View Full Version : Swingin Fender - Stock Saddle Quest

07-05-06, 01:52 PM
Yes, Another Saddle post.

I am going to purchase a new Stock Saddle. I am still unsure if I want Leather or a Synthetic one, but at this stage I am tending to Leather. For me it is out of a Bates or a Syd Hill, I know both these saddles have good names and in the end you get what you pay for, plus I am looking at it as a long term thing.

My main question is what you think of the swinging Fenders. Whilst at the saddlery today I had a very helpful chat and it was recommended to me that I should maybe go for this over your standard Stock. The Mare I am getting it for Jumps at her own shadow and we seem to spend a lot of time in the air, and I have been told that you have a bit better grip and hold with the fender as they are wider than your stirrup strap.

How important is an adjustable gullet, the only thing putting me of the Syd Hill is that they donít have adjustable gullets whereas the Bates do, I would hate to spend all this money and it not fit a future horse. What about Cair, is this a must or an avoid?

I am not against the Synthetic saddles I own one and have had them for years, I still have my first wintec (never used anymore) and it is 17 years old and still in good order, but I am just weary of getting one in a stock.

Please tell me what you ride in as the more I know the better informed I will be for my choice.


08-05-06, 12:20 AM
Hi there!

I come from a varied background of riding (Western, jumping, dressage, polo, on and on...) so I have ridden in what I deem in my mind a HEAP of different saddles.

For the last few years I have been riding in a swinging fender half breed stock saddle from James Saddlery in Brisbane. It is the most fantastic thing in the world!!!

I prefer the half breed portion (the 'western' fenders/stirrup leathers) because they don't seem to rub my sensitive little legs :) as much as thin stirrup leathers.

The swinging fender portion is very good for me as well because it allows a larger range of motion from your hip to your foot. You can kick your leg as far forward as you need to so you don't get spooked out of the saddle when horsey had a shy. Or you can bring your leg back as far as you possibly can when horsey needs a kick to get past the boogey man.

As far as the Cair and changable gullet issue, I can't really have an opinion. Never had any type of saddle with a changable gullet. Whith my James saddle I ride a huge variety of breakers that come through our place; from stocky QH's to fine boned young TB's, and I have never (touch wood) had a problem with fitting.

Finally what I have found with stock saddles, is that if you can get one with a flat cushion for the part of the seat that is in contact with the horses back, not a rolled one, that will help the overall position of the saddle on most horses. The old-style rolled ones seem to lift up in the back if naughty horsey decides to put his head down for a buck. Whereas the flat ones seem to fit a bit better.

Hope this helps! Just my opinion... Good Luck!

08-05-06, 02:07 AM

i think it all depends on whattype of horses you are going to ride. if your going with a stock horse or qh shape then im sure you will be fine with out a changable gullet as most saddles fit these horses.

the swinging fenders are different to ride in but once you mould them to your shape and get used to them, i think they are great and offer alot of support to your leg umnlike normal styrups.

i have a synthetic saddle only because i have tbs, it is light and fits them well unlike anyother stocky i have had.

if i had a beautiful quarter horse (dreams) i would get a half breed eg the flat wooly bottoms/ swinging fender with the stock saddle shape on top..... oooh maybe ith a horse as you can get them now to, basicallt a western int he shape of a stock if that makes sence lol. i think they sit well, provide close contact and are lovely to ride in. the horn just makes a nice resting post or cattle whip holder :)

you can also get these at a range of prices. eh goodwoods have one for 500 or you can get the 1000- 3000 models. just think about the weight of the saddle for you horse if they are only small and check each out if you can, one will have a nice fit for you.

08-05-06, 10:48 AM
I saw in the last horseland catalogue that Syd Hill now has a synthetic swinging fender.

08-05-06, 11:03 AM
Yeah GG - I was having a look at that too. I also noticed in another catalogue (can't remember which one!) that the latest Bates stock saddle comes in changeable gullets from narrow to X-wide - the full range in other words.

Re security in the saddle - well I haven't ridden a swinging fender, so I can't talk about that aspect, but I find for sheer security the classic campdraft style is the best. Agree with someone who said some of the old fashioned ones come up at the back. I like best the Hiscocks Mcnaughton drafter style, or what I ride in, a Mackellar. I think the Bates provides good security, and the other one I really like the style of is the Syd Hill Steve Brady. I believe that comes in two versions, one with a swinging fender.

If you get the chance, have a sit - its got a great position. I've got a very spooky, VERY quick stock horse who can drop a shoulder and turn himself inside out if he feels like it x( Staying on him can be a challenge, and I've found its more about having your upper body weight back, than any gadget or whatever. HAVING said that, the thigh rolls have saved my life several times I reckon:7 To sum up, my tip is not to worry about the stirrup style - find a saddle that fits you and him, and puts you in that sweet spot for when the fun starts :)

"Lord, give me chastity and continence; but not yet". St. Augustine

08-05-06, 11:10 AM
Hi cate, do you mind me asking where you are from?

08-05-06, 11:27 AM
I was watching my 3yo mare named "Zip" hooning yesterday, she can turn herself inside out. She goes to the breakers next week and all I could think was "Bugger, I'm too old for that". That's why I was looking longingly at the stock saddles in the catalogues.

Red Dun
08-05-06, 12:21 PM
Hi Macrannoch

I can HIGHLY recommend the leather Bates swinging fender. The ability to change the gullet to suit the horse is just marvellous. My partner is a beginner rider and previously he had a w i d e connemara pony and then progressed to a QH gelding. He bought himself a Bates swinging fender which was fitted to the boy and they changed the gullet (how marvellous is technology!) to fit him. I had a ride and OH nearly lost his saddle! The Cair system looks after horsey's back but as we're really 'weekend warriors' probably not as beneficial as for a horse ridden hard for hours.

My new Bates swinging fender should be here any day now (OH now claiming his saddle back - LOL). They are honestly the most comfortable saddle I have ever sat in, from the very first ride. I didn't like the look of the swinging fenders and didn't think I'd like the stirrups but I've had no trouble there at all.
The only thing we don't like is the long points as my appy mare (HUGE gut) does get rubbed even with the wintec girth - although my slimmer horses don't. I have opted for the shorter points on my saddle.

We both also own Syd Hill saddles, and may I say that there's nothing wrong with my Syd Hill - it's still in excellent condition and is nearly 25 years old, but it is the very heavy model and with my own added weight don't want to add to my newly broken in baby's extra burden. My OH's saddle suited his first mare (an Anglo Arab) but not a wider horse - maybe it was made for the more ASH type. My Syd Hill was made for my height and weight and suited my old thoroughbred perfectly.

My friend also has the synthetic Bates stock saddle, not swinging fender, and she also loves it.

A good saddler will bring several types out to fit your horse and you get to ride in them, that's probably the best way to see what suits you. As with all things in life, we all prefer something slightly different.

Good Luck.

"I used to have a handle on life, but it broke!"

08-05-06, 01:10 PM
Thanks to all

Red Dun, you are correct, the saddler suggested the same thing, so I am going to tee up a time and try them out.

I donít know anyone with the swinging fenders, so sadly I havenít been able to really give it a test run. I am pretty sure now I will go with the Bates, will have to try the normal stock and the swing, its going to be hard as it's a big choice to make on just one ride.

I love the Syd Hills I have ridden in, but I like the idea of the changeable gullet system. My current Mare who I now wont ride unless I am in a stock saddle has a green gullet, which I believe is Narrow-medium(could be wrong). She would be great in any Western Discipline, as she can stop and spin on a 5 cent piece.

I think I really need the adjustable gullet as my mare is fairly average in size, but I also have and ride a Welsh Cob who is way wider, which seems strange considering my Mare is QH x Arab, and I am looking at getting a bigger Clyde X, so I should maybe factor in future horses.

Once again thanks to all for your info, it has helped me heaps

09-05-06, 02:20 AM
Hi Laurali, I'm in the southern highlands of NSW :)

GG - it's great fun to ride when they're turning because you asked them.... but not quite as amusing when they decide to improvise :P

"Lord, give me chastity and continence; but not yet". St. Augustine