High Country Range


Halfbreed saddles


' HALFBREED' saddles combine the best ' half' of the Western saddle with the best ' half' of the Australian stock saddle.  A good Halfbreed saddle takes the western tree with its large, stable weight bearing bars that provide superior comfort for the horse compared with most English and Stock saddles. The other key feature from the Western saddle is the use of fenders which give better protection to the riders leg and increased stability compared with the narrow stirrup leather found on an English saddle or traditional Australian Stock Saddle. 

The key features adopted from the Stock Saddle are the poleys for additional rider security and the use of a stirrup hanger over which the fender hangs  This ensures that the fender swings freely (halfbreed saddles are often called 'Swinging Fender Saddles' in Australia) and can come off in an accident, unlike on a western saddle where the fender goes over the bar of the tree, inside the saddle.  


All Halfbreed saddles in the High Country Range have the following specifications:


  • Top quality American skirting hides

  • Fibreglass coated, wooden trees

  • 3-3/4" (Kaimanawa and Molesworth) or 4-1/4” cantles (Kaimanawa V2 & Stockman)

  • Crupper dees

  • In-skirt girth rigging dees

  • Gel foam panels on the underside, for shock absorption

  • Suede covered underside for good grip and stability on the saddle pad

  • Stainless steel, custom made stirrup hangers

  • A choice of fender positions for the traditional forward leg position or a balanced more vertical leg position

  • Free swinging fenders mounted on high quality stainless stirrup hangars, made to our design here in New Zealand

  • Solid brass hardware

  • All metal clips on the dees


Gullet size:

All designs are available in both a MEDIUM WIDE fit and a WIDE fit.

Seat size:

Saddles are available in seat sizes ranging from 14” to 16".  The following seat sizes are measured from the back of the pommel to the front of the padding on the cantle.  This therefore accurately represents the area that the rider sits in rather than the underlying tree size. For instance, a 16" seat size is built on a 17" tree but has 1" of gel foam padding so the seat size is described as a 16".  Some western saddle sizes are measured to the front edge of the cantle or the stitching on the cantle binding, (both of which measurements are behind the foam) giving a larger measurement than is trully representative of the seat area available.  If you are comparing a number of saddles it is important to compare measurements taken from the same points.  We believe it is more helpful to provide a measurement taken from inside the foam to the back of the pommel.

In addition to seat size, halfbreed saddles also need to be sized to thigh size, due to the presence of the poleys.  On our saddles the poley is set at a relatively vertical angle (compared with traditional Australian stock saddles where the foot is much further forward and the poleys are often positioned over the more forward angled thigh).  The vertical poley on our saddles means the rider is not locked under the poley or prevented from posting to the trot. 

In our saddles trotting is effortless as the feet are duirectly under neath the rider (on saddles with the balanced fender position).  This results in the poleys usually just touching the thigh lightly at the top of the rise when posting.  This provides security without restriction of movement.  The seat therefore needs to be sized so that the poley sits no more than 1" infront of the thigh when riding with the leg relaxed at the walk.  A larger gap results in a much less secure seat.  Alternatively, if the thigh is pressed agains the poley at the walk, then the rider needs to go up a seat size.   More prominent buttocks will also move the thigh forward in the saddle.  Unlike in English saddles, thigh length is of less importance as we can provide saddles with a range of fender lengths.  Therefore, taller and leaner body shapes (with little curvature of the spine or prominence in the buttocks)  or people who carry any extra weight more in front than behind,  will fit in smaller halfbreed saddles.  In contrast, riders who carry any extra weight on their thighs, or who are slim but have some curvature in their spine to create more prominent buttocks, are generally more comfortable in a larger seat size. 

The three available seat sizes equate roughly as follows:

Small - 14” western saddle, 16” English saddle

Medium - 15” western saddle, 17” English saddle

Large - 16” western saddle, 18” English saddle

Skirt length:

23” leather skirt length on the saddles sized 13.5” to 15” 

23.5” leather skirt length on the saddles sized 15.5” & 16" 

These measurements are the full length of the leather skirts, however the gel foam panels on the underneath side are the same length as the wooden bars on the trees so the contact with the horse is as per the following bar lengths.

Bar lengths:          This equates to the contact length on the horse

21.5” on the 14” & 15” saddles

22.5” on the 16" saddles


The medium sized saddles, with 1" padded seat top, are approximately 11kg mounted (including fenders, stirrups and leather latigos). 

The tree is around 4kgs in weight, the remaining weight is in the thick, quality leather and the brass hardware.  The weight has been minimised whereever possible. 

Some customers have requested a lighter saddle but the only way this can be achieved is to go to a lighter tree or to use thinner leather or synthetic materials.  The leather on these saddles is top quality and will last for many years, we are not willing to compromise on the tree or leather in order to save a few pounds in weight.  It is far more important to ensure that the saddle fits well throughout the underside of the horse's back to distribute the rider's weight over as big an area as possible.  This ensures minimum weight on any point of a horse's back.  

Where weight reduction is critical, riders can change the leather latigos for webbing ones, use lighter weight stirrups and use synthetic fenders. This can save more than 3kgs. We do not supply plastic stirrups or synthetic fenders, but do supply all our saddles with webbing latigos as standard.  Leather latigos are an optional extra. 



More interesting facts about the 'Halfbreed' saddle >>