Rated 5 out of 5 by l8rgator Follow Up
I just wanted to add a quick follow up to my last review.
I had some first time kids ride in the saddle. They sit much better in this saddle than the others - they felt much more secure and relaxed a bit. And the stirrups were very easy to adjust really short for them.
One girl refused to do an emergency dismount for 5 minutes because it DOES take a extra effort to get your leg over the back - the seat is definitely much deeper than all the westerns we've had. So this is something we need to practice in this saddle. Otherwise, it was great and my horses were much happier without a kid flopping around on top.
December 26, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by L8rgator Exactly what I was looking for, except the price.
My priorities were: 1. fits my horse (gaited, high withers, short back), 2. lightweight / small profile for easy carrying, 3. comfortable for me, 4. low maintenance, 5. no horn (felt like it got in my way so wanted to try something different), 6. under $500. This saddle did that for around $200! Amazing!
Sizing - Generally I measure just under a 15" westerns with a seat cover. I got a 17" in this saddle, and I think an 18" would have been a better fit. That would give me more room for a seat cover. It's comfortable this size even with a thick cover, but my legs are touching the poleys and I think there is supposed to be a bit of space in there?
I've only ridden Western saddles and only have done trail riding before. I read tons of reviews on Down Under saddles before I purchased, so I was also worried I wouldn't like the girth, overgirth, the plastic stirrups, the flaps for the stirrup leathers, the synthetic fabric, the weight, and the stirrup leathers. After trying it I love the stirrup weight and sticky base. And they don't leave a bruise when I carry the saddle and a stirrup smacks my leg. The leathers are lightweight also and just lay on a bar so they are easy to exchange with kid leathers as needed. I'm 5'3 with the 17" and at the middle of the available holes, so good length. The weight shows it is a solid saddle, but it's just light enough to be in my acceptable range. I'm glad I didn't go with leather because I would not like another pound or two. It looks awesome. The sticky seat is a wonderful feature. The overgirth doesn't bother me. There is a little ring by the stirrup flap that is uncomfortable on my legs, and the stirrup leathers do pinch when I wear shorts, so I put a homemade seat saver on the saddle (first I used a towel and that was fine also) to correct that. There are tons of other rings to hook stuff to. The fact that this saddle comes with everything you need except a pad is terrific. I love that this saddle has no horn, because the poleys do the work of making you feel secure. I've sat in English saddles and absolutely hated the feel of those knee roll things. These poleys are nothing like that in my experience. However it is much much harder to get on the saddle from the ground without the horn, which you aren't supposed to do anyways. It could slide under that much pressure, and there is no horn to hang on to.
As the reviews say, the girth seems way too short when you first put it on - buckle doesn't evern reach the thing to attach it to. But once you figure out how to use the australian style girth strap on the girth itself (special style for all australian saddles) with an appropriate pad it seems much longer. My horse is 15.1H and with a skito pad I can cinch it up to the 4th-5th holes. And I actually find this much much easier to cinch than my old western saddles - no more trying to pry around loops.
I put painters tape on my horse's withers every couple inches, used a wire to follow the shapes, and then translated each to posterboard. I mailed those that and a picture of the tape to Down Under, and they gave me their opinion on which one would fit my horse- in one day. If you get the wide and it doesn't fit, you can pay Down Under to adjust the tree down to a custom fit either before it is shipped to you, or after you get it and try it, for under $100. However they cannot adjust UP, so it is best to check with them first. They told me a stock average would be a good fit, and that I should get the stock model because of the serge panels. It is the best fit saddle I've had. No sliding back and forth to see where it looks like it is supposed to go like the westerns. I put it on and it goes in one place on his back like a glove, and is stuck there. Doesn't bug his shoulders, has a nice short back, and feels solid and balanced. He gaits much more happily now.
Last night I took an old peice of felt lined fleece and cut a seat cover with long legs out of it. I mention this because a western cover isn't a good fit with poleys, and there are not alot of austrailian options to choose from out there. But if you get a cover that is cut to go over the poleys you don't even need straps - it sticks like glue to the poleys and the suede seat.
I don't feel like it is very close contact, but my horse did start to respond noticable faster and lighter after I started using this saddle. Not sure that was the saddle though!
I wish they came in 20 and 21 inch because I'd buy more for my guests to ride in. I life in WI, and 61% of us are overweight or obese. I hope Down Under starts adjusting for that. As it is I think I might buy another one for the child guests to ride in.
September 29, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Heidi great saddle
I recently puchased this saddle and absolutely love it, very comfortable. It fits both of my horses well, we have even tried it on a friends high withered horse and it fit hiim well. Definately worth purchasing.
February 1, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5 by Softball07 Great product
Ok, I use this saddle for everyday use(jumping,warm-ups,riding,ect.) and it's very good! I have used this for a year or two and had great use out of it! It's very nice!
September 26, 2011