Draft Horse Aussie Saddles
Australian saddles are measured differently to Western or English saddles. Below is a guide to the size you will need in an Australian saddle, however we still require your height, weight and pant size to correctly determine the exact size you will need for a particular saddle.
Western Size 14" 15" 16" 17" 18"
English Size 17" 18" 19" 20" 21"
Aussie Size 16" 17" 18" 19" 20"
(a) length of tree. (b) dip in seat. (c) height of kneepad. (d) height of thigh pad. (e) length of flap.
Why Ride in an Aussie Saddle?
Rider Comfort. The suspended seat of an Aussie saddle means that your pelvic bones are making contact with a surface that "gives" like a hammock rather than a hard wood surface. The easy to turn leathers and balanced seating position are easy on your knees.
Horse Fitment. Because Australian saddles are lighter and more compact than a Western saddle, they are naturally more comfortable for the horse. In addition, the stuffed serge panels on most Aussie saddles gives extra cushion.
Safety. The poleys (or kneepads) at the front of the saddle will keep a rider in the seat better than any other type of saddle. In combination with a deep seat, the poleys give the most secure ride around. If a rider should come off of the saddle the leathers can slide off the stirrup bar in the event that the rider gets caught up in the stirrup.
Riding Position. The seat of an Australian saddle naturally puts the rider in a balanced riding position, with half the rider's weight in the seat and half in the stirrups. Also, the close contact nature of the flaps, leathers, and rigging mean that the rider gets a better feel for their horse, allowing better control.
Light Weight. Aussie saddles range from 14 pounds to 26 pounds, fully fitted. Both the rider and horse can be happy about that!
Add these great features to the fact that there are loads of d-rings and attachment points on an Australian saddle, and you have a horse saddle that is ideal for trail riders. In fact, we like to call the Aussie saddle the Ultimate Trail Saddle.
Australian Made Saddles:
Many customers ask why are the genuine Australian made saddles so expensive. Firstly, in Australia the minimum wage is quite high for experienced tradespeople. It requires five years of apprenticeship to become a saddle maker in Australia. In addition, any good hand-made Australian saddle takes as long as 40 hours to complete. Then there is the cost of the leather (good quality leather runs around $300 a side plus the leather for the seat and kneepads another $50), the saddle tree (around $150), and the serge, stuffing, thread, brass hardware and misc. items (around $100). Add in factory overheads and some profit for the factory (around $200) If we take the above into account, along with the airfreight around $120 a saddle, then you have the import duty and customs clearance charges (around $50 a saddle) you get above $1,500 fairly quickly for a Australian made saddle. Then you have the saddle fittings, the stirrup leathers, overgirth, undergirth and stirrup irons.....you get the picture. If you see a new leather Aussie saddle for less than $1,300, it is highly unlikely that it was made in Australia, regardless of what name is on the saddle.
I think I can get one cheaper: Some people think they can then purchase an Australian made saddle for less money when they visit Australia on vacation. Firstly, most of the saddles we offer are designed for the export market to fit the horse breeds within this particular country. It is unlikely you will find the saddle you need to suit your horse in a Australian saddle shop. Most of these saddle shops have 4 or 5 saddles on the floor, we carry approximately 1,000 saddles here in Denver. Something to suit almost any horse, rider and budget.
What about making the same Saddles here in the U.S. ? Australian saddles have many advantages over other saddles, however they are also the most difficult and time consuming saddles to make. Several US companies have tried to come up with an Aussie saddle, but overall these saddles have many shortcomings and many of the actual advantages of the Aussie saddle are lost due to Companies trying to commercially produce a product that is normally hand-made. A quality Australian made saddle can take up to (40) hours to make. So to reduce this time will reduce the overall quality and the many benefits of an Australian saddle.
Why buy a Down Under Saddle as opposed the others guys? Yes they have their saddles made in Asia as well, but here is what they have to say about that.
Asian made Saddles: If you want the very best, then there is no doubt you should buy one of a Syd Hill or Toowoomba saddles. However, for most people the price is outside their budget. That is why we introduced our Kimberley Series (TM) Saddles, back in the 1980's. Over the years, we have also moved production of the Down Under Series and Exmoor Collection English saddles to Asia as well.
How are our Asian Saddles Different? Firstly, many catalog and internet companies purchase the lowest price Aussie style saddle out of India. These saddles cost the importer around $60 to $80 each and they often sell them for less than $200, a very nice profit on a sub-standard product. These saddles are generally made from a painted (pigmented) leather that is poorly tanned and will not accept the oil. Accordingly, the saddle leather gets much drier over time - this is what is referred to as cardboard leather. As it dries out it tears fairly easily, creating a serious safety issue for the rider. Furthermore, many of these saddles are not rigged correctly, and are difficult if not almost impossible to tighten the girth enough to stop the saddle slipping on the horse. But really, what does one expect for such a low price? Nothing changes when it comes to saddles, you get what you pay for. You cannot spend the least and expect the most - quality & satisfaction comes at a certain price. Unfortunately, thousands of these low quality saddles have been sold in the US over the last 20 years, and these saddles seldom work for the purchaser and generally end up being offered in magazine advertisements, generic websites, and on-line auctions.
Kimberley and Down Under Series Saddles: We do not sell the cheap Asian made saddles that are explained above. Our Kimberley and Down Under saddles are all quality saddles, backed by a 2 year to 10 year product warranty (depending on saddle model). We have long term relationships with reputable manufacturers, and our saddles are made exclusively for us to our strict quality and materials standards. We personally meet with our manufacturers on a consistent basis to work on product improvements and quality control.
Whether you spend $375.00 or $995.00 with Down Under, you can be assured of the best value Aussie saddle available for the price anywhere in the World. Our Kimberley Saddles are all hand-made from a soft naked leather, that will further soften after additional oiling and use. The stitching thread is nylon bonded, to ensure that everything, even the stitching, is long lasting and very durable. Our Kimberley Saddles have an extremely high reputation and with proper care will serve the customer well for many years. The Down Under Series saddles have even higher quality leather and special attention to detail during production.
The Kimberley Series and Down Under Series saddles are the next best thing to purchasing a genuine Australian made saddle.
Additionally, all of our Kimberley and Down Under saddles (except the Master Campdrafter Deluxe) have adjustable saddle trees, that we can custom adjust to fit nearly any breed of horse. Yes they fit Drafts and Draft Crosses really well. That is why we offer them :)
Honesty, Integrity & Support: The most important consideration is not how much you spend on a saddle, or even what series you purchase, but instead, you should carefully consider from which Company you intend to purchase and how helpful and knowledgeable they are. It is extremely important that you can get the specialized assistance you need, both before and after the sale, to ensure you experience the many benefits available from an Australian Saddle. Australian saddles are very different and require a certain expertise in making sure you purchase the correct type of saddle for your particular horse breed, along with the right saddle for your riding style. Down Under has this expertise - no one knows more about Australian saddles and the customers requirements than Down Under.