The History of the Australian Saddle
When the English settled in Australia they brought with them the horse and saddle to a rough and rugged country. The saddle changed to better suit the harsh environment. The saddle differs little today from its predecessor. The main difference is the addition of the “poleys” or padded knee pads. Now a days some Australian Stock Saddles also feature horns. Another major difference is the use of the over girth. This allows the rider to get the girth tighter to eliminate slippage and as a back up should a billet strap break.Like the English saddle however the Australian Stock saddle has a stirrup bar with safety release bars for the stirrups.
An Australian saddle rides similar to a western saddle, the deep seat, high cantle and pommel keep the rider centered and comfortably in the saddle. The knee pads even though they are above the riders thigh add to the security of the rider in sudden stops or down hill descents. The large seat surface is designed to be very comfortable for long rides by means of suspended seat.
With leathers that are easier to turn than a western saddle less pressure is applied to the knees and
ankles. For the horses benefit, an Australian saddle is lighter and smaller than a western saddle. Saddles also feature a stuffed serge panels on the under side of the saddle for extra cushioning and improved fit.
The riders position in the saddle is more similar to an English style with the legs slightly more forward. This places balance of the rider very centered between the seat and the stirrups. The saddle also allows for a more close contact with the horse in general.
So go trail ride down-under style. With as many or more rings to attach accessories, breastplates, cruppers, than a western saddle has these are a wonderful addition to a tack collection.
Enjoy the ride.