It’s a difficult choice, buying a saddle. Having been someone that has ridden horses whenever and wherever I could, I have ridden on many types of saddles common in Australia. I know there are many different types available world wide, and you can see a great collection at the Narrawin Stud Website. Do I have a favourite though? Not really.
Traditional Western saddles are comfortable, but so heavy (anywhere from 35 to 70 lbs) , and seem to take ages to put on. Some new lighter weight versions are available (25 to 32 lbs). The design was originally based on the Spanish saddle of the conquistadors, which in turn came from the Moors who had conquered Spain, and then modified over generations by Spanish and Mexican Vaqueros or charros - the first America cowboys.
All purpose, English style saddles are lighter, and quite comfy, but I don’t always feel secure. they were designed specifically to allow the horse freedom of movement, whether jumping, running, or moving quickly across rugged, broken country with fences, for things such as fox hunting, hacking and military use.
Stock saddles are a bit of a mix of both, and feels a bit more secure than the all purpose saddle with knee pads, panels and fenders, larger stirrups, and deeper seat and higher cantle. I do have a stock horse, so this may be the saddle with the best fit too.
I do love the idea of the Parelli hybrid saddle, but at nearly $4000 I might wait a bit.
HP Australia also has a great swinging fender saddle which looks similar, and is a bit cheaper at around $1,400, and is said to have a very secure seat.
I am keeping an eye out for a second hand saddle on ebay to start off with. My conditions are size (17 inch for my large bum), and preferably black and under $700. That’s about it. I’ll post an update soon.
Happy trails, Deb