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Saddle ~ Wood or Aluminum?

3696 Views 17 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Hasligrove
Now that I have a 3 yo pack goat hopeful, along with the 3 kids, I am anxious to get a pack saddle.

Should I get a wood or aluminum saddle?

I like to get which ever is likely to be most comfortable for my goats.

My budget isn't unlimited so if it doesn't really make much of a difference comfort wise for the goat I should probably go with wood for now and get aluminum later if I use it enough to justify the extra expense.

I have three up and coming pack goat kids so more than one saddle will eventually be needed.

Which would you get/recommend to start out with wood or aluminum?

Here is Phoebe...
[attachment=0:1bxbfyv6]DSC06881 Phoebe 8-28-10 PSEC8-500x400.jpg[/attachment:1bxbfyv6]


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it's not only a question what material is better.

Aluminium is certainly more indestructible than wood but the only aluminium saddles that have been built (other, please correct me if I'm wrong), come/came from Owyhee Packgoats and have straight boards. Straight boards can cause problems in some goat types. The new Owyhee saddles also lack a "shoulder free", therefore the board can rub against the shoulder blade more easily than a board that has a "shoulder free".

And next thing, Owyhee is closed for an unforeseen time - unless others have newer information - so the only aluminium saddles you can get, would be used ones.

Regarding use: there are several goatpackers that use wood saddles exclusively over years without problems. If you treat wood right, it will last a lifetime.
Thanks for the reply Sabine!

I'm thinking as the aluminum saddle is adjustable I could get a more custom fit.

The one I'm considering at is at Northwest Packgoats & Supplies.

Guess I should give them a call tomorrow!

the custom fit from Northwest is a very good saddle
If I had the money. I would of gotten Northwests
Aluminum saddle. I do believe it comes with the pad.

But, I am happy with the wooden one.
Thanks Radena!

And just when I thought I'd made my mind up to go with wood. :?

Anyone have the aluminum saddle that can share their thoughts on it?

I am sorry to add to your delema.

Most use the wood because of price.
I accually bought the kit.

The aluminum one is lighter I do believe. So
That means you can put a couple of extra lbs
on the goat.

Another thing that you can think about is resale.
Which one will sell if you decide not to pack anymore.
Price you can get for a used one?

I would imagine Rex has used both.
Since he sells both.
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The Northwest “Custom Fit†saddle is an Aluminum – Composite combination. Mine with the pad weights 6 pounds 3 ounces. My Northwest wood saddle with pad weights 4 pounds 4 ounces.

My Owyhee saddle with pads weights 3 pounds 12 ounces. This is an all Aluminum frame; and quite different from the Northwest Aluminum – Composite combination saddle.

When selecting a saddle there’s more to the choice than wood or aluminum; or weight.

When comparing saddles it’s probably best to refer to specific suppliers and models, so you are not inadvertently talking about different saddles.

Other things to consider are the length and shape of the side boards. For example, long sideboards on a short backed goat are likely to be a problem. They could be a problem on even an ‘average’ packgoat.

How are straps connected? This can make a difference in how easy a saddle is to put on and take off the goat. One or two belly straps?

I happen to like and use the Owyhee saddles. Unfortunately, as Sabine mentioned; and as far as I know, they are out of business indefinitely.

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Thanks for the thoughts Perry!

Sorry for the confusion due to the lack of details in my initial question. I appreciate all the replies!

Both the saddles I'm considering at are at Northwest Packgoats.

I'm considering the finished #10 Wood Saddle or the Northwest "Custom Fit" (Aluminum Composite) #015.

My concern isn't so much the weight or the material, but rather the potential for a more custom fit and which I'm thinking may translate to a more comfortable fit for my goat(s).

If I'm going to ask them to work for me I want to make them as comfortable doing so as possible.

If the wood saddle is likely to be as comfortable as the Custom Fit then I'll probably go with the wood saddle for now and upgrade when I'm ready for a second saddle.....if I've hiked enough to earn it! :D

But if the Custom Fit is likely to be more comfortable for my goat then I'd like to start off with it.
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I have the three types of saddles that have been mentioned. I think the NW costum fit is the best one due to the adjustability and shape of the side boards. It can be adjusted wider on narrower at either end and will fit a goat that does not have the "average" back. It has nice rounded corners if you plan on having a child on it. It is heavyer than most but the pad will not slip out but it is not the least expensive. I can show you them and panniers if you like. We are not to far from each other and could meet in the middle if you want.
I have both of the Northwest Packgoat saddles - the aluminum and the wood. I love both of them. I use the adjustable one on a huge goat that fluctuates shape based on how much he has been eating and how hard he has been working. Rex recommended this saddle to me for this purpose. I use the wood ones on all the other goats and they work great. I recently came across a used one and it is in excellent condition, so they will last, as well, if you take care of them.
You can't go wrong with either but the custom fit is better for a goat that hasn't finished growing. THe aluminum sidebars on Owyhee are very unforgiving to goats that don't fit them. But so are the wood ones. The wood ones however, are beveled so that they put less pressure along the edges. Anything that doesn't fit your goat is gonna pinch.
Thanks everyone, Kent, ColoGoatGuys & SweetGoatMomma for your replies.

I think I'll go with the Custom Fit. Having hard to fit horses has taught me the importance of fit. I figure I can't go wrong with an adjustable fit saddle.

When I get my second saddle a couple years down the road I'll get the wood, unless I'm completely won over by the Custom Fit, then I'll have options on which saddle for which goat.
Some random thoughts about saddle fitting: The wooden saddles tend to fit the dairy breeds better. Once you add Boer or Nubian the goat is too wide and large. It was once suggested by the previous owner of Goat Tracks magazine that we should be breeding goats that fit the saddles available. This was back when there were no Boer packgoats and the saddle choices were standard wood or nothing. THe aluminum Owyhee saddle was invented to make a step forward in saddle making. But it was also designed to fit only dairy type goats, even though George Bogdan had goats that had Boer in them. In fact he was the first to encourage Boer crosses as packers, which is where my idea of creating the lline I now have came from.
The wooden saddles tend to fit the dairy breeds better.
Can you clarify....

Do the wooden saddles fit the dairy breeds better than the "Custom Fit" fits the dairy breeds? Or do the wooden saddles fit the dairy breeds better than they fit dairy/boer/nubian crosses?


Thanks! :)

the wood saddles fit the dairy breeds better than the boer/nubian crosses.

I can also make the destinction that the Owyhee aluminium saddle fits my younger, smaller goats better and I have to change to the wood Northwest as soon as they are grown. And then there are some goats that have filled out very late and now need the Northwest Custom Fit.
I've had the custom fit on very small goats, around 150 on up to almost 300 pounds. No problems.
The wooden saddles fit up to around 200 pounds and are definitely made to fit the dairy types. THe Angle of the bars as observed from the front and rear make the biggest difference in the fit. Because the angle is adjustable on the NW saddle it fits a huge range of goat sizes.
I have NW packgoat wooden saddles that I love. I got them used for a great price. I would like the custom fit...but $$ is the issue right now.

Also...just to add one more outfitter. Butt-Head Packgoats also makes wooden saddles with a different strap system. I know several people that like those saddles too. Just thought I should mention them.
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