I was given a walker mare last fall that was in pretty rough (skeletal) shape. It's been pretty much all this time fattening her back up. She is finally in good enough shape to ride lightly and build her top line and rump back up.
I've taken her for a few easy walks down the trails using my old textan hereford with semi QH bars. Saddle fits fine with a cut back pad. I had used this on a smaller but similar shaped mare previously. Just a nice, comfy old saddle. It's summer, the western is kind of heavy and hot so I dragged out the aussie I used on the same smaller mare. I rode yesterday for maybe an hour. Just walking and another hour working on the troll under the bridge. When I got back to the house I noticed the saddle had slipped back a bit. Didn't think too much of it, I hadn't really tightened the girth down a bunch. She was gaiting very nicely, not pacey like I expected. Couldn't have felt too bad.
Today was another gorgeous day so I figured we would vanquish the troll under the bridge and head up the high country trails for a bit. We made it over the bridge, halfway backwards. Headed up the road with little trouble. Probably a few miles up I felt the saddle slip back again. I started dismounting to tighten the girth. The saddle slipped back past the halfway point and rolled underneath. I was clear and unscathed and fortunately Katiebug is pretty level headed for a green horse and just stood there while I unhitched an upside down saddle. Decided not to kill myself and my horse in the middle of nowhere so I just tightened things up just enough where we could both walk home. Or so I thought...even with me just leading the mare the saddle would slip back and roll. So I tightened the girth more and continued on home. Slipped again, repeated the process and again and I finally pulled it as tight as if I were mounting. Still slipped with no rider. Made for a very long and unpleasant walk home but we made it. Got to my back gate and let her in that way. Stashed the saddle behind some brush and got the truck to bring it back. Horse was cool, I was soaked.
Now I'm sitting here wondering. The western saddle fit fine. No issues other than I didn't want to lift a heavy saddle onto a 16 hand horse in summer.
The aussie saddle had last been used on my gaited standarbred, who did a running walk and would rack when I let her. Smaller mare but only by 2 inches. Same huge shoulder, same tall wither. The fit shouldn't have been that atrocious. I had even played with sliding the saddle up and down on her back to find the right spot. When I had what seemed like the right spot I could put all 4 fingers between wither and saddle.
I used an acrylic blend navaho type blanket, weaver, from tractor supply. Not sure were my old cotton square pads went. The girth was a cheapy from ebay. Bought because the old one was also awol. Should have been fine for a couple hours in the woods. I did expect it to stretch some.
Fly spray...homemade mix of avon skin so soft, permethrin and water with a few drops of citronella. I coated the horse pretty good and it was getting to the end of the bottle. Was a little heavy on the skin so soft oil.
(I know I should show some pics of the saddle on the horse but I'm beat. Soon, promise.)
I'm wondering did I make the saddle float on the horse with the bug spray? It wasn't all that hot. 76 degrees with a breeze. Was it the cheap blanket? Cheap girth?
Before I let the horse go I fiddled with saddle and no pad. Seems like I had to have the saddle pretty far up onto her shoulder to get the girth in the right spot behind her legs.
Never had one in all these years fit so bad. Had a few where I said this won't do and bought another but not like this where I putting the saddle back on top every 15 feet. And if it was so bad how did I manage to get 2 or 3 miles out into the woods?
I like that old aussie. I've had it for 18 years now. It wasn't an expensive one but it isn't asian garbage either. When my old standardbred passed I kept it in the house and cleaned and oiled it regularly for when I got another gaited horse it would fit. Ack!!
I will try to pics of the saddle sitting on the horse tomorrow. Dark here now.
I'm not much of horse photographer. I will have a little fun and leave you with a picture of her grandpa. She looks like him big time! Not going to be a chunky TWH. He's got that funky wither too. Pretty sure this saddle would fit him the same.