Does He Have High Withers or Low Withers? (And wide/narrow backs)

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Does He Have High Withers or Low Withers? (And wide/narrow backs)

This is a discussion on Does He Have High Withers or Low Withers? (And wide/narrow backs) within the Horse Conformation Critique forums, part of the Horse Breeds, Breeding, and Genetics category
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    05-22-2012, 10:44 PM
Does He Have High Withers or Low Withers? (And wide/narrow backs)

Hello Everyone!

I know that this is probably going to see like a very silly question, but I am curious about whether my horse Rebel has high or low withers.

The reason I ask is this: I am hoping to take a trip in a couple of months to a really great saddle shop in Tennessee, and I am trying to educate myself as much as I can on saddle fit until then.

I have already found the stickied thread on saddle fit, and found it quite helpful :)

Also, how will you know if your horse has a wide back? Rebel is a Spotted Saddle Horse, and not the biggest fellow in the world (15.1 hands). I feel that he probably has an average back, but I am still not sure of what this might mean.

Here are some pictures:

Sorry for the picture flood! I was just hoping that at least one could be helpful :)

Thank you!
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    05-22-2012, 10:49 PM
I'm no expert, but I don't think he has high withers, and see him in an average tree.
    05-22-2012, 10:52 PM
Super Moderator
I'd say he has rather low withers (great for staying comfy while riding bareback!). He doesn't look all that wide but looks can be deceiving. My girl doesn't usually look super wide (to me at least but maybe I'm used to her...) but she really is.

And don't rely on his size to tell you how wide or not he is, my 14.1 Arab girl has low withers and the widest back ever - saddling her is like saddling an honest to goodness barrel (and she wears a wider saddle than every QH I've met!).

He's super adorable, sorry I couldn't be much more help.
Saddle-wise, I might try a gaited tree with him first, then try a SQHB one if the gaited saddle doesn't fit. I think, though, that a gaited saddle will fit him pretty well if what I'm remembering about them is true (wider shoulder area, narrower back area)...
    05-22-2012, 11:02 PM
Thank you both so much for your responses! I really appreciate you guys for not making me feel dumb- I feel like I should know all of this already, but I just don't!

I will definitely make a note of your suggestions, Wallaby. I am already planning to use the wire and cardboard tracing trick from the saddle fit thread to try and help me out some.

I have already learned something new- I had already completely ruled out gaited saddles but I may look into them again.

And thank you for the adorable comment :) He thinks he is quite the stud muffin, but it's still nice to hear your baby complimented.
    05-22-2012, 11:15 PM
Hey, were always learning, right? ;)
    05-22-2012, 11:29 PM
The wither tracing will be really helpful. My boy has shark-fin withers AND a wide back, which made it fun x 100 to get a saddle that fit. You could really see all of that in the wither tracing, too. Just use the longest piece of wire you can. I couldn't find a big enough piece of cardboard, so I opened up a paper grocery sack and that gave me a "canvas" big enough for my wither art. :)
    05-23-2012, 12:20 AM
The photos do not reveal that needed info. YOu need a side view with his head up, squared up on flat land. Maybe an angle view, off the point of shoulder and a bit above him (take it while sitting on a fence so your are above him) and a shot that is looking straight down on him.

He may have a hint of "mutton withers". Which, like Wallaby's Lacey, is a common shoulder shape for Arabs. Such horses cannot use a SQHB. It would be too narrow at the top of the bar.
    05-25-2012, 10:13 AM
If your horse is truly a spotted saddle horse, he is gaited, or has the ability to gait. You will need (or should seriously consider) a gaited saddle to free up his shoulders. From the photos, I would not consider his withers to be high. The spotted saddle horses I have had experience with all look "fuller" than TWHs.
There's some theory that they are basically TWH's with some pony in them somewhere in the past. They often seem stockier/shorter, have feathers, and tend to be easy keepers. You might be surprised and end up needing a wider saddle than you expected. Good luck. He's lovely!

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