What's more important, horse or saddle? - Page 3

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What's more important, horse or saddle?

This is a discussion on What's more important, horse or saddle? within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    04-19-2010, 03:10 PM
Most riders in the upper range only have one (maybe 2 saddles) that they use for all their horses. In fact most riders in that class are riding other people's horses - but in their own saddles. If you are only going to ride one horse - ever, then wait, but an advancing rider will ride many horses and you can't get a saddle for every horse you ride.
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    04-19-2010, 03:21 PM
You don't want to be limited by a custom saddle not fitting a prospective horse. If you drop $4k on a custom saddle and find the perfect horse that doesn't fit the saddle.... then what?
The problem with English saddles is that they have extremely specific pressure points. Where you might get away with padding up on a Western saddle, you can't necessarily do on an English saddle. Keep in mind that an ill-fitting saddle can make a horse lame. Not to say that you can't get away with padding sometimes on a too-wide saddle, but you absolutely cannot do that with a too-narrow saddle.
I would suggest sitting down and making a budget for yourself. If you are convinced you want a custom saddle, make adjustments to your horse budget. Please please please do not buy a custom saddle before the horse. English saddles are extremely finicky like that....
    04-19-2010, 03:38 PM
Originally Posted by iridehorses    
1) Let's say you get your horse first then have your saddle made for him. What do you do when it's time to move up to a better horse or if that horse doesn't work or gains/looses weight/muscle? Do you get another saddle? Most likely not.

2) Most people like a horse with a certain build. A custom saddle can be altered to a good extent to fit a range of horses. Will it fit all horses? Certainly not but it will fit a lot of horses (with some alteration) within a build range .

1) My custom saddle sold with the mare it was built for. English saddles are so finicky to fit (I hate hate hate riser pads or any other "quick fixes" for a reason) that you do often end up buying and selling saddles when you buy/sell a horse. It is very very common for a person to sell a saddle and buy a new one for a new horse. I just take it as a given now - new horse usually = new saddle.
Regarding the muscle loss/gain issue: many custom saddles have a gullet system now, so that when the horse's shape changes, I.e. Through growth, you don't need to buy an entirely different saddle, you just get the gullet adjusted and the panels re-flocked to fit the horse's back perfectly again. When a horse is fully gown (i.e. Is not going to make drastic changes) and it's just a matter of muscle, most fit problems with a custom saddle can be changed via minor reflocking or slight gullet changes. That is not to say that a custom-fit saddle will always fit - I've known a few people to go through a few custom saddles for one horse due to the horse's body shape changing.

2) True, but again... English saddles are super finicky, and it's best to not rely on that train of thought when you're horse or saddle shopping.

    04-19-2010, 03:46 PM
Sorry, Alli, but I just don't agree. I know two former US Equestrian team riders (one is my aunt and the other my cousin) and they rode many many horses per year - all in the two saddles they owned.
    04-19-2010, 03:51 PM
Horse first, definitely. You could ride the horse bareback if you really wanted to...and if you get a custom made saddle that doesn't fit, bareback might end up being your only option til you sell the saddle anyway. There is alot you can do with a horse that doesn't involve riding first, but not much to do with a saddle that's sitting around looking pretty and getting dusty.
    04-19-2010, 03:58 PM
Here's what I am trying to say:
If you're a professional trainer, you will need a saddle or two that will fit a broad range of horses to train and ride in, with minor adjustments. Having said that, most upper level horses will have a saddle that is theirs.
BUT if you're not a pro, and you're just riding one horse, buy a saddle that fits you and the horse. I cannot stress how important correct saddle fit is...

Bill, may I ask which discipline(s)?
    04-19-2010, 04:18 PM
Alli, I'll sent you a PM - but it is in Show Jumping.
    04-19-2010, 05:52 PM
Originally Posted by iridehorses    
Personally I still think everyone is over thinking this chicken or egg thing. Let's say you get your horse first then have your saddle made for him. What do you do when it's time to move up to a better horse or if that horse doesn't work or gains/looses weight/muscle? Do you get another saddle? Most likely not.

Most people like a horse with a certain build. A custom saddle can be altered to a good extent to fit a range of horses. Will it fit all horses? Certainly not but it will fit a lot of horses (with some alteration) within a build range.
I completely agree. I think it is insane to have a saddle custom made to fit one horse. Aside from the fact that a well made saddle will last 2-3 times longer than a horses rideable life, a horses back changes drastically over a lifetime. A 2yo horses back will not look the same as it will when the horse is 7 or when the horse is 20. If you know you are going to be riding TBs then get a saddle that will accomodate the type of TB that you are most likely to own and don't buy any that are not of that type.
    04-19-2010, 08:36 PM
I have a custom made saddle that cost me $4,000. It is custom made to fit my current horse as he has had chronic back issues for quite a while.

My horse is an Australian Stock Horse and my saddle is on a standard stock horse tree. The only adjustments are in the flocking.

So far, my saddle has fitted every horse of the same type I have had it on.

I need to get the flocking adjusted as my boy has built up some muscle now due to not being in pain but that is just a five minute fix with his tool - The advantages of having felt panels means there is no unstitching to move the flocking.

I also sue thinline pads under my saddles to make up for any small discrepancies.
    04-19-2010, 10:33 PM
My horse nor I need a custom saddle. He's an easy fit and I'm a pretty standard sized person. That being said, when I change horses, if my saddle doesn't fit it'll be for sale.
Horse first, saddle second. What if you buy a saddle with a medium tree, and buy a horse a few months down the road that's just a little too wide for it? Say you pay $4,000 for that saddle. Even lightly used, you're going to lose money. There are no solutions for a too-small saddle. If you're comfortable putting the money out for potential loss, go for it. But in this economy it makes little sense.
Besides, what harm does waiting do?

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