Australian stock saddles are famous worldwide for their comfort and durability, hence it is the preferred choice for riders who spends hours every day in the saddle. With their deep seat and high cantle and knee pads they provide greater security in the saddle (compared to english saddles). And riders all over the world use them when training young horses or nervous riders that are not too experienced as it gives you extra balance.
Traditional Australian Saddle
Pictured above is a traditional Australian stock saddle. They have a plain flap and look similar to a traditional english dressage saddle. This plain flap design is the old school/traditional style of making the Australian saddles. Alot of people still prefer it as it keeps you secure and your legs don't pinch through the stirrup leathers. These saddles are often also referred to as a 'Stock poley saddle'. The poley is another word for the knee blocks. Even though all australian saddles have the poleys, only some designs use it as a reference name. You can browse all of our Australian stock saddles here.
Half Breed Saddle & Swinging Fender Saddles
The half breed saddle design has got 'swinging fenders' rather than solid plain flaps. This allow extra movement in the saddle for the rider. The swinging fenders is the more modern way of saddle making for Australian saddles.
Western vs Australian Saddles
The swinging fender saddle looks similar to a western saddle, the main difference is the high knee blocks and the stirrups are further forward on an Australian saddle than a western saddle. The Aussie saddle does also not have a horn, and the rigging dee position on a western saddle puts it further back on the horse than an Australian stock saddle. Sitting further forward on the horse can give the rider a closer connection with the horse by sinking down in the saddle more (following the sway on the back) and being closer to the horse's head.
Australian stock saddles are also fitted slightly different than a standard western saddle. Make sure you use a saddle fitter that is experienced with stock saddles to ensure the perfect fit. As a general rule - there should be four fingers between the horse's wither and the saddle when the saddle is resting on the horse's back (with no rider). If the saddle is leaning back or forward, this can be adjusted with a suitable saddle riser. Again, make sure you confirm any changes with correctional saddle pads with your saddle fitter first.
If you have just changed from english or western riding to a stock saddle - you will need to change your rider seat and position slightly. Your legs will also be further forward with your heels down in an Aussie saddle rather than a Western Saddle.
Benefits of an Australian Saddle
Due to its durability (at least the old reputable Australian saddle makers), the aussie saddles are popular for a range of disciplines including pleasure riding, cattle work, endurance riding, polocrosse, arena work and trail riding. You will get the same benefits as an english dressage saddles with the secure deep seat, which puts the rider in the correct position, but also the added comfort from its padded seat ang high knee blocks. It is often referred to as the perfect blend of a dressage and western saddle - as it has taken the best features from both worlds. The Aussie saddle trend and following started in Australia but has extended worldwide now and particularly growing in popularity in USA, Canada and Europe. The high knee blocks (poleys) also gives extra confidence and security for the rider, as rugged terrain or a scared horse can rock you out of balance and you can easily fall off in a non secure english saddle. The Aussie's solved this problem by added extra large knee blocks to stop this from happening. And as you never need to stand up in the saddle when using a stock saddle, they are never in the way. They would obviously not be suitable for a rider that needs more freedom, such as showjumpers or racing.
If you want a light weight and secure saddle that distributes your weight (and you don't intend to use it for roping) then an Australian Saddle could be the perfect choice. This is an Australian saddle manufactured specifially for polocrosse. Its much shorter over the horse's back which suits short backed horses such as Quarter horses.
Plain Flap vs Swinging Fender
If you are unsure and on the fence on whether to go for a traditional style stock saddle or a swinging fender half breed saddle - it depends what you want to use it for. For polocrosse we recommend a swinging fender, while a traditional style stock saddle is perfectly fine if you only do pleasure riding or arena work. We recommend trying both before you buy either to make sure you know what suits you the best.
Most popular Australian Saddle brands
Australia is known for quality saddle making where the design has been perfected over the last 200 years. A popular brand and one of the world leaders is Syd Hill & Sons. They make both half breed, swinging fender, traditional, western and treeless saddles to cater for everyone's individual needs.
Australian Saddles For Sale
ProHorse Saddlery is an Australian saddlery who offers a large selection of Aussie stock saddles for sale. We proud ourselves in prompt express post shipping worldwide, with 14 days free trails and money back guarantee. View some of our Australian saddles for sale here.