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America's Original Aussie Saddle Source Established 1979; Email Address

The home of Aussie Saddles, Tack and Shootist Gun Leather Holsters and accessories

Welcome Users

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 987
Malibu, CA 90265
Street Address
184 N. Kanan Dume Rd
Malibu, CA 90265
Phone: (818) 889-6988
Fax: (818) 889-7271




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About Saddle Fitting


Saddle Measuring

Australian saddles are measured by using a straight rule, and running it from the stitched seam in the front, to the inside of the back of the cantle. The measurement ends where the cantle starts to rise up over the top. The saddle pictured is a 16 1/2" seat. The Australian saddle seat measurement is , therefore, actually a tree measurement. Saddles with horns are measured the same way. PLEASE NOTE: The capacity of the seat varies from model to model, most commonly struck by the position of the knee pad. Also, saddles are hand made, and in reality no two saddles are the same. Each is unique. Seat measurements can, and do, vary up to l/4", plus or minus. But that is a very small difference as far as a rider is concerned. Western saddles are measured from the rider side of the horn, back to the top of the cantle, and English saddles are measured from the button in the front, diagonally back to the top of the cantle. When selecting an Australian seat, let us guide you, because we are familiar with variations of ALL Australian models.


The Saddle Tree

This is a generic copy of a traditional saddle tree made of wood and steel. On the Southern Cross Saddles, we make this tree out of aluminum, not steel. This takes out five pounds of weight . Without compromising the strength of the tree, which is guaranteed for five years. BEWARE, TO WORK WITH THIS OLD TECHNOLOGY, IT TAKESAN EXPERT CALL US. WE DO THIS EVERY DAY.


Fitting a Mule

Lets get one fact straight: fitting mules is EASY. I've have heard about hard to fit mules, but in 30 years of saddling them, I have yet to meet one. From one mule to the next, they are actually less different than horses. I have, however, met my share of hard to fit people! A mule has only one opinion: does this saddle hurt? People have endless opinions, prejudices, money concerns and THEN they carry the opinions of their trainer, best friend, Uncle Steve in the Smokey Mountains, etc., etc.

 Mules have definite but low withers, and straight backs. By comparison, horses have a vast range of wither definition, and placement on the back, along with virtually endless degrees of sway.

 Problems occur fitting mules with solid tree saddles designed for horses. It rarely works well.

 Mules are booming in popularity. Trail riders who have spent their lives with horses are finally discovering the toughness and dependability that is born to the Long Eared One. Once they understand what makes a mule different, both physically and emotionally, they rarely go back.

 Traditionally, Australian saddles are built on wood/steel trees. This technology goes back to the Middle Ages. A steel frame is fixed to wood, to bear the screws and tacks that hold together a saddle. Even after such a saddle has been built for a horse, our experts at The Australian Stock Saddle Company can pull in the gullet and flatten the bars to make it fit a mule. Again, this is nothing new. Three hundred years ago troops in battle pulled leather off the steel arches of trooper saddles, heated them in a fire and, by hand, manipulated the tree to fit a war horse to replace the one shot out from under just hours before.

  Today, I have clients who change horse with about the same frequency I change my mind. Ive altered the same saddle several times.   

 Australian saddles come in stuffed panels, for high-withered animals, or fleece for low-withered mounts. Obviously fleece is more ideal for mules. Crupper or breeching is always recommended, as mules are slab shouldered. A breastplate is also a good idea. To really appreciate a mule you need steep country. Stuff that might freak out a horse. So it is imperative that the saddle sits close to the back, and is solidly in place. You want to be looking at those lovely long ears, not sitting on them!

 Getting the right equipment for a mule is half of what is necessary YOU getting the right attitude is the other half.

 Unlike horses, mules do not tolerate people who are unreasonable or overly demanding. Get tough with a mule, and hell remember it and one day, hell nail you! Mules are not recommended for people who, to function in society, need anger management therapy! In this regard, mules are much smarter than horses. They accept only the utmost respect and kindness. They love positive reward for good behavior, but mentally cannot handle negative reward for bad behavior. Out on the trail, if you beat a mule to try and get him over a stream, he just might sit down, literally, and nothing will move him until HE feels like moving! You have to be at least smarter than the mule. Its like that old story: Put a horse in a trail, and go down the road, and have a wreck, and the horse will never forget the trailer. It will take lots of training to coax him back into one. Put a mule in a trailer, and go down the road, and have a wreck and he will never forget that YOU put him in the trailer!

Fitting a Draft Horse


This is how the Southern Cross Fleece Lined saddle fits a full draft horse. Note the close contact, and the extra large extenders on the breastplate. The secret of this perfect fit is the thinness of the tree and, of course, accurate wither measurements supplied. This horse is 18.l hands and weighs about 1,700 lbs.

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