Western Saddle Critique! Help? Can't find a saddle for her!*pic heavy*

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Western Saddle Critique! Help? Can't find a saddle for her!*pic heavy*

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    03-01-2012, 04:39 PM
Exclamation Western Saddle Critique! Help? Can't find a saddle for her!*pic heavy*

Hello everyone!!! I have started riding my 4 year old filly this past summer. Of course, no real hard core rides yet. Just getting her started! (I must say she's doing fantastic! Hasn't even thought about trying to toss me ) -knock on wood- Anyways, thanks to this wonderful forum, I have become quite conscious about how my saddle fits!! I have been browsing around for a saddle for my filly for almost a year now. However, the search has become serious because for Christmas I got $500 to find her a saddle that fits. Yay! Haha

I already have two western saddles, yet they do not fit her right. When I cinch them up -the back of the saddle pops up into the air and it sits down on her withers. This would be because it is too wide in the front, right? Causing the front to fall down and the back too come up. I don't even want to ride her in these because I don't want to cause any discomfort for her while we're riding together and I don't want any permanent damage caused! So mainly I've been riding her in an English Saddle and bareback.

These first pictures I'm going to show are of the 5th saddle I have tried on her. Each saddle, I seem to get closer. I have been finding them at the local tack consignment shops. They allow a trial period with money down.

Because Sasha has such a short back, I'm looking for something with a round skirt. That way it doesn't interfere with the movement in her hind end. A lot of saddles are just way to long and her hips wind up hitting the back corners of the skirt. It's hard though because I need a saddle that is a 14 1/2" or a 15" while the overall saddle length can only be 22" about (I can't remember exactly, I'll take another tape measure to it.) I've had the girls at the tack stores write down my measurements and they call me when something comes in.. Lazy I know! I still stop by and look though every few days. With these specifications, I have been turned in the direction of barrel saddles. Which is okay, I like how light they are! But I don't like how small the horn is . Personal preference, I've got thrown off and hit the horn before. I can't imagine hitting one so small! Haha

ANYWAYS.. What do you guys think of this saddle?

When not cinched: I could fit two fingers under the very back and front (see picture). As you can see in the pictures without the saddle pad, it has a lot of flares around the edges. Even without being cinched down the back of the saddle was up in the air. You can even see the front flared off her shoulder. It seemed to sit even on her back though, with nice even pressure when I slid my hand underneath.

When cinched: I really liked the front! I had nice clearance at her withers, and the front sat down flush with her shoulder. (no more two fingers). The bar angles seem to be nice. However, I could still slide my hand under there with relative ease, it didn't feel like it was pinching her or restricting shoulder movement. When I ran my hand along underneath it, it felt like nice even pressure. It seems to sit even on her back too. What I DIDN'T like though is AGAIN when I cinched the saddle the back flared up into the air! I could fit EASILY FOUR FINGERS underneath the very back! I would have taken a picture, but my phone got a low battery and I couldn't take anymore. The weird thing is though, the saddle still seemed to sit level. (If you need pictures, I haven't taken the saddle back. I can go take some.)

My opinion: The saddle has a good bar angle and gullet width for her. However the saddle is meant for a horse with more of a swayed back. Like the tree has too much of an arc like a banana (exaggerating). I need something with a little more straight tree that doesn't curve so much?

I am going to post all the pictures I managed to get of it! Please give me your opinion. This is my first time buying a saddle period, any tips or advice is greatly appreciated! Correct anything I've said wrong! I have tried to do as much research and watch as many videos as I could. I can't afford a professional saddle fitter which would be ideal, but in reality I only have $500. So, I am just going to take my time and not rush until I find something that's right. This saddle in this picture, I don't particularly care for it's looks at ALL but I was hoping it'd fit her because that's really all that matters. (I did find it comfortable at least for myself as well).

(excuse the poor pictures of her, she is in her winter woolies and I pulled her blanket off real fast to try it on her!) **Note: NONE of these pictures are with the saddle cinched up, it is just sitting loose on her back.
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    03-01-2012, 06:19 PM
Hey! I know no one has replied yet, but I found these three videos on youtube.com about saddle fitting!!! Most saddle fitting guides you find are with English saddles (or so I have found). But these three use western saddles!

I like this set of videos because they show you with a western saddle TREE, without all the leather and such. That way you can see exactly how they sit (or at least should).

-has a few good points in this video with terms and explaining how the tree works. Bare with it, they are advertising their brand of saddle!

-has A LOT of good information! I love it! Answers a lot of question or things you may not be clear on. I love their rigging too -what a good idea! Adjustable!

****Not associated with the videos above.****

-little more slow paced, has some good information. Mentions a pocket behind the shoulder blade associated with older horses or horses who aren't in shape.

After watching these it says that lifting in the back of the saddle means it's too narrow? But this saddle actually didn't seem narrow for her. I don't feel pinching in the shoulder. I'm thinking it has too much "rock in the tree" as mentioned. That could be why even when the back rocks up it still sits relatively even?
    03-01-2012, 08:19 PM
I am by no means an expert, but like you said, I would guess the tree has a little too much "rock" to it, causing the back end to come up a little and it looks a tad bit low in the front with out the pad.

Maybe another pic of your filly on level ground with out a saddle so we could see her back?
    03-01-2012, 08:44 PM
I am by no means an expert, but like you said, I would guess the tree has a little too much "rock" to it, causing the back end to come up a little and it looks a tad bit low in the front with out the pad.

Maybe another pic of your filly on level ground with out a saddle so we could see her back?
Okay! Here are two pictures of her (these are from I'm guessing about exactly a year ago!) Relatively flat ground. I know at her age a lot changes in a year. I'll take a couple more when I go down to feed! (Just a little bit!) Thank you for replying!
    03-01-2012, 09:00 PM
Helps if you actually post the pictures huh? Haha
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    03-01-2012, 09:03 PM
Those picture won't help much because they are older pictures and her head isn't in a neutral position, but I see you said you will be taking new ones soon.
    03-01-2012, 09:05 PM
Those picture won't help much because they are older pictures and her head isn't in a neutral position, but I see you said you will be taking new ones soon.
Okay, I'll see if I can go get some right now! Brb
    03-01-2012, 09:06 PM
I agree with jumanji, however she does appear to be a little flat backed which would explain the saddle pictured having too much rock in the tree....IMO :)
Wallaby and smrobs like this.
    03-01-2012, 10:00 PM
Okay, I hope these work! They aren't the prettiest pictures. I took them by myself! And taking a picture of a 4 year old filly at feeding time in snowy weather who hasn't been taken out in a couple weeks due to absence and weather is not the easiest task! Joking, she was actually a really good girl all things considering haha. She just wanted to keep putting her head down and snuffle through the snow and come visit with me.
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    03-01-2012, 10:06 PM
I keep hoping someone that knows better than me would jump in here..lol

Her back has changed from the first set of pic posted, and she looks a little higher in the ass than the front, I would guess that your saddle would have tendency to slide forward up onto her shoulders or look down hill...again just my opinion

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