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Mellow Mel 12-12-2011 12:26 PM

saddle for high withers
I need a good saddle for a high withered twh with a short body. I own a treeless saddle from hilson but I am not thrilled with it. I am looking to buy used(hopefully)...any recommendations?

Joe4d 12-12-2011 12:28 PM

look for "Gaited" saddles. They are specifically made for your horse. Lots available in all horse brands. I like Aussi saddles for mine.
What kinda saddle do you like ? The Dakota walking horse saddeel is really nice and has a short rounded skirt. Dixie land saddles are works of art and very comfortable.

Mellow Mel 12-12-2011 12:40 PM

I honestly do not know what I like. I like my treeless because it is comfortable,but I do not think it was made very well. I am worried about it on the high withers. I do not know a lot about saddles. Someone had suggested Big Horn and Rockin R for gaited horses. Do you know anything about either of those?

bsms 12-12-2011 12:48 PM

Joe4d 12-12-2011 01:46 PM

The kind I was refering to was english western horn no horn, what are you gonna do in the saddle? Trails, race, jump ? pretty much find a type of saddle u like. Like trail saddles, then search "gaited trail saddle." I do know you need a short skirted saddle. Many of the big square skirt gaited saddles wont work so well.
Big horn, makes a comfortable half leather half cordura western style gaited saddle that is well liked by trail riders.
Fabtron half leather/cordura gaited saddles are well reviewed also in the 5-6 hundred dollar range come in short round skirt and may be something else you would like for a general purpose saddle.

AnneGage 12-12-2011 02:34 PM

Regardless of the type of saddle you buy, it needs to correctly fit your horse and you. Follow these 9 guidelines when checking saddle fit:

1) Balance - centre of the saddle should be parallel to the ground when on the horse's back
2) Wither clearance - 2-3 fingers with clearance around the entire wither not just at the top.
3) Gullet Channel width - should be wide enough so that it does not press on the spinal processes or musculature along the back
4) Panel Contact - panel should touch the horse's back evenly all the way from front to back
5) Billet Alignment - billets should hang perpendicular to the ground so that the girth is positioned properly - not angled either forwards or backwards. The girth will always find its position at the narrowest point of the rib cage behind the elbow.
6) Saddle Length - weight of the saddle or rider should not be carried on the shoulder or loin areas.
7) Saddle Straightness - saddle should sit squarely when viewed from front and back of horse. The tree points should be behind both shoulder blades.
8) Saddle Tree Angle - The tree points should be parallel to the shoulder angle.
9) Saddle Tree Width - Should be able to comfortably fit your hand between saddle tree points and your horse without feeling pinched or having gaps.

Here are free video tutorials on correctly fitting a saddle

Here is a good article about saddle fit and comparing treeless and conventional saddles

Skyseternalangel 12-12-2011 03:55 PM

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I have a shark fin withered horse and I was able to find a saddle that fit him and fit my needs as well. So don't be discouraged :)

The saddle, however, needs to fit ALL of him. His back shape, his topline, his width.. etc. etc. etc. so it's best to

a) rent a few saddles (saddles on loan before you buy them) and try them on your horse's clean, bare, back.
b) Check for how level the saddle is, how well it fits the curves of his back, and check for any pressure points.
c) Verify EVERYTHING with someone who knows what they are doing professionally (like a saddle fitter)

Putting pads underneath a saddle that doesn't fit.. doesn't make it fit. However, there are such pads (correctional halfpads) that you can use that affect the positioning of the saddle on the horse's back. But it is a bandaid and you should have a well fitting saddle regardless!

I think you can find one in western style, aussie style, or english style easily as there are many manufactures and many different designs.

I would just HIGHLY suggest that you bring a certified, respectable saddle fitter into the mix.

bsms 12-12-2011 04:26 PM

The last time I looked, the nearest certified saddle fitter was about 150 miles from me. And unless you plan on riding 12 hour days, a perfect saddle fit isn't required.

The picture below is of my gelding after we got him. The white spots are from a bad fitting saddle. You cannot see the cut across the top of his withers. The odd looking mark on his side is where he had been spurred bloody. By the time of the photo, he was healing nicely, although he still has a scar where spurred.

Gross stupidity/cruelty like that is unforgivable. However, in his new life, he is ridden about 3 hours/week. 4-5 if the weather is really good. An OK fitting saddle will work for that.

OTOH, I tried Full Quarter Horse Bars on my Arabians, and the extra length at the end dug into their loins and visibly irritated them. If you don't have the option of a saddle fitter, watch & listen to your horse.

The same saddle that fits the gelding above also seems to work fine for this mustang pony - although it might not if we rode Cowboy hard:

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