m considering a barrel saddle, for the weight and purpose I desire. I plan on using Flicka in working horse events, maybe some timed events and obstacle courses. Cowboy Dressage is a thought. I need a traditional set up with a horn.
I visited saddle shops with new and used inventory to see how this style measures for my seat, talked to friends who barrel race or use this style, looked on Facebook forums to see what people were selling, and checked out on-line shops and makers.
I recently had a session with Angela Tanner at the barn to compare saddles being used on Flicka, all of which have been doing the job. I measured gullet width and skirt length, since Flicka is short backed and short coupled.
The second one was an American, which a local shop carries. It also fit well. These both had straight skirts, but were minimal with the barrel saddle styling. It was the lightest of the three with a ralide tree.
The third one was a Saddlesmith of Texas, round skirted barrel saddle. This is more of an upper end saddle, with prices of around $2,000.00. The Corriente and American are similar, being around $650.00. This was a full quarter bar and an eight inch gullet, needing a one inch felt pad to adjust gullet fit.
I’m leaning towards a round skirted semi-quarter with seven inch gullet. I should be able to find something with a middle-of-the-road price tag for an entry level starter set up in case Flicka’s back and conformation changes. I will likely stay with a wool pad, the rounded barrel design, and a contoured topline.
Flashback: Here is my rig for being out on an all day ride, prepared to stay overnight if need be. This was taken in the Diamond Peak Wilderness with my Morab, Charlie-horse. Planning for your purpose is key!