What happens if you put an average withered saddle on a medium/high withered horse? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 33 Old 09-11-2011, 11:57 AM
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Hidalgo

Before you buy a saddle over the internet - especially sight unseen - do a google search on 'saddle fitting guide'.

After an hour of browsing - you'll be an expert on saddle fitting.


PS. I'd never buy a saddle without seeing it on the horse's back first.
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post #12 of 33 Old 09-11-2011, 01:00 PM
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It takes very little constant contact to cause wither problems. This can easily happen if the pommel barely makes constant contact




If you buy a saddle sight unseen, be willing to sell it again, if it doesn't fit. If you see a newish saddle being sold online, you can sometimes find a similar model in a local tack shop. Some shops allow you to take the saddle to fit it on your horse. You can try theirs, then buy the same thing online.
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post #13 of 33 Old 09-11-2011, 01:23 PM
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Allisons' photo is actually evidence of gross cruelty to a horse. The owners of that horse, which is now unrideable, should be prosecuted for cruelty.

An English saddle which does not fit leaves a very visible and sensitive bruise on a horse's back- created by the concentrated weight of the rider on a small area. The bruise created can be seen, it can be felt, it can be sensed.
It hurts that horse and renders it unrideable. - as much as the horse being lame would also do.

Western saddles work on a different principle. A Western saddle spreads the rider's weigh across the back, English saddles concentrate it on the four pressure points of the saddle tree.

Western saddles disperse the rider's weight broad brush, an English saddle spreads the weight with a tipped brush.

There is an expression in horsey circles:
"no feet no horse" -

there should be another
- "no back no rider"

and maybe a third
- "no mouth no control"
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post #14 of 33 Old 09-11-2011, 01:32 PM
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You usually can use a wither pad to raise the front of the saddle. They generally raise the entire saddle as well, so you will lose some of the close contact. I cut a Wintec pad in half and used the front half with a thick wool blanket under it. My horses seemed fine with it.

If the saddle tree is the right ANGLE - the bars flare out away from the backbone at the same angle the horse's shoulder does - this works. Remember, all horses are not the same distance across the withers. My Arabs have narrow withers with wide shoulders. Most saddles with a wide ANGLE also have a wide width (what a western saddle would refer to as gullet width - the horizontal distance across).

If the saddle fits the angle, but is too wide horizontally, then padding works.

If the angle is too wide for the horse, padding will cushion the pressure point some, but the pressure point still exists. If the angle is too narrow, it will prop up the front and give you wither clearance, but dig into the shoulder. If the angle is wrong, padding doesn't help much.



The horizontal line at the top is affected by the horse's horizontal width. The angle is affected by the angle of the horse's shoulder. It shows a western saddle, but English saddles also vary both horizontally and by angle.
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post #15 of 33 Old 09-11-2011, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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Some shops allow you to take the saddle to fit it on your horse. You can try theirs, then buy the same thing online.

OUch! Poor horse, it looks so painful! :( I'll definitely try that, thank you Allison. I'm hoping to find something good, but really inexpensive, (like 250-300) so if it doesn't fit and I have to sell it, I won't feel as horrible as if the saddle was 700$ or something!

Now I need to find a tack shop that will let me try it on the horse and bring it back. :/ I know some tack shops don't like that.

A ride a day keeps the worries away!

Last edited by Hidalgo13; 09-11-2011 at 01:44 PM.
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post #16 of 33 Old 09-11-2011, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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You usually can use a wither pad to raise the front of the saddle. They generally raise the entire saddle as well, so you will lose some of the close contact. I cut a Wintec pad in half and used the front half with a thick wool blanket under it. My horses seemed fine with it.

If the saddle tree is the right ANGLE - the bars flare out away from the backbone at the same angle the horse's shoulder does - this works. Remember, all horses are not the same distance across the withers. My Arabs have narrow withers with wide shoulders. Most saddles with a wide ANGLE also have a wide width (what a western saddle would refer to as gullet width - the horizontal distance across).

If the saddle fits the angle, but is too wide horizontally, then padding works.

If the angle is too wide for the horse, padding will cushion the pressure point some, but the pressure point still exists. If the angle is too narrow, it will prop up the front and give you wither clearance, but dig into the shoulder. If the angle is wrong, padding doesn't help much.




Thank you that was very informative. Goodness, saddle fitting seems to complex, I'm scared I'll never figure it out and get a good saddle for X. :/

A ride a day keeps the worries away!
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post #17 of 33 Old 09-11-2011, 01:52 PM
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Keep your chin up Hidalgo :) Maybe there is someone at your barn that can give you a hand? Taking measurements also helps a ton. I dunno about their english selection, but maybe take a look at Chics Warehouse saddlery (should pop up if you google it), they have some fairely inexpensive items there.
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post #18 of 33 Old 09-11-2011, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Hidalgo13 View Post
I'm seriously surprised none of the horses at my barn are showing any signs of saddle soreness. :/
this just makes me wonder if no one knows enough to realize that there is a problem/pain. some horses are just naturally tolerant/stoic but that doesn't mean that there isn't a problem.

also - an hour lesson CAN and IS long enough to cause pain/damage to a horse's back, imo/e.
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post #19 of 33 Old 09-11-2011, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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The more i read this thread the more i want to get a good saddle immediately. ;(

A ride a day keeps the worries away!
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post #20 of 33 Old 09-11-2011, 08:17 PM Thread Starter
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I've read a few articles and watched a couple videos, and things seem to be clearing up. The videos are the best since I am visual, but I'm still looking for tack shops where I could just take a saddle on trial to see how it fits.

Next time I go to the barn I'll try to take the width of X's shoulders/withers with a metal hanger or some aluminum foil, since I can't seem to find a flexicurve sold anywhere near me. I'll also check his spinal width.

A ride a day keeps the worries away!
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