I bought a saddle on Ebay this week 😛
Being plus size and carrying a lot of weight in my butt and thighs, saddle shopping is kind of a pain. I am honestly not sure it’s LESS of a pain for people who are more standard sized (especially after reading sagas like Sara @ Roaming Rider’s quest trying to get a saddle to fit H’Appy!). I am HOPING that as a fairly standard-sized QH type, The pony currently known as Dunny won’t be TOO hard to fit (and if he is, well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it!), especially for a western saddle. (I’ll also admit that I think western saddles are probably more forgiving to fit.) I grew up riding western first and picked up English as a high schooler. Most of my blogger friends ride English, and I really do like a lot of things about it. So why’d I pick up a western saddle?
Firstly, I haven’t been on a horse in a bit over a decade, and the odds are very good that Dunny’s background is exclusively western. A western saddle feels more secure to me, especially while I work on balance and core strength. Like many people on the autism spectrum, I struggle with body awareness and balance, and I really like the closer contact of English saddles (as well as their lightness!) but I feel like the broader weight distribution + more secure seat of a western saddle is just a sensible place to start. (Plus, there is basically zero instruction available locally for anything but western, and I do plan on taking some lessons.) Lastly, my main immediate goal for Dunny and I is trail riding, and most of the trails around here are going to involve a fair amount of up and down- a western saddle will just plain be more secure for now. I’d like to pick up an english saddle at some point, but not right now- a western saddle made more sense as a starting point.
I lurk on a bunch of used saddle sites and Facebook groups, and set up some ebay searches, and I even put in a few bids on English saddles (Mostly inexpensive stuff- Wintec, older Stubbens) but just never saw anything I was absolutely in love with. Western, well, my favorite brands have been mostly been sold or changed hands since I last bought a saddle, so I ended up with a brand I’ve ridden in but never owned before – Big Horn.
I am not 100% sure on the model I’ve ended up with- it’s got what appears to be a 19″ seat (which rules out the vast majority of their models), a roughout seat with leather jockeys and front, and cordura (or nylon) fenders and skirting. It is almost certainly an A00256, as they don’t make a whole lot in that size.
Is it the greatest saddle ever? Nah. But it should be safe, and good enough to get us started with.