Stirrup bar placement & saddle balance

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Stirrup bar placement & saddle balance

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    10-13-2013, 01:25 AM
Question Stirrup bar placement & saddle balance

A small seat would mean that the stirrup bar would be closer to the deepest part of the seat, right? Where-as on a bigger seat the deepest point would be further back from the stirrup bar?

Little Butt/Long Thigh Problems:
I thought I needed a small seat with a forward flap, but now I'm wondering if I'd be better off having a bigger seat due to the balance. I wonder if I need that stirrup bar to be farther forward so I can more easily get into a defensive position if I need to.

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    10-13-2013, 01:42 AM
Green Broke
I have a friend that is quite tall and thin with really long legs, and she's had a heck of a time trying to find a saddle that fits her. Basically, every saddle that she has tried either has her legs over or about to be over the flap (she's been looking at long flap saddles even) or had a too-large seat that put her in a chair seat. Everyone's been telling her to go with the larger seat size, but her current saddle is a 17.5" and she has the chair seat problem, despite trying to fix it. The problem that both she and I can logically gather as well as see in her leg is that if you have a forward flap saddle then your butt will be back in the seat, but your leg and ultimately your feet will be up in front of you perpetuating the chair seat. Folks have told her to try a variety of different 17.5ish saddles to see if she can find some with better stirrup bar placement to help with her leg position, but she's kind of resistant to the idea. I'd second that idea for you, as well as considering the forward flap option. Unfortunately you basically need to keep trying saddles until you find the one that clicks
    10-13-2013, 10:33 AM
Interesting question.There are usually two issues with long-legged riders - femur length (most common problem) and lower leg (less common but more difficult to deal with).

As far as the first goes, I look at it this way. In theory, if you sit in the saddle without stirrups so you're balanced in the middle (low point) of the seat then move your legs into jumping position, your knees move forward and up. You don't shuffle your seat backwards, or you shouldn't, because then you'd be sitting behind the horse's centre of balance. That means flap angle is the most important consideration. In practice of course you tend to naturally move your bum back very slightly, so seat length IS a consideration, though it's secondary.

Stirrup bar position will make a slight difference as manufacturers tend to fit them in an 'average' position, but from that point of view they are governed by both the tree shape (they're attached to the point and the rail, so angle of the point makes the biggest difference, and we don't want the point at too forward an angle as that drastically affects fit behind the horse's shoulder) and the bar castings they have available.

Lower leg length affects what length of flap is comfortable, usually because the flap catches the top of your long boot which is really annoying. It's more difficult to sort out simply because few manufacturers offer shortened or extended flap lengths.

I've found the majority of cases where riders leg moves forward over the front of the flap are due to the saddle not sitting in balance on the horse with rider mounted. It's a particular problem with croup-high horses, especially those with flat withers. Saddles designed for this type tend to have flatter trees so they sit lower in front. When the rider mounts he/she tends to rebalance by sitting slightly back from the vertical, and as the saddle doesn't sit level with the ground the flap edge is behind it's usual perpendicular so the rider's legs sit apparently further forward than they would on a correctly balanced saddle.

Sorry for the long post :)
bsms, verona1016, freia and 1 others like this.
    10-15-2013, 01:02 AM
Unclearthur, no post from you is ever too long! I appreciate you sharing your knowledge. I can never learn enough about tack, I love it that much :)

Thank you both for your help!
    10-23-2013, 11:10 PM
If it's a good-quality saddle, not a Wintec or something, you might want to investigate having either adjustable or extended stirrup bars put on it if you need to move the leathers back. Adjustable bars cost more.
petitepyromaniac likes this.
    10-24-2013, 04:19 PM
Originally Posted by Tack Collector    
If it's a good-quality saddle, not a Wintec or something, you might want to investigate having either adjustable or extended stirrup bars put on it if you need to move the leathers back. Adjustable bars cost more.
I doubt anyone would do it, because the saddle would have to be stripped to a bare tree. And there's a risk the tree could be damaged removing the old bars.

So it might be more economic to look for a saddle with Wellep bars already fitted.
    10-24-2013, 07:47 PM
Actually lots of saddlers will do that on dressage and cutback saddles. I'm not sure about ccs, because they have a smaller tree to work with. I see the Wellep bars on those, and not the other varieties, maybe because the Welleps are shorter and flatter, and the back end of them still attaches pretty far forward on the tree. East Crow saddlery and Dutchess saddlery are two. Hobson's Choice Saddlery is another. Sue Schuerer used to, but her website disappeared and I don't know why she apparently is not in the saddlefitting business anymore.

Slider bars cost $300 from East Crowe 2-3 years ago. Wellep bars were less. Extended bars were the least costly.

Slider bars cost $300 from Ea
    10-25-2013, 04:21 PM
Originally Posted by Tack Collector    
Actually lots of saddlers will do that on dressage and cutback saddles. ...
That's a real surprise to me!

What an enterprising lot of saddlers you've got over there
petitepyromaniac likes this.
    10-29-2013, 09:40 AM
Just a caution: You should contact a saddler about it, and not just assume that you can put a super-long bar on any tree.

Stirrup bars have two attachment points. With an extended bar or adjustable bar, the back of the bar gets attached someplace near the waist or twist of the tree. There might be some quirk about a tree that makes that not advisable or feasible. And it won't work if the tree doesn't have enough substance and strength there to bear a rider's weight, or the torquing that goes with mounting.

These are Lovatt & Ricketts trees. Extended bar on dressage tree, Wellep adjustable bar on Lane Fox saddleseat tree.

Regular stirrup bars are shorter and attach 'way up front,like on this XCH cc tree. The tree is stronger up there, toward the head plate.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg xch.JPG (26.8 KB, 49 views)
    10-29-2013, 09:53 AM
This is an extreme case. I bought this used Whitman saddle that is from the '80s or early '90s. It has these (altered) extremely extended bars that someone apparently made by welding an extension piece onto the front onto an already extended bar. Look how far back the leathers hang, lol. I guess if neither the bar nor the tree break, I guess it's allright.


long thigh, saddle, seat, seat size, stirrup bar

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