Saddle fit, wither clearance?

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Saddle fit, wither clearance?

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    10-17-2011, 10:58 PM
Saddle fit, wither clearance?

I have no idea how I never noticed this...but my saddle presses again the saddle pad on her withers. Which I imagine would make her sore, which could cause her to be acting up right? Is therre anything I can do without buying another saddle?
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    10-17-2011, 11:18 PM
Is it pressing the top of the withers, or the sides? (pictures help)
The top -- definitely painful & limiting movement.
There should be a couple inches clearance there (depending on saddle type, but it definitely shouldn't touch).

If it's the sides -- depends. Sometimes a pad can alleviate mild pressure points. (More so if the gullet of the saddle is slightly too big, you can use a thick pad to fill up the extra space. If the gullet is too narrow a pad isn't going to make a difference, it'll be too tight always.) Does she sweat under the entire saddle? If she's working hard enough to work up a sweat and there are dry spots under the saddle, that's a bad sign, usually damaging muscles then because of uneven pressure.
    10-17-2011, 11:32 PM
It presses on the top, I'm assuming I never noticed because it seems to clear, untill I cinch it the third time. Once when first on, then after I do the bridle and all, and again before I get on. She is cinchy (maybe the badly fitted saddle?) it seems to fit thrru the tree, but I really don't know much about saddle fit. And I usually don't ride enough to sweat but one time, but she seemed to have no dry spots, but I also had a saddle pad. And I ould have gotten pics, but light was bad. Plus I cannot post them frrom my phone.
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    10-17-2011, 11:38 PM
Does your horse have white hairs in the location where the saddle might be pressing on the withers? When you are sitting in the saddle, can you get at least two fingers between the arching "fork" of the saddle and her wither bone? If you can't get your fingers in there at all, then that's too tight. It probably isn't that the saddle is too narrow, but rather that it's too wide in front. Sometimes you can get a pad with a cutaway at the wither area, a full cutaway, not just a slit, and this MIGHT work. You'd have to try it, tack her up and get aboard.

If you don't adress this, you may make your hrose really sore and sour.
    10-17-2011, 11:45 PM
She does not havve white hairs, but I have only been riding her maybe two months, thrty minute rides. And that was was worried about, I don't want her to dislike being ridden. I got on her bareback the other day, and not once did she try to trot usual. As soon as I Saddled her, she was back to her old ways. So a saddle pad with the wither cut out may work, if not, I will probably need aanother saddle, right?
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    10-17-2011, 11:50 PM
Too many people buy saddles without knowing what they are buying, if the saddle properly fits or not - there is far more to saddle fitting than what size of tree it is and what size of seat.

Good for you for noticing that the pommel is on your horses withers - here is a thread of great informational videos for you to take in some knowledge on saddle fit.

My greatest suggestion, is to hire a Professional Saddle Maker/Fitter to come out and assess the saddle for both you and your horse. Sounds like you need to get a new saddle.

If you add pads to lift the saddle up off of the withers, you could be changing the way the saddle fits on your horses back, causing more problems in the long run.
    10-17-2011, 11:57 PM
You may need to get a new pad if your current one is getting worn. I notice that with mine after a while the padding smashes down and my saddle sits lower.
    10-18-2011, 12:07 AM
Originally Posted by LovesMyDunnBoy    
She does not havve white hairs, but I have only been riding her maybe two months, thrty minute rides. And that was was worried about, I don't want her to dislike being ridden. I got on her bareback the other day, and not once did she try to trot usual. As soon as I Saddled her, she was back to her old ways. So a saddle pad with the wither cut out may work, if not, I will probably need aanother saddle, right?
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A horse that "rushes" when saddled is often trying to run out from under that pain of a bad saddle fit. And, they may hollow out their back, put head in air and this puts their balance onto the forehand. All are classic evasive manuavers of the horse to pain from a bad saddle fit.

Not wanting to trot when you are bareback might be becasue your horse feels that you are not secure in your seat . Horses will kind of "take care of" riders who they are pretty sure are not going to stay balanced when they start moving more. I think that' pretty considerate of them, dont' you?
    10-18-2011, 12:08 AM
I bought this specific saddle, for a different mare which is why I had it. I can't watch the videos, because of my phone. And Kevin, I don't think that's it. I have only had this pad about maybe five months, but not very often used. I also would like to get her a back adjustment hopefully.
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    10-18-2011, 12:32 AM
There are two parts to the fit of the front of the saddle. One is the angle of the bars. Think inverted V. If the angle is too wide, the front of the saddle goes lower and there is uneven pressure on the tree. If the V is too narrow, the ends will gouge into the shoulder while lifting the front higher.

The angle ideally should be the same as the horse. If in doubt, wide (and low) hurts less.

Also, there is the horizontal distance - 6.5, 7 inches etc horizontally between the bars of the tree. Again, too narrow will raise the front, and also gouge. Too wide will lower the front, but then come to rest. If this is the case, a wither pad (or folded towel) will help. I sometimes use one because my Arabians have wide angles, but narrow horizontal distance. A wither pad fills in the gap. With a western saddle, and with a felt pad & Navajo blanket underneath anyways, it doesn't seem to have any ill effect on the horse. With an English saddle, and a very thin pad, that isn't true.

Look to see if the angle of the saddle matches your horse. If so, and the saddle rides low, it probably just needs some padding. I used to use a fleece wither pad from Statelinetack ($8, IIRC), but now will use a folded wool pony blanket (the blanket is 24x24, so folding it makes it 12" wide, and each side hangs down 12" below the withers). You can try a thick towel folded, and see if it helps. If it doesn't, there is no reason to try the wither pad.
kevinshorses likes this.

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