Who uses a draft horse saddle on non-draft horse? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 13 Old 04-20-2009, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Question Who uses a draft horse saddle on non-draft horse?

During the past year I have had a hard time finding a western saddle that fits my appy/qh cross (15hh, not fat but fit, maybe 1000 lbs, medium to low withers, short back)... I mainly trail/pleasure ride. Everything from semi-qh, full/wide, haflinger bars seemed to pinch his shoulders (where his scapula sits). I finally gave in and settled for a treeless endurance hybrid. He moves so much freer in it and is less moody when girthing up.... HOWEVER!!! About a month ago he had a huge spook to the left, I fell right and ended up breaking my ankle. I know that when I go back to riding I will need to take some time restrengthening my leg muscles and I am thinking I would like something with a little more security, leading me back to looking at treed western saddles....argh! Which of course brings me back to my original problem, finding something that fits! I haven't tried a draft saddle and am wondering if that may be a possibility.

So, my question for you is who rides an average size horse in a draft saddle?
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-21-2009, 12:38 AM
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I would imagine that a draft horse saddle would be way too wide for a standard sized horse no matter how wide he is. Is he mutton-withered? You may have to fork over the dough for a custom made saddle to fit him.

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post #3 of 13 Old 04-21-2009, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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No, he isn't mutton-withered.
Not what I was hoping to hear!
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post #4 of 13 Old 04-22-2009, 11:22 AM
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Too bad you are in Greenville, NC instead of Greenville, SC! Anyway, Bobo is ~14.3/15h and ~1,200 pounds. He has pronounced withers and a good back but is hard to fit - most saddles bridge him. I ended up with a Dakota with a 6 3/4 gullet and FQHB.

I can't imagine why a 1,000lb horse that is not mutton withered can't fit in a FQHB saddle. What brand saddle have you tried and who makes the tree?

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

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post #5 of 13 Old 04-22-2009, 12:49 PM
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Can you take couple pics for us to see? All saddle brands fit very differently. Even though the parameters seem to be the same. My qh (14'3) is flat backed and my QH Alamo fits her well.

Draft saddles look very wide (from what I've seen). I've never seen one on average horse (although I know people using it on haflingers).
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post #6 of 13 Old 04-22-2009, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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I can't really get out to the barn to take appropriate photos (hard to hold a horse, camera, and crutches at the same time!), so I will search my computer for the best I have.

When I first got him over a year ago, he hadn't been ridden in a while and had no muscling. I bought an older used Billy Cook saddle, QH bars I believe, and it fit him fine. Once I started riding him more and he built up some muscle, I noticed his stride began to get really choppy, his shoulder where his scapula is got very sore, and he got moody. I borrowed my trainer's saddle, a Circle Y QH bars which pinched a little less, but still had problems. I bought a Simco trail saddle, wide QH bars and that pinched in the same spot although not as bad...traded that for a Big Horn haflinger saddle and same thing. I can ride my trainer's English saddle with a narrow gullet she uses on her thoroughbred on him with no problems...and of course the treeless. But I really would like the extra security of a good western saddle for when I get back to riding.

I wish I could take better photos that would be more helpful!
Now for photos:







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post #7 of 13 Old 04-22-2009, 07:25 PM
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You may have the saddle sitting too far forward. Rule of thumb is to place the saddle further up then you would ride in, then slide it back until it stops.

Based on your pictures, that saddle should not be too wide at all. It would really help would be pics with the saddle on.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

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post #8 of 13 Old 04-22-2009, 07:30 PM
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Would it be possible to either have a saddle fitter come out and try a bunch of saddles on him, or take him to a tack store and try on a bunch of saddle?

They'd be better for telling you if the saddle is too forward/back, too narrow/wide, etc. and since they'd have saddle with them, you'd be able to see which saddles fit him and he likes and how he rides in them too.
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post #9 of 13 Old 04-22-2009, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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I would love to have a saddle fitters help, but the closest fitter is 2 hours away and I believe they only do english....and I don't have a truck and trailer to take him to the closest tack shop which is an hour away...it would make things so much easier!


I wish I had more recent photos of him in his saddles that don't fit, but I don't. The only photo I have is of the Billy Cook that fit him when I first got him.


Last edited by melinda27858; 04-22-2009 at 08:24 PM.
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-22-2009, 10:04 PM
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Have you tried flex-tree by any chance? He does look pretty wide, and withers are rather low (I compare with my horses), so flex-tree could be the answer.
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