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!