Endurance Riders

Endurance and Long Distance Equine Disciplines

There are many types of saddles used in the endurance community. The first one we used was an old stock saddle with the horn cut off! We're currently riding the Specialized Enduro model. It's light, quite comfortable and allows for customized fit to the horse.

But there is not best for all horses and riders saddles out there. It is all a personal decision between you and your horse.

This discussion thread is intended to review as many types/models of saddles as possible with the goal of providing new endurance riders a broad view of what is available, what to look for in terms of fit, and what we should strive for in performance horse saddlery.

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I heartily agree that there is no one saddle for all riders and all horses! I think that anyone who claims otherwise should be viewed suspiciously!

The saddle I have found that comes the closest for the horse, at least, is Free'n'Easy. I imported and represented them for several years and only stopped when I sold the business so I could ride more. But I still use Free'n'Easy exclusively and remain completely amazed and how much they can help a horse, and rider too.

They aren't for every rider because some people are intimidated by taking on the responsibility of saddle fit as well as actually making adjustments themselves and they don't have as many options as some saddles, which can be critical to some riders. And they are exclusively English. ;-)

But I have felt guilty giving riding lessons in and FnE and the student gets a correct seat very easily and then can't reproduce it with any of the vast majority of saddles available.

Sadly, it is much more difficult to get these saddles in the US right now as it got financially impractical with the weak dollar. So now I just snag up all the used ones I can afford and hope the financial situation will improve soon!

I hope this forum provides some great conversation about lots of good saddles! I'm happy to answer any questions about FnE - I no longer have a financial tie to them, but still highly respect the design.
Marlene
If someone need a "special" endurance saddle, i recommend the Gaston Mercier endurance saddles. A lot of European riders are using those endurance saddles, even for Endurance World Champion Ship.
It's possible to try a saddle just to feel and see. I am using the Compiegne Saddle from Gaston Mercier and its very comfortable for me.
I am currently trying a new Barefoot Cheyenne from Mike Downing in Ontario.
I have a very large wide backed Arab/Canadian cross. I was finding nothing except a huge old western saddle I can not lift to fit him. The Barefoot is working on him and should adjust to his body as he gets fit and leaner. My son who only rides about once every three years rode in it today. He said it was the most comfortable of any saddle I have put him in so far. I put wintec webbers and cloud stirrups on it. Lots of leg movement. This horse has no wither so I am a bit concerned that the saddle will roll easily. The Bob Marshal rolls very easlily on him.
For the price I am happy with the quality, customer service from Mike and have made packs that work very well on it.
I would recommend others try this saddle.
In the past I have owned a BOZ, Stuben, Big Horn (which I still use on an older gelding) Podium, Synergest, Torsion, Specialized...... LOL I have had a fun saddle hunt
NO business ties to any saddle company
Paddi Sprecher
www.CanadianTrailHouse.com
Hi I am new to all this - completely green - I have said I will do a 25km endurance ride at the weekend, I am not intending to win - just to see what its all about, our horses were just on a 40km a day trek - oneday on flat gravel roads & the next on hill country, so they are reasonably fit.
My daughter is doing it too - on her TB mare, her usual disapline is Dressage & SJ & Eventing.
The TB will be ridden on a English Event GP saddle ( should have imported all our tack!) and it fits her well.

for my Standardbred (picture shows me on him) I have either got a Stock Saddle - which is what I do the Treks/cavalcades in - or I bought on a whim a synthetic Endurance style saddle - its light but having never owned a Western or Endurance before - I was supprised at the lack of padding?? and its not very comfortable for me - having used it for an all day cavalcade before - it rubbed my calf on one side.

My gut feeling is to use my stock saddle - it fits him better and I can ride in it all day - the only thing is that its Heavy?

Sorry for the essay - but I don't want to hurt our horses out of ignorance.

then the next thing I need to find info on is How these rides actually run!

oh heck - me and my big mouth saying "sure we'll give it a go!" :-)
Hi Kat,
Well, this may be too late for your initial endurance ride....but I'll reply anyway.
If the saddle fits your horse then weight doesnt' matter a whole lot. If it is comfortable for you that is a huge bonus. I'd say use it! Some of the treed saddles currently being used are very very heavy and horses haul those heavy saddles and their riders around for 100 miles without any ill effects. The real qualifier is how does it fit your horse, not how much it weighs.
Of course, I am not an expert in saddle fit. But I've been paying attention to saddles,,,even so, this is only my humble opinion. #1 factor is fit.
Happy times to you in your endurance pursuit!
Ericka
Hi, yes the reply was late, but never mind - thanks for the reply - I agree with you regarding fit is everything.

I used the stock saddle - Keonoa did the 25km in 2.34.41 and we qualified, he seems to enjoy endurance better than cavalcades (more variety in speed) as we went on a trek the next day and he was not happy with the one pace of walk! and jogged the whole time.

The saddle is very comfy for me treking but not really for trotting - but I am on the look out for a good saddle that will suit the pair of us - that and try normal stirrups on the stock saddle.

I am going to do the next ride too, and so is my daughter as she enjoyed it as well, and her TB was great

kat
Update on the saddles - After deciding that I want to do more endurance, I have bought both our horses new saddles, I opted for GP's as I can use them for all equestrian pursuits, if I get really into Endurance then I would consider a more specialised saddle (when the bank balance recovers!)

I have just been on a 2 day Cavalcade, up and down steep hills, for 8hrs a day, and the horses were much more responsive and seemed very happy at the end of the day.

Kat
Can anyone share any thoughts on Boz saddles? They have a special going on right now where you assemble your own and save about 50%. Before investing the $$ I'd like to hear some comments from people that have owned or ridden in one. Thanks!
Hi: I just saw this post. I'm sure you've made your decision by now... but I do have 3 Boz saddles (two for over 12 years). I love them. I'm not affiliated with him or get any money to vouch for him. I'm just a rider.
I won't ride in anything else and I have tried all of them. You can email me and we can discuss.
For me, the most important thing about the Boz saddle is getting the fit correctly. There are steps you have to take to fit it. And, it will be different for all of your horses. But, if you do it correctly once, you will never have to adjust it unless your horse changes or you change or you change horses.
Throwing a Boz on any horse will not mean it will fit. You have to go through the procedure to fit it to your horse.
Since so many aspects of it are adjustable and rock solid sturdy, your horse is comfy and you are safe!
Oh, and I've never had a sore back.
If you feel really confident, try his Bareback saddle. That is the ultimate. It will make you the best rider
you can be...
Dawn,

Would you please elaborate on fitting the Boz correctly to my horses. One horse is fine. The other might be having a little problem with the stirrup mechanism or rather the lump it makes below the concho on each side. I can't place the saddle where boz has recommended. it has to go way behind. The horse has such a short back and the Boz is so short...that it works out fine placed back farther. he has a tall thin wither but widens out below and behind it. It's never easy. I have not been able to find any info on how to specifically fit the saddle to different horses. Do you use the pads or a saddle pad. If you use a saddle pad...which one and do you take the pads off the bars?
I am actually working with a horse that has saddle issues. He has displaced all the fear he has into the feel of a saddle tree on his back. He is much better but he is prone to buck mounted or unmounted as soon as he takes a step after a treed saddle is cinched. He does not do this iwth a bare back pad...so it isn't cinchiness. I know when it happened three years ago...and we are on the downhill side of the curve of him getting over it. But to get him mellow I need him to be free to laterally flex which he seems to be having trouble doing because of the pressure under those stirrup swivel mechanisms.

Thanx, my email addy is gnmort@wildblue.net. I don't know how to find your email addy?

Nancy<^>
Kat,
What do you mean by GP saddle? If your horse goes well in this GP saddle, you really don't need a "special" endurance saddle. Anything that gets you down the trail and fits your horse well, (and that fits you too) will do the trick.
Ericka
GP = General Purpose
I bought a Wintec 2000, flocked not the Cair panels as the saddler who fitted them has had a few that were split and were causing problems

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