Which is right? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum

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post #11 of 19 Old 12-07-2012, 03:14 PM
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[QUOTE=Saddlebag;1788329]
The sweat pattern says a lot as does the temperature. When removing the saddle you have to be quick and run your hand front to back to feel for variations in heat. A warmer spot will have more heat. The middle area may be sweaty but cooler than front and back so we know there's a bit of bridging going on. [QUOTE]

Sorry but I can't agree - sweat patterns are usually a pretty poor guide to fit. For example, a horse with underdeveloped conformation behind the shoulder will generally sweat more in this area under saddle because flocking has to be either firmer or more widely spread (ie the panel area must be bigger) to provide the correct degree of support for the tree width. This doesn't necessarily mean the saddle bridges in the middle, only that the horse gets hotter under a denser or broader padded area because it's more difficult for body heat to escape.

One problem with horses is a that physical sign may have more than one cause

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post #12 of 19 Old 12-11-2012, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saddlebag View Post
What we see is a close fit. The problem is the horse is standing still when you check the saddle for fit. As the horse moves his back is in a state of constant motion. The sweat pattern says a lot as does the temperature. When removing the saddle you have to be quick and run your hand front to back to feel for variations in heat. A warmer spot will have more heat. The middle area may be sweaty but cooler than front and back so we know there's a bit of bridging going on. Have I confused you further?
The people who put forth the "pad to fit" argument say it supports the horse's back in motion better. I like your advice of feeling for heat(not necessarily sweat), because it makes sense to me that if you were causing any stress or injury it would be warmer than surrounding tissues.

Unclearthur, I also agree that sweat can be a poor guide, because just variations in materials can alter sweat patterns, I have a saddle pad with thin gel inserts, my horse sweats far more under the gel patches than anywhere else.

How "perfect" does a fit have to be to get optimum performance out of your horse?

I recently read a book written by Grand Prix dressage rider that says she has 4 different custom made saddles for one horse. Each is "perfectly" fitted, but each is designed to spread her weight differently over the horse's back. She rotates the saddles because with the amount of riding she does, her horse is prone to getting sensitive spots on his back, she says by changing saddles daily, he doesn't get sore any more.

All I know is I tried a new saddle last week and my horse's feedback was instant! He was so much more willing to move, and carried his head at a much nicer level. Even though the saddle was heavier he seemed to have more energy throughout the ride.

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post #13 of 19 Old 12-11-2012, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Fargosgirl View Post
How "perfect" does a fit have to be to get optimum performance out of your horse?

I recently read a book written by Grand Prix dressage rider that says she has 4 different custom made saddles for one horse. Each is "perfectly" fitted, but each is designed to spread her weight differently over the horse's back. She rotates the saddles because with the amount of riding she does, her horse is prone to getting sensitive spots on his back, she says by changing saddles daily, he doesn't get sore any more.

All I know is I tried a new saddle last week and my horse's feedback was instant! He was so much more willing to move, and carried his head at a much nicer level. Even though the saddle was heavier he seemed to have more energy throughout the ride.
All saddles interfere, to a greater or lesser degree, so 'perfect' fit is unattainable, in my view. The dressage rider's comments illustrate this - none of her saddles fit 'perfectly'. She's making the best of a bad job ie. The horse cannot perform to the best of its ability without rotating saddles so unless she does this the horse is useless to her for competition. It's the same as using pads or bar shoes on a showjumper with problem feet - without this help its performance may be affected so it becomes uneconomic as a competition horse.

The difference a correctly fitting saddle makes to a horse can be quite startling and seeing that happen makes up for all the frustrations of being a fitter . It's more often restriction around the shoulders than elsewhere, but horses have this knack of 'moving' problems to make themselves more comfortable. Being a horse psychic would help

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post #14 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 09:06 AM
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Back in the days of Gengis Khan (sp?) his troops who basically lived on their horses and rode them in to battle, each soldier had three saddles starting with grass fat horses in the Spring. Then another about mid summer as they were muscling up. By Fall they used the third as now the horses were lean and very fit. Over a span of 20 years my big mutton withered horse used all three sizes of bars as his body changed with age. At 18 nothing fit but at 19 semi bars worked.
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post #15 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 09:25 AM
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.

The pic below shows a Western Saddle Tree on a Horse, notice the Angles of the Bars in the tree conform to the same Angle as the Horse.

If these angles are correct then the Saddle can be used on the Horse with no pad (theoretically, but with not a great deal of comfort), if you use a 1/2" thick pad or a 1" thick pad you are adding to the comfort of the Horse, you are not changing the Angles of the Bars, adding thicker pads moves the saddle higher.

Thus the reason for the old wives tale of padding up or padding down to make a Saddle fit different Horses Does Not Work!




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post #16 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by SouthernTrailsGA View Post
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Thus the reason for the old wives tale of padding up or padding down to make a Saddle fit different Horses Does Not Work!




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Skeletally correct, but condition-wise not quite right. I know what you mean but you can usually pad out horses which drop condition based on the season, provided it's within reason (ie. They don't go from hugely fat to emaciated). The military had a specific blanket-folding method which allowed individual animals' condition to be taken into account. However, pre WW1 the US army apparently decided it would be easier to have a single saddle width, so purchased only remounts which matched (as closely as possible) the saddles they had. Unsurprisingly this didn't quite work out how they hoped

Like you said you can't pad down, though. Wearing your thinnest socks in shoes a size too small would still be purgatory

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post #17 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by unclearthur View Post
Skeletally correct, but condition-wise not quite right. I know what you mean but you can usually pad out horses which drop condition based on the season, provided it's within reason (ie. They don't go from hugely fat to emaciated). The military had a specific blanket-folding method which allowed individual animals' condition to be taken into account. However, pre WW1 the US army apparently decided it would be easier to have a single saddle width, so purchased only remounts which matched (as closely as possible) the saddles they had. Unsurprisingly this didn't quite work out how they hoped

Like you said you can't pad down, though. Wearing your thinnest socks in shoes a size too small would still be purgatory
I agree and maybe I should have explained in more detail. The thicker pad will help for the subtle changes a Horse goes through during the year.

And in some cases for instance you may have a Horse that requires a Semi-QH Tree 6.5" gullet and get by with a thick pad under a Regular QH Bar 6.75" Gullet.

But the Problem is a majority of the off the shelf Western Saddles come in Semi-QH 6.5" Gullets sometimes called a Medium; the other size is Full-QH 7.0" Gullet sometimes called a Wide.

Going from Semi to Full or Full to Semi cannot be done with padding, as mentioned you can sometimes get away with cheating on one size difference but not two size differences.


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post #18 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by SouthernTrailsGA View Post
I agree and maybe I should have explained in more detail. The thicker pad will help for the subtle changes a Horse goes through during the year.

And in some cases for instance you may have a Horse that requires a Semi-QH Tree 6.5" gullet and get by with a thick pad under a Regular QH Bar 6.75" Gullet.

But the Problem is a majority of the off the shelf Western Saddles come in Semi-QH 6.5" Gullets sometimes called a Medium; the other size is Full-QH 7.0" Gullet sometimes called a Wide.

Going from Semi to Full or Full to Semi cannot be done with padding, as mentioned you can sometimes get away with cheating on one size difference but not two size differences.


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That's good info - thanks for the explanation. I must admit I was talking mainly 'English' as with so little experience of Western saddles I'm not qualified to talk about how they fit, though the head/bar angle issues are obviously similar.
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post #19 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the input! You guys are beginning to cause all of the disjointed facts to come together in my head so it is starting to make some sense.

I tried every western saddle I could lay my hands on when I first got my horse to accept a saddle, not one fit. His back measures 20" from scapula (standing square) to point of hip. Though he is 1 1/2 hands taller than my POA, his back is 3" shorter. Living in NM western is the ONLY type of saddle you can find in local tack stores, and Full Quarter bars are what is usually carried in stock.

I really appreciate the information you are sharing because the employees at the tack store are of little help and several trainers I've talked to weren't much better. They only know about large western saddles, because everyone in my area rides large western horses.

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