Saddle fit

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Saddle fit

This is a discussion on Saddle fit within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    07-31-2012, 07:49 PM
Saddle fit

I'm posting this here because I use a dressage saddle, sorry if it's in the wrong place.

Over the past 6 or 7 months my horse has been through the mill somewhat. He was ill over the winter and lost a lot of weight, I had some issues getting his saddle to fit but got one of those mattes pads with the inserts to fill in the gaps due to lost weight/muscle mass. Anyway, he's mostly back up to weight now and the shims have been taken out of the pad but i'm noticing that when I lunge him the cantle of his saddle seems to move around a lot.

So today when I was out at the barn I tried to get a wither tracing but the wire I had wasn't bendy enough so i'll have to try that again. I also put his saddle on without a pad and felt around to see if there was anything obviously wrong. Looking down his back the gullet seems to have a nice gap off his back, the flaps aren't pinching as far as I can tell and depending on how he's standing the back panels seem to be in contact with his back.

At this point I should say yes I realize I should get a saddle fitter out to see him properly and I will; but he's going to the trainer in 2 weeks so i'm guessing his muscles and topline will change a bit so i'll have someone out after he gets home a the end of next month.

Anyway, I took a few photos that I would like opinions on.

First his bare back

Next from one side (not standing as square as he could but the rest of his buddies were being turned out)

And then up close of the saddle

I think once I get a wither tracing and can properly size the gullet and possibly change out the gullet it might stop the back end swinging so much.

Question: does it look like i've maybe put the saddle a touch to far forward?

Also, to me at least it looks like the pommel is just a touch higher than the cantle, so maybe the gullet isn't wide enough?

I've noticed when I ride the saddle does tend to slide slightly to the left, this could be me putting too much weight into the left stirrup but the fact the saddle slides isn't good.

On a more positive note i've found an instructor who will come out to the barn and give me dressage lessons, it'll be the first time i've taken a dressage lesson on my own horse :)
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    07-31-2012, 08:52 PM
IMO torch the whole saddle (like really, throw it in a fire). Even if you are to put a bigger gullet in to attempt to correct the balance, you won't get the right wither clearance because the tree is not the right shape. And its an awful, awful saddle.
Don't send the poor horse to a trainer in such an ill fitting saddle. Buy one now, a month isn't going to change his shape as drastically as some people claim. My horse has had the same saddle from second level to I1 and it still fits the same as when I bought it. Just get it re-stuffed regularly.

Good luck
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    07-31-2012, 09:10 PM
Luckily the trainer is going to use his saddles, so I hope he has something that will fit better. I'll get a fitter out once he's back who can help me find a better fitting saddle.

While he's away i'll go check out saddles at the tack shop, is there anything I can take with me to help decide what size of saddle to try? So I can have a selection there for when the fitter comes?
    07-31-2012, 09:25 PM
Fitters normally will have a selection of saddles that they sell, or will be working with a tack store to sell their consignment saddles. However, a wither tracing is useful when looking at saddes. Go behind the shoulder a good hand and bend a wire around (coat hangers work). Then trace it onto a poster board and cut it out and you have a "horsey template" to look at the saddles in the store with.
A saddle fitter will be able to give you a good idea of brands that will work, and then she can size the tree as well.
Just looking at the pictures I think an KN or Passier might work.

Good luck
    07-31-2012, 09:32 PM
Thanks. I'll try and get a wither tracing and find a fitter to come out.

Thanks for the advice, at least i'm heading in the right direction now.
    08-01-2012, 08:38 AM
I found wither tracing to be somewhat helpful, but when you put a saddle on (and especially your butt in saddle) it gets quite different. What I did I borrowed as many saddles as I could and called the fitter in (yes, some fitters also have saddles for sale, especially if they work with the saddle brand, however mine doesn't). Then we tried all saddles narrowing down to those I tried under my butt. BTW, I bought my dressage saddle when my horses didn't have topline. Months of work changed the topline, however the only adjustment my fitter should do (I called her to check the fit) was to add some flocking on front. Because tree shape was still fitting the backs.

Personally, I don't like the saddle you posted much.
    08-01-2012, 10:08 AM
I'm on the look out for a saddle fitter now, google gave me nothing so i'm asking around in my area. I'm planning to go to the tack store at the weekend and see what kind of selection of used and dare I say it new saddles they've got.

The saddle I have now isn't great, the only reason I like it is that I stick to it when he's dancing around on trail.
    08-01-2012, 01:37 PM
Phoenix, where approximately are you located?
    08-01-2012, 01:55 PM
Yeah, that saddle is both too far forward AND an icky saddle. See how the cantle is lower than the pommel? The cantle should be a bit higher than the pommel, no lower. Riding in a saddle positioned thus will make you always be behind the motion.
That is one thing that really will tell you that the saddle is not right on the back. Being too far forward can do that, but I think that it is also not shaped right for your horse's back.
    08-01-2012, 02:31 PM
Originally Posted by kitten_Val    
phoenix, where approximately are you located?
I am located near Dayton OH. I've emailed 2 people, 1 in Ohio (which bounced back) and 1 in KY. The barn I thought would have access to a fitter use someone from Colorado.

Originally Posted by tinyliny    
yeah, that saddle is both too far forward AND an icky saddle. See how the cantle is lower than the pommel? The cantle should be a bit higher than the pommel, no lower. Riding in a saddle positioned thus will make you always be behind the motion.
That is one thing that really will tell you that the saddle is not right on the back. Being too far forward can do that, but I think that it is also not shaped right for your horse's back.
I thought i'd put it too far forward, it usually sits back a bit from that with a pad on but I was in a rush. Yup, I too noticed the pommel higher than the cantle, and i'm sure it's like that when it's sitting in its normal position. Yup I agree that it's not a great saddle, I bought it when I didn't ride him at all and went on the advice of the trainer at the barn I was at. Luckily I got it used so it wasn't expensive.

I'm looking for a fitter but am having a bit of an issue finding one. I'm going to ask at the tack shop about 30 minutes from where I live if they offer a fitting service since they carry a large range of saddles both new and used. I hope they do, and they will come to me to fit him. I don't have a trailer so getting somewhere to have him fit might be a bit problematic.

I'm not going to ride him until I get this sorted. My friend has a horse I can borrow for trails.

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