This will probably be a long thread, I've tried to condense it. Sorry it is very unorganised I'm pretty stressed, if you can't fit the information together please just ask, I've probably missed things out here and there but any helpful advice appreciated.
When I got my synthetic thorowgood saddle (I think it is the T4 GP, it says pony club approved on the back) beginning of this year I thought I was all sorted saddle-wise, but no.
I got the saddle, January time I think it was. It seemed all right and then later it began lifting and moving forward. Pictures I have seem to indicate it was alright untill about the beginning of april.
I got the original master saddler back out, who came highly recommended to me, to check the saddle and he checked it but I remember thinking having done a bit of research on fitting saddles that there were checks that he didn't do. He said the tree was fine as was the gullet, he put it on and me and another rode on it and it didn't budge off Harrys back the entire time. He was the one who originally sold me the saddle too after my second saddle lifted at the back. This one was doing the same and somehow he managed to make it not lift at all but when he said to check how it sat behind the scapula it seemed to be ontop of it but at the time I wasn't sure because I didn't know what the scapula bone was.
His conclusion was that I put the saddle on in the wrong place. I'm a bit weary to get him out again, I recommended him to a friend and all he did apparently was put a saddle on her horses back when it was in the stable and said "That's your saddle." She was stupid to buy it from him if that's all he did, but so was I and neither of us knew anything about saddles we just assumed as he was a master saddler and highly recommended we could trust him.
I don't know how he got it to sit so still cause nobody else can seem to.
Anyway so at the very beginning of this month I got another master saddler out, I can't fault him really. He did a lot of tests, including measuring the horse and doing sketches etc. He said that the problem was that the flocking in the saddle was only 1% wool and had compacted, so he reflocked the saddle with 100% wool and it seemed fine. Now I may need to wait untill the flocking moulds or anything? He seemed much more knowledgeable about saddles and I would be much happier asking him to come back out to check the saddle again. Because while it doesn't move as much as it was it still seems to be moving forward and seems very tight behind his shoulder. He said the saddle is fine to lift at the back as long as you cannot see daylight. It didn't appear to, this guy does a lot of side saddles and big eventers so seems the most reliable. When I told him how few tests and checks the original saddler had done in comparison he was surprised.
I think I'll get someone to ride Harry tonight so I can look at the saddle with someone riding on it but I am not satisfied that it fits him properly, could it be that the saddle is too light or something? It is a very light saddle and I also think it is too long and I had ridden in much smaller saddles so think I would be fine with something 15-16 inches rather than 16.5 inches. My main problem though at the moment is, Harry needs to lose weight, he is, slowly. It's hard to do when you don't have a saddle but I have been giving him at least half an hour to 2 hours excersise a few days a week this last month and I think he is starting to slim up a bit. The difference now is when the saddler last came out you couldn't find his ribs, seriously it was near impossible. Now you can feel them, not as much as I would like to but a bit. I am kind of unsure of what to do cause he never gets much skinnier than he is, he has a wide rib cage and flat shoulders. Don't know what I can do about the belly hanging down it seems resistant to the force of a diet lol
Here is a photo of Harry the day after the saddler came (1st September)
And this photo is from the 12th of September
Forgot to mention, Harry is about 5 years old so I'm hoping the front end will catch up a bit more on the back end. I'm sure he's grown a bit since I got him, he didn't have the nutrition to grow with his old owner for seemingly quite a year so I wonder will he catch up now or has that stunted his growth :(?
In case you have not seen Harry before this was him when I first got him so you can compare, this is STARVED Harry a week after I got him so he is actually a little fatter than he was when I bought him.
He was pretty much as he is now all year round after a while untill mid winter 2011 when he stopped eating. You could see his rib cage but not in this photo cause the camera is hopeless but if you stood alongside his shoulder it was very clear so I don't want him to be as skinny as this either.
He also lost everything around his hips too!
So maybe he is a kind of healthy weight, he only gets 3 small meals of hay a day at the moment. The saddler gave him a body score of 3 and a half at the beginning of this month. From my comparisons of the photos there's not a massive amount of difference so maybe now is the time to get a new saddle? What do you think?
(I'll post a photo from today if I get up and the light is good) BACK TO THE SADDLE!
After seeing this video I wonder if Harry has the same problem, this appears to be the same saddle too.
I am very VERY tempted to find someone who will buy that saddle I have off me and sell me a close contact leather one, I'm not that happy with that saddle having spent about 450 getting it and on saddlers I feel like I'm sitting above Harry a lot. I definitely would be happier buying with a second-hand, close contact, leather, working hunter or general purpose saddle.
So, questions for you guys: Should I get the saddler out now or weight till Harry is a healthy weight? Should I get a leather saddle or spend more trying to get this saddle fixed? Does anyone know if a saddle should lift at the back? Should I get the second saddler back again or a new saddler?
There is only 2 more places I can try:
- One is Bracken Equestrian Saddlery
- And the other is The Old Mill Saddlery. I know the Old Mill Saddlery does custom made saddles and know a few friends have got saddles from them, the only problem is, I'm 99% certain I have to transport Harry there and whilst I have access to a trailer I don't have access to a car to tow it. But from their website they have a massive selection of saddles and "Robert our master saddle fitter has over 20 years experience in the field of saddle manufacture and fitting and is renowned for his expertise in this area.
We have, onsite, four highly professional saddlers who carry out adjustments and modifications on the saddles in our workshop, very often during the saddle fit process. This means that over 90% of the time, your new saddle can be adjusted to be the perfect fit for you and your horse on the same day."
In case I missed this out, the reasons I think the saddle still does not fit. It lifts, moves forward and after a bit of riding is VERY tight around around the front, Harry does not like getting it on AT ALL. *He runs off when I get on (like he used to with his old one which didn't fit), he doesn't seem very fluid in his movements and is resistant to speed up which isn't like him at all.
*= He will stand like a pillar any other time, and used to but it seems like he is trying to tell me not to get on all of a sudden even though his work is his life, he loves it! :(
I have a little money at the moment.I just want what's best for Harry.
Some people say I'm really picky about my saddle, but I'd rather be really picky and get it right than ignore it and end up with...all manner of medical problems for my pony. Because after all Harrys welfare is the absolute number one priority in my life, there is NOTHING more important to me.
So massive rant over... Ok, so I've probably missed things out but fire away with polite questions, opinions and helpful suggestions. If you're from Northern Ireland and you see this and can recommend a saddler please do say!