Problem with saddle - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 06-21-2009, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Problem with saddle

I'm not sure what to do about my saddle situation.

I got my first horse about a week ago, a 19 year old warmblood mare. She came without any tack or equipment whatsoever.

I called out a regular saddle fitter to try to find her a saddle. They tried many different kinds, and ended up settling on a Kieffer Garmisch, normal width.

The problem is that while it seems to be fine without any weight in the saddle, once I sit in the saddle, the hollows beneath her withers (caused by the previous owner's non-fitting saddle, now she's missing muscle there) seem to make the saddle fall a bit more than it should. I was told by the saddle fitter that a more narrow saddle wouldn't help, since that was what she had before, and it would just pinch her at the withers. They recommended a saddle pad to fill the empty space where her muscles should be, until her muscles have a chance to grow back, with lots of work. We tried the saddle with pad, and as far as I could tell, it worked - the saddle sat nicely, there was enough clearance over the withers and spine, it didn't stop the shoulder movement etc. I rode with it too, and the horse seemed comfortable enough.

I have also been strongly recommended another saddle fitter by my local tack shop, but she is currently on holidays for a month.

I have read that a saddle pad is no substitute for a fitting saddle. So does this mean this Kieffer Garmisch with the pad is no good for her, even if it seems to fit with the pad?

The question is what do I do while waiting for another month, for this recommended saddle fitter to come back from holidays?
- Do I ride with this Kieffer and pad and trust that it does actually fit?
- Do I ride bareback? I hear that's bad for her back too
- Do I not ride her at all? That can't help her muscle or physical condition though...

Also, I wonder if anyone has had experience in fitting a saddle for a horse with those hollows behind the wither where muscle should be. Are pads an acceptable solution? Is it possible to find a saddle that would fill those? Of course, once the muscle does grow back, the saddle would no longer fit anyway...

Any suggestions would be most welcome!
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post #2 of 3 Old 06-21-2009, 04:10 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Southern CA
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Being that I have had the same problem. You already know that she will muscle up and if you buy a perfectly fitting saddle now you will end up needing to replace it. So I would use the pad you have untill she can develop some muscles across her top line and fill in behind her shoulders. Lots of walking and trotting hills will help (as long as she is pushing from her hind end). Using an aditional pad will not hurt her as long as the saddle is currently wide without the aditional pad. Or your other option would be to purchase an adjustable tree saddle so that you can change the gullets out as she gains more muscle.

If you notice her having back sorness there is a possibility that it could be the tree in the keiffer. I tried one out once and it fit my horse to the T, and the sweat marks were even but his back was sore. I had a friend who had the same issue. But because the tree was plastic, it didn't flex like a would tree would. But that's only 2 cases that I know of.
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post #3 of 3 Old 06-21-2009, 11:05 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 4,138
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I would highly suggest having your saddle fitter back out and describing the problem. Have him check the tree soundness too, it could have a cracked tree.

Personally, I would describe the problem and send photos and have a custom Skito pad built. The shims can be swapped out if/when she starts building muscle, or if you find you need different shimming. Skito Correction pads are very versatile and really cushion the horse. You can have your saddle fitter back out once you get the pad to help critique how it's working while you're up in the saddle.

I have three Skito pads and various shims and LOVE them! They work great for saddle fitting issues and for muscle development. The foam really circulates air too, keeping the horse's back cool and comfy .

As for riding, I'd go bareback. Short 15-20 minute jaunts will not hurt her back at all. Just sit the trot and do lots of walking and patterns.

Last edited by luvs2ride1979; 06-21-2009 at 11:07 PM.
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