I have a off the track TB and he is very thin. I'm a new horse owner so very green about anything horsey. I need to buy a saddle for him but to me he seems to have a high withers and backbone (I think what they call a roach back). I am working on getting some weight on him and building him up with exercise. In the mean time any advice on buying a saddle would be greatly appreciated. Info like do I need FQHB or Semi QHB. Shims in addition to my thick saddle pad? I'm pretty good size so I don't want to cause him any discomfort when I do start riding. I'm including a picture to show the thin high withers and back.
I don't see any photos but typically my opinion is you'd want to look at the semi bars for a high-withered horse. Depending how the saddle you buy fits, you might need to get a build up pad underneath.
I wouldn't get a saddle until the horse has filled out. Anything you get now, may not fit him once he is up to par weight wise. I don't know anything about treeless saddles, but they may be a good choice for now... Not sure though. Posted via Mobile Device
I tried to post a pic with this thread but could not get it to work but you can see his pic under my name. The horse I am talking about is George. Thanks everyone for the great responses. I do think I'm going to wait a while before purchasing a saddle for myself. I am letting my daughter ride George every now and then but she is so light weight that I don't think he even knows she's there, and we got her a real good saddle pad to go with her little saddle.
Personally, I would want to give him more time on good food to see if he fills out some more before riding him. Does the feed he's getting have plenty of protein in it? A good ration of protein (around 15-18%) will help him to build muscle along with putting on some weight in the form of fat. Do you have another horse that you could pony him with? I suspect he would do better with a bit of exercise like walking up/down long hills. If you don't have another horse, you could always lead/ground drive him.
The most important thing right now, though, is getting his weight up where it should be. The fitness and riding can come later. If he was mine, I would put about as much good quality alfalfa hay he could eat in front of him and just let him eat...and eat...and eat. If he's not on anything other than grass hay or pasture, he'll need something more. Generally speaking, neither of those has enough nutrients to build muscle in an undernourished horse.
This is going to sound crazy but I have a good friend with an Ottb and she had the exact same type of whithers on her TB. She wouldn't fit quarter and semi quarter bars. She finally tried a walking horse saddle on her TB and it fit perfect. BTW some horses really need to be ridden to muscle up their backs. I have a mare that gets ridgey if she's not ridden regularly.
I agree with what others are saying about putting weight on him before an adult rides him with a saddle. Does your daughter's child-size saddle seem to fit this horse OK? You can always put a bareback pad on him too...
When he's put on some weight and you're ready to look at saddles, I'm guessing semi QH bars would work for him. You can check with the easy saddle templates here:
My Appendix QH gelding is very TBish and has high withers like your guy does. I have a SQHB Fabtron Lady Trail western saddle that I use with him when I feel like riding westen, and with the addition of the pad below it fits him great. I would recommend it or something similar to get the saddle up off his withers so the swell isn't resting on his backbone.