Buying my first saddle

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Buying my first saddle

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    09-04-2012, 01:05 AM
Question Buying my first saddle

I've been riding for about 8 months now and adopted my first horse, Captain, about 3 months ago now. You can read a little more about Captain and myself here. I've been riding and taking lessons in one of the saddles from the farm, but it doesn't fit Captain or myself very well.

I ride english and do some jumping, so I'm thinking an all purpose saddle will be ideal. I'd like to spend less than $1000 in total for saddle, leathers, irons and girth. At this point the two saddles at the top of my list are the Wintec Pro All Purpose and the Wintec 2000 All Purpose. I checked out an 18" Wintec Pro AP the last time I was at Dover, and I was really impressed. I'm not sure which of these two would be better for me as a 6' male (32" inseam).

Captain is still lacking quite a bit in topline muscle, but he has come a long way since the first time I saw him. I'm hoping the adjustable gullet in the Wintec will allow me to continue to adjust the saddle as Captain continues to gain muscle mass. I realize an interchangeable gullet is not a universal fix and does not garuntee fitment in any way, but my hope is that it will be a valuable tool in getting things much more dialed in than is currently possible. I curently have to use a saddle pad with inserts that create some wither relief in combination with a very thick wool/fleece saddle pad to get a decent fit. My hope is that my new saddle will be able to be used solely with a saddle pad that creates some with relief and that I won't need a super thick and bulky wool pad anymore.

Captain March 2012:

Captain was extremely underweight here. Poor guy.

Captain August 2012:
note: the pressure marks you can see in these photos are remanents from a single incident after I got a new saddle pad about 3 months ago. I felt really awful at the time, and I've been much more aware of saddle fitment issues since then. Captain is fully headed up, but the hair growing in that area is white as a result.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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    09-04-2012, 01:13 AM
I still think you may need some kind of "shims" to get a good saddle fit. Good on you for taking such care to get what's right for your horse!
    09-04-2012, 01:20 AM
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
I still think you may need some kind of "shims" to get a good saddle fit. Good on you for taking such care to get what's right for your horse!

I agree on needing shims, my goal is just to be able to get rid of the monstrous wool pad I currently have to use. I think the a shim-able saddle pad with some built in wither relief (Thinline maybe?) in combination with the shims available for the 2012 Wintec's (the 'easy change riser system') will be enough.
    09-04-2012, 02:04 AM
It might be worth getting a saddle fitter to help you., does cost money, but might be cheaper in the long run .
crimsonsky likes this.
    09-04-2012, 08:31 AM
I agree with saddle fitter suggestion. As for Thinline I have contour (not a shim version) and both my horses appreciate me using it every time I ride. Several people on this forum use Thinline with shims and very happy with it (I believe they have Trifecta or something - you can change square pad under this one).
    09-04-2012, 12:43 PM
I doubly suggest a fitter. You can see your Wintec gauge measures Narrow-medium BUT your horse is at least a WIDE fit. It's because the gauge doesn't really take into account poor muscle development.

Having an adjustable gullet saddle is a good idea because he should build up, though you'll probably always have some hollowing behind the shoulder unless he gets very fat. The newer Wintec 2000s have a nice deep (dropped) panel, great for adding extra wool in this area to support the correct arch width. And another reason to employ a saddle fitter who knows what he (or she) is doing. Unfortunately even that is no miracle cure and you may still need a pad thick enough to give extra clearance, but at least if the saddle is flocked level to start with you shouldn't need to worry about thicker pads here and thinner ones there.

Good luck :)
tinyliny likes this.
    09-04-2012, 02:19 PM
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
It might be worth getting a saddle fitter to help you., does cost money, but might be cheaper in the long run .
Originally Posted by unclearthur    
I doubly suggest a fitter. You can see your Wintec gauge measures Narrow-medium BUT your horse is at least a WIDE fit. It's because the gauge doesn't really take into account poor muscle development.
I have several concerns in going to a saddle fitter...
  1. I'm having difficulty finding a local saddle fitter (south central PA / Newville, PA)
  2. It seems like the majority of qualified saddle fitters only work with a few very expensive saddle brands. Even $1400 would be a real strech for me. I guess I just don't see the point in going to a saddle fitter when their recomendation is going to be a $2000 saddle that I can't afford.
  3. As quickly as Captains back is developing currently, it seems like their recommendations and and modifications will probably be completely irrelevant in a month or two. Unfortunately, I really need a new saddle now.
    09-04-2012, 03:51 PM
1. Can't help with that - I'm too far away ;)
2.Then they're only really interested in money, not horses. Try ringing around and tell them your problem, proposed solution and that you need the saddle adjusted to fit the horse - you may find someone prepared to help.
3. Buy a Wintec with the correct size gullet and have it properly flocked. And checked/adjusted every six months or so until the horse settles into some sort of regular shape.

If you want your horse as comfortable as possible and can't do it yourself you have to spend money and time. Sorry - there's no easy option. That's why so many horses (I reckon roughly 40% from the number I see) have unresolved saddle issues :(
    09-04-2012, 04:47 PM
Thanks for starting this thread. I ride a horse with a similar (but not as extreme) topline in the wintertime, and have been pretty baffled by trying to get a good fit and comfort for all. Some interesting feedback here.
    09-04-2012, 05:44 PM
One thing I forgot, based on my last comment.

When you've gotten a horse from poor to good condition, as in Captain's case, or if you've lowned/looked after it for a long time, it sometimes won't tell you there's a problem with the saddle.

Heavier breeds are the worst for this sort of behaviour, and it's actually quite humbling when you meet one. It is for me, anyway. Because the horse has often put up with a great deal of discomfort rather than upset its owner/rider/carer by misbehaving.

When you've spent so much time, effort and love (and money) on an animal it's not fair to spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar.

Just my opinion :)

percheron, saddle, saddle fit, wintec

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