We have a 17 year old 15.1 cob gelding, who we have owned for 10 years. He has always been a challenging ride, but is more so since being diagnosed with navicular syndrome and unable to be lunged or ridden in the arena. He is touchy about being saddled up and having his girth tightened and becomes very tense and extremely strong and “hurried” when ridden.
He is ridden in an English Fieldhouse saddle, which was bought specifically for him and fitted by a specialist saddle fitter. Until 2 years ago the saddle was checked every 6 months by the saddle fitter we bought it from. It invariably required some alteration but always appeared to fit well. Unfortunately, this saddle fitter has now retired and moved away and since then we have had problems with the saddle slipping to the nearside, and despite consulting a highly recommended saddle fitter we have been unable to solve the problem. He has had his back checked and there are no major problems except that he is apparently stiff in his offside shoulder and we think he definitely tries to shift the rider to the near side.
We have often wondered whether a Western saddle would be better for Blue. He is long in the back and “bum high”, putting a lot of weight on his front end and we worry that this may be putting unnecessary strain on his front feet. He is also quite broad in the beam! We feel that a Western saddle might distribute the weight of both the saddle and the rider more evenly and make him more comfortable.
Does anyone know of a Western saddle fitter in the Essex area who might be able to give us an unbiased opinion? We really do need help!