Imus 4-Beat Gaited Saddle Frequently Asked Questions

We answer our most commonly asked questions about our unique saddles for gaited horses. If you do not find the answer to your particular question, call us at 716-665-2999 M-T 10-3 EST or Contact Us and we're happy to chat! 

Q. Do your Imus 4-Beat or Legacy Saddles work for gaited or non-gaited horses?

A. Both! Phoenix Rising Saddles Legacy and Imus 4-Beat saddles work for ALL horse types. They are simply designed to be comfortable and allow complete freedom of movement through the haunches, back, shoulders, and neck, which is important for all horses, gaited or non-gaited. While it’s true that gaited horses do have more movement through the muscles of their backs, and typically are difficult to fit with traditional western saddles (you can watch a video on that HERE), all horse types, both trotters and gaited, benefit from these comfort features. We successfully fit both gaited and non-gaited horses and their riders +90% of the time. It’s a big reason we can offer our 14 Day Trial.

Q. What is the difference between Phoenix Rising Saddles’ Legacy and Imus 4-Beat Saddles?

A. Functionally, there is no difference between our Legacy and Imus 4-Beat Saddles. We use the same trees, leather suspended ground seat, and Supracor therapeutic material under the bars of the tree in both models (You can watch a video about those features HERE). The fit for the horse and rider are exactly the same. The only difference is the overall look of the saddle, where we gave the Legacy Saddle square skirting to give it a more traditional western look. We also use extra hand-tooling all over Legacy Saddle, and they boast our upgraded conchos and cantle options. The difference in price comes from the extra leather used, and additional hand-craftsmanship required for each saddle.

Q. Steele Saddle Tree makes your trees. Are Phoenix Rising Saddles’ trees the same as other company’s saddles that use trees made by Steele Saddle Tree?

A. No. Steele Saddle Tree, is a super reputable saddle tree maker and they make saddle trees for many different saddle companies. The trees we use in our Legacy and Imus 4-Beat® gaited saddles are made to our own specifications (angles of the bars, pommel placement, twist, etc) and are only used in our saddles. Our trees are specially designed to allow our unique forward placement, so comparing our tree to any other tree/saddle on the market is like comparing apples to oranges measurement-wise. You can read more about our trees HERE.

Q. Are the trees used in Phoenix Rising Saddles the same as Steele Saddle Company’s?

A. No. Steel Saddle Company uses rigid wooden and fiberglass trees. The placement, angles, etc of their trees, and therefore their saddles, are completely different from ours.

Q. Does your saddle have a flexible tree? I’ve heard they don’t distribute weight evenly.

A. We utilize a tree system that has truly flexible bars--think of a material like a hard rubber tire, with enough body to offer support, and enough flexibility for comfortable movement. The pommel and cantle of the tree consist of wood, to give the saddle stability from side to side. This prevents the saddle from rolling too freely back and forth, pinching the horse, or from allowing the saddle bars to collapse under the rider's weight. We also use a leather suspended ground seat that provides even weight distribution along the entire saddle, and build in Supracor therapeutic (and expensive!) material on the underside of the tree bars and skirting. You can learn more about our tree by watching this VIDEO.

Q. What is Supracor and where is it put in Phoenix Rising Saddles’ Legacy and Imus 4-Beat Saddle?

A. The Imus 4-Beat® Saddle and Phoenix Rising Legacy Saddle have a unique tree design (you can read more about that here) to allow complete freedom of movement and even weight distribution of the rider. However, we wanted to make absolutely sure that there was another layer of protection to eliminate the possibility of pressure points. Supracor© is very expensive but there is nothing like it as far as a light-weight material that will distribute weight and conform to your horse, providing a custom-like fit for your horse. Supracor offers saddle pads that retail for over $250 so Imus 4-Beat® Saddle and Phoenix Rising Legacy Saddle essentially have a high-quality built-in saddle pad. We also build Supracor© into the seat and stirrups for the rider to ensure the rider is as comfortable as their horse! You can find out more about Supracor HERE.

Q. How do I know if my horse needs a standard or wide tree for a Phoenix Rising Saddle?

A. We absolutely will help with saddle fitting both pre-sale and after you receive your saddle. In fact, we want to! We prefer to look at pictures of your horse from a few different angles as opposed to asking for measurements or tracings. Keep in mind that in general, measurements on saddles are tricky because there is no standardized practice of measurements that apply across the board. Different saddle makers and tree makers often use the same terms but have different standards for measurements. Also, tracings can be done several different ways, and points of reference can become difficult to determine.

When we assist with fitting a horse, we fit them to our saddle specifically for these reasons. We have over a 90% fitting success rate, which allows us to offer our 14 Day Trial Program. Click HERE for instructions for fitting your horse.

Q. Where should the Legacy or 4-Beat ® Saddle rest on the horse?

A. Imus 4-Beat and Phoenix Rising Legacy Saddle’s trees are designed to sit more forward, with the front edges of the bars of the tree gently cupping around the shoulder. This prevents pressure at the shoulder and scapula, a common area we see pressure soreness from saddles. With a rider mounted you can slide your hand up the front edge of the saddle and allow your horse to take steps without the saddle pinching your hand, so you can feel how it allows complete shoulder rotation without interference from the saddle. This position also brings the saddle forward of the loins—another common area that’s tender and prone to pressure points. See a photo representation and explanation HERE.

Q. If your saddle is placed more forward than traditional saddles, where does it place the rider?

A. Imus 4-Beat and Legacy Saddles place the rider in the ‘bareback position’, directly behind the withers. That’s the position that riders take when riding bareback. This is the strongest point of your horse’s back, has the least amount of movement. Our philosophy is, if this is the position bareback riders take to be most naturally in-balanced with their horse, why change that with a saddle?

Bareback riders also naturally sit just slightly off the vertical, with the seat bones slightly tucked and the legs drifting slightly forward (not at all the ‘chair-seat’). Imus 4-Beat and Legacy Saddles have a deep feeling seat and free-swinging fenders that allow the rider the freedom to assume the position that is most comfortable and balanced for them. You can learn more about rider position HERE.

Q. What type of rigging do Phoenix Rising Imus 4-Beat® and Legacy Saddles have?

A. Our saddles have a 3-point rigging that utilizes one extra-long latigo and both the back and front rigging rings. It’s simple to do and serves a couple very important purposes. It helps keep the saddle strapped evenly into place from front-to-back. It also helps keep the cinch off the elbow, preventing elbow galls. Click HERE for details. 

Q. What kind of leather do you use in your Imus 4-Beat® and Legacy Trail Saddles 

A. We use the best cut of leather for all our saddles: Full Grain. We have written a full article explaining everything you need to know about the leather used to build our saddles. Click here to read it. 

Q. How do I determine my saddle seat size?

A. There is no wrong or right answer when it comes to seat size, as far as across-the-board measurements. Some people prefer a snugger seat, while others prefer more wiggle room. Whatever feels the most comfortable and balanced for you is the right seat size. We will point out that most people prefer a little more room in the seat with our saddles. It allows you to sit back slightly on your pockets with your seat slightly forward (think bareback position). If you're taller or have a longer inseam, you're more likely to want more leg room and might want to go up a seat seat size. However, most people stick with what western seat size they currently ride and are comfortable in and it's just right for them. 

We have a seat-sizing chart for the 4-Beat HERE. Keep in mind it's a general guide. Feel free to call or email us if you'd like guidance and we're happy to help!

Q. What options are available?

A. We have lots of color, configuration, cantle, tooling and other options! If you go to any “Build My Saddle” pages, you will find all of the different options’ descriptions along with pictures.

Q. What are the weight and measurements of the Legacy and 4-Beat® Saddle? My horse has a very short back.

A. Fully rigged the leather 4-Beat® saddle weighs about 30 lbs. The Elite saddle weighs about 6 pounds lighter than its full leather counterpart. 6 pounds does not sound like much, but there is a noticeable difference in weight. We notice it all the time when we're having to move saddles around the office.

The Phoenix Rising Legacy weighs about 37 pounds.

Length of saddle on a 15" seat, would be 23", front to back, with an additional inch of length for each additional length of seat. However, the saddle fits over the TOP of the withers and shoulder, which means it will not be too long even for an extremely short backed horse. Our cantle is 4" deep. The Phoenix Rising Legacy is about 1.5 inch longer than the Imus 4-Beat but will still accommodate a short-backed horse. We can help advise on that.

We do not compare our gullet widths with those of traditional saddles due to the unique placement on the horse.  The best way to determine the saddle width that will best fit your horse, if you are unsure, is to let us help you.  Please see the "Help Me Fit My Horse" link here. 

Q. What if my saddle doesn’t work out for me or my horse?

A. Although our saddles work for a large majority of horses who try them, no saddle will work for every horse (or person!). We have our no-strings-attached flexible 14 day trial that you can read about HERE!