How to fit saddle for a fat horse? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 3 Old 08-17-2013, 02:42 AM Thread Starter
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How to fit saddle for a fat horse?

My sister leases an Arab X Riding pony who has put on a lot of weight since we got him. When we first got him we bought a stock saddle that fitted him perfectly, but now we think it's hurting him because he seems to be in pain when she rides. Could he have outgrown it or something? Or is there another problem? He is very chubby and is now on a diet, but we can't give him enough exercise without a correct fitting saddle.
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post #2 of 3 Old 08-17-2013, 05:10 AM
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Most traditional stock saddles are built for narrower horses, as apparently stock horses used to be built more like Thoroughbreds (they're being bred wider now). So it's likely that a stock saddle won't fit a wide horse, unless it's a wide make. The weight can easily make the difference. Also, it might not have fit him too well in the first place, the angle of the front has to match the angle of the horse's back. Just because it "sits" there, doesn't mean it fits. If you have some pictures maybe you can get more advice.

There are lots of saddles out there that will fit a wide horse. You might want to look at something with an interchangeable gullet system, so that when he loses weight you can keep the saddle. As he's just a lease, an adjustable saddle is more likely to fit more horses, if you get a different horse later on. If you're looking for a stock there might be some halfbreed stock saddles that fit him (as they're built wider), however with his breeding you have to make sure they're not too long for his back.

If you're not experienced in saddle fitting the best option is usually to get out a saddle fitter. Many of them will have a collection of saddles to try on your horse, or are affiliated with a saddlery so they can borrow saddles you're interested in and try them on.
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post #3 of 3 Old 08-17-2013, 09:04 AM
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Fat horses can be a nightmare to fit. The problems is that often, if the front arch only a tiny bit narrow, the saddle will twist or lean to one side. The only cure for those is a wider saddle.

My horse grew huge while off with a foot problem. He was in a 3XW saddle anyway and was far too big for that. The only way I could exercise him was by buying a treeless and managing with it's faults (mostly slipping side to side) until his weight dropped.

You could always lunge the horse if you're desperate. I found the best way to get mine slimmed down is clip him out and turn him out in winter in a lightweight rug. (He's in at night - I'm not that mean to him!). But he copes with the cold well as he's an ID cross - I wouldn't recommend this method for everyone.

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