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How to size my western horse for an english saddle?

This is a discussion on How to size my western horse for an english saddle? within the Horse Tack and Equipment forums, part of the Horse Tack category

     
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        12-24-2010, 12:58 PM
      #11
    Trained
    I use a 17 english and a 16 western, and both are perfect fits. I don't believe there is more than 1" difference, in fact the saddle dealers I have talked to use that as their guide. Perhaps some of it may depend on whether you want a/p or cc, and if you have knee rolls or not. I had a Stubben VSS for 20 yrs( which I bought used), medium tree, and it fit all the horses I had, from TB to Draft X.

    When you fit an english saddle-fit it without the pad. And, FYI, a pad will NOT make up for a bad fit!

    Unless your guy is super wide, I bet a medium tree will fit, but I do agree with the advice about the wintec. They are really pretty nice looking anf feeling-even my "leather snob" friend was very happy with the one she got for her daughter. The changeable gullets are wonderful. I have a Bates with the CAIR and love it. Not something you would want to change several times a day, but not difficult, either.
         
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        12-25-2010, 02:01 AM
      #12
    Foal
    Quote:
    And, FYI, a pad will NOT make up for a bad fit!
    No, you're right that it won't make up for it if the saddle really doesn't fit at all. But certain types of pads will make a *good* fit, better. And I stress 'certain types of pads', because some can make a *good* fit, worse. I'd personally steer clear of any kind of high-density foam. I absolutely HATE the wintec riser pads (and their copies), and most generic, supposedly 'gel' pads. Those can often cause more problems than help. In my opinion, the only kind of half-pad that should be used (if necessary) is a genuine sheepskin.

    As far as saddles. The few quarter-horse-type horses that I've fitted saddles too here in South Africa, tend to be quite short in the back, which can make saddle-fitting difficult, because you have to be so aware of the eighteenth rib rule. I've seen none, so far, that can take anything over a 17" saddle at the very, very most. I've had a lot of success fitting the new-style Wintec AP saddle, because the channel is broad enough to keep clear of the spine, and the panels behind sit really nicely on a broad back. They've also got what I call an almost gusseted front panel, which gives enough room across loaded shoulders and low whithers.

    They're also really affordable, durable and easy to sell on.
         
        12-25-2010, 10:37 AM
      #13
    Foal
    The 17 inch English Stubben was too big for her (she may be closer to 5'1 1/2 than 5'2"--who knows). Her Western Saddle is a 20 year old Simco. The seller said it was a 16. It is considered a "junior" saddle so you may very well be right that it is closer to a 15 since most junior saddles don't go over size 15. Since it is so old (but in AMAZING condition) it may be that sizing has changed a bit over the years as will.

    My biggest concern was that the Stubben Edelweiss wouldn't fit our new quarterhorse. My daughter really wanted this saddle since she had ridden in one before but when we got her quarterhorse he was more than a little barrel shaped (OK so he was a bit of a porker). He has trimmed down a bit with conditioning but he is still a quarterhorse. The Stubben fits him and my daughter perfectly; but he needs a girth extender for now because the billets are shorter in a Stubben jump saddle than in her previous all purpose.
         
        12-25-2010, 10:53 AM
      #14
    Trained
    I'm surprised to see people suggesting saddles, without even knowing the size, shape and construction of the OP's horses back, body.

    I suggest, hiring a Professional Saddle Maker/Fitter to come to your place, in person to see your horse 1 on 1, to beable to assess saddles on your horses back to ensure proper fit and balance, and to see you in the saddle to see how you fit in the saddle, and watch how your horse moves in the saddle and your position in the saddle.

    With saddles that have adjustable gullets, like the Wintec, Pessoa and Bates - "A perfect fit" is a load of HOOEY!!!! Just because you can change the width size of the Tree, does not mean you can change the shape of the tree entirely.

    If you have a horse that has any arch to their back, stay away from Wintecs, because they have VERY STRAIT tree's. No matter how you change the "Gullet" you cannot make the saddle fit the rest of the body. I also dislike the Panels and how they are shaped, and I realllllllly dislike the lack of space in the Channel - causing the saddle to put pressure on the horses spine and the muscles around it.

    Horrible saddle as far as I am concerned.

    There is SO MUCH MORE involved in fitting a saddle on your horse, far beyond the size of the Tree *Medium, Medium/Wide, Narrow, Wide*

    PLEASE, hire a Professional to come to your place in person, to work with you 1 on 1.
         
        12-25-2010, 04:45 PM
      #15
    Trained
    Once again, I'm going to counter you on Wintecs MIE. It depends entirely on the individual saddle. I have two Wintec 500's - one is about ten years old and the other about three.

    The old saddle has a super bendy tree. It fits my short, fat, banana backed Arab beautifully. It has never gone on any of my flatter backed horses because it is too bendy - it will rock back and forth.

    The newer saddle is very flat through the panels, so it suits my two horses who are flat through the back.

    Definitely get a good, professional saddle fitter out. They will have accurate information on saddles they know from fitting hundreds of horses.
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        12-25-2010, 11:05 PM
      #16
    Foal
    I generally recommend getting a saddle fitter out. However, I'm also aware that some fitters charge exorbitant fees and some people live quite far out from main centers where it's not so easy to get someone to come and fit saddles. Which is why I recommend getting something which will have a chance of fitting most types of horses.

    Of course, if you can afford a fitter, and there's one close by, then definitely get that person out to fit a selection of saddles.
         
        12-25-2010, 11:12 PM
      #17
    Foal
    My horse fits a semi quater horse bar western saddle what is that in an english saddle?
    As most people have said, it depends on the shape of your horse and the saddle brand. But typically a semi-QH bar western saddle will be similar to a medium or narrow tree english saddle. But not always. A lot of tack stores, including some online are willing to let you "test ride" a saddle, where you would get to try it on your horse and see what you think of it and then buy one if you so choose. This might be a good option for you. Also, some places will let you trailer your horse into the tack store, where they will try on saddles and tell you which one is the best fit. Make sure that if you have a professional fitter come that you let them know what your budget is and exactly what you are looking for. Most come with some pretty hefty priced saddles.

    My saddle has a 16in seat what would that be an english saddle?

    Again, I'd look into some saddles, maybe go to a tack store and see what you find is your preference. Typically, a 16" western transfers to an 18" english.

    What leather colour? I am planning to just stay with english pleasure and MAYBE jumping but that's up in the air right now.

    I'd just go with a medium brown/havana brown. They match all horses and it doesn't go out of style. I personally like to stay away from black saddles, unless using it for dressage because they just don't seem to fit in english pleasure, and I haven't seen many for jumping, either.

    Any brands to stay away from and others to keep in mind?
    Depending on your price range, wintecs CAN be good for some horses. They do have the options of changing the gullets, but like many other saddles, the gullets don't always fit your horse as well as you'd like. These are also synthetic so that's a preference thing. If you like the idea of the changing gullet but like leather, I'd look into Bates saddles, as they are the same thing only leather and more expensive. I've heard many people have good luck with passoa, courbette, stubben, and on the cheaper end, HDR saddles. I'd stay away from the cheap-y brands like silver fox, cortina, all of the ones you will find really inexpensive.

    For english pleasure and dabbling into jumping, I'd look into getting an all purpose style saddle because it will be best for the different purposes. You could get a jumping saddle or a close contact if you prefered, though. Just know that if you get a jumping saddle, the best ones have the block at the back of the leg, and that's not a typical thing that you see in english pleasure saddles.

    Also pay attention to how it sits on your horse's back. I have issues fitting saddles to my horse because she has a narrow wither and a wide back which is typical for warmbloods. Because of this, a medium/narrow gullet fits her fantastic in the front and terribly in the back. There are certain brands that fit differently in different places and all horses are slightly different so I think it's just a matter of finding the right brand and right saddle for you.

    In my experience, people may correct me as I'm not a perfect saddle fitter, with an english saddle, you want it to sit flat on the horse's back comfortably. This will typically mean that the back of the seat is about an inch higher up that the very front of the saddle when it's sitting on your horse. You also don't want to feel uneven pressure if you stick your hand in between the saddle and the horse's wither. If it's uneven, it's pinching them somewhere. Another way to tell is if the horse is typically not girthy and you start to tighten the girth and he doesn't like it, it can be a sign that it's pinching. You can also ride in the saddle until the horse sweats and if it's a solid sweat, it's a good fit, if there are dry spots, it's pinching in those areas.
         
        12-26-2010, 02:48 PM
      #18
    Trained
    Quote:
    Once again, I'm going to counter you on Wintecs MIE. It depends entirely on the individual saddle. I have two Wintec 500's - one is about ten years old and the other about three.
    Again, I will disagree with you - and I have posted pictures to show you exactly what I am talking about with the tree's on Wintecs in other threads where we have discussed this very topic. The ONLY Wintec that has an arch to the tree, is the Wintec 500 CC - that's it. The Wintec 500 A/P, the Wintec 2000, the Wintec 500 Dressage, have strait tree's.
         
        12-26-2010, 03:22 PM
      #19
    Yearling
    So keep wintecs in mind or no? I have personally rode in a Bates and I have tried a stubben on Champ I liked the stubben better. This could be useless info as he has gained a large amount of muscle since trying those saddles. I much rather go with leather than synthetic.
         
        12-26-2010, 03:44 PM
      #20
    Trained
    Quote:
    The Wintec 500 A/P, the Wintec 2000, the Wintec 500 Dressage, have strait tree's.
    EXCEPT I have a Wintec 500 A/P in my shed right now that HAS a bendy tree. Why is that so hard for you to accept? I'm not making this up, I have ridden my bendy backed Arab in that saddle for close on ten years now.

    Quote:
    So keep wintecs in mind or no?
    I generally use Wintecs for horses I won't be keeping for too long, or horses that have really easy to fit backs (Like my bendy Arab). A Wintec didn't work for my ASH who ha previous saddle damage to his back. However, I also only have flock Wintec but I think the Cair is a better system and would go with Cair in any future Wintecs I buy. The Wintec Isabel is a lovely saddle and the two times I rode him in it, the sore-backed ASH went beautifully (With cair).
         

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