Patroling in an Australian Saddle

Finding a saddle to properly fit a draft or draft cross horse can be a challenge. Because there are many conformations in the various Draft breeds, a saddle that is specifically called a draft saddle is not a guarantee to fit all draft horses.

Here are some points to consider for draft saddles

Light weight saddles compared to a traditional western saddle. Placing a 40 lb saddle on an 18 hh horse is a challenge for most of us. This is when a lighter weight saddle comes in to play. Of course, even those 15 hh small drafts are a challenge to lift those saddles up over our shoulders. Add a shoulder or wrist injury and it becomes a real problem getting that saddle up and on.

Feeling secure in a saddle while riding a draft horse.

I hear this one often. The rider needs to feel secure in their seat. Draft horses can have large movements and therefore the rider should be in a saddle that will help them move with their horse. A saddle that doesn’t fit the rider will not help in gaining a sense of safety while riding.

Australian Saddle on Draft Horse

The saddle should have a wide channel between the panels for the spinal vertebrae.

As with any horse, the panels should not be putting any pressure on the vertebrae. The panels of the saddle should be contacting the large muscles off of the spine to prevent damage to the vertebrae.

Not all drafts are wide at the wither. We have seen many draft horses with high and narrow or medium width withers. Until we see a wither tracing we never jump to the conclusion that a draft horse will be needing the widest gullet available. Many draft crosses are also not as wide in the wither as some of the full draft breeds.

How developed are the spinal muscles? Most draft horses will have a wide back. But we have seen some drafts with a more protruding spine. This most often is due to a lack of muscle tone. Poor fitting saddles, poor feeding conditions, age, and lack of exercise can all be factors in degenerated muscles and soft tissue of the spine.

Aussie Endurance Saddle on Draft Horse

The desire to have a close contact feel with your horse. A dilemma here is many saddles designed for drafts are very wide under the thigh. So they may keep a rider close to their horse, but the rider may suffer with being spread in the thigh and hip joints. If there is any joint issue or degeneration in the rider’s hips this can be a painful problem. A saddle that can lift a rider up with a slight twist under the thigh will help solve this problem.

Snowy River Australian Saddle work well for Draft horses

Fitting Australian Saddles to Drafts

The Snowy River Australian Saddle is a good choice for a Draft horse with a wide back and medium or low withers. The saddle is like a western saddle with a tree that extends past the cantle. The fleece panels are designed to distribute the riders weight evenly over the horse’s back over a larger area. The Snowy River will be a more close contact saddle being on the fleece panels

Campdrafter Australian Saddle

The Campdrafter is also a good choice for a draft with medium to wide withers and a flatter back. The serge panel or stuffed wool panel, is not as thick as some models. This helps to keep the rider closer to the horse but still providing ample cushioning for the horse. The saddle panel with time will conform into the horse’s back which is very comfortable for most horses. This saddle is also about 21 pounds depending on the seat size. So much easier to lift onto a full size draft horse.

Aussie Endurance Saddle has a wide channel for draft horses

The Aussie Endurance or Lite Rider models are our lightest saddles at about 16 lbs and can fit draft horses well. They have a wide channel between the panels, are short in length and made with light weight foam panels. Suited more for horses with a straight spine as opposed to a curved back that requires more rock in the tree.

The Brumby Saddle has wide set panels for draft horses

And for any draft that needs a thicker stuffed panel for a more curved back, then the Brumby is a saddle to consider. A deep seat, narrow twist under the thigh keeps the saddle very comfortable and secure to ride.

We do have other models that may be suited well for certain drafts but these are the saddles we see fitting many of the different draft breeds.

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