I feel awful. New saddle fit critique?
Apparently Excel has gained wayyy more muscle than I thought, because when I took him XC schooling in my Collegiate friday night, I took the saddle off to find a rub mark and a sore spot on his withers where the saddle was pinching. It has fit him for a long time, but apparently we need to switch saddles. I only just noticed it because I had been conditioning him in my dressage saddle, which still fits him despite the muscle gain. Saturday the skin on either side of the rub spot was slightly raised, and it was sore to touch, so I gave him a gram of bute. Today, the skin was still raised but not tender to the touch. My friend brought over an old Toulouse she's not using to see if it fits him better, so I set it on him and took pictures to see.
What should I be doing, and does anyone have a general timeframe of when I can ride him again? I feel awful; I've never had any saddle fit problems like this before. Does the new Toulouse look like it fits him? She brought it back to the barn while I was feeding, so I didn't have a girth handy. I can take girthed up pictures tomorrow.
I honestly think the saddle could go back a couple of inches.. it seems too far forward on his shoulders.
At its current state, it's interfering with his shoulder blade it seems and not enough wither clearance.
I noticed that when I was looking at the pictures. It's hard when you don't have a girth to help you out with placement ;-). I could fit two fingers in where it was, but pushing it back some should give more wither clearance. I'll take more pictures tomorrow.
LoL, he makes that saddle look tiny.
Lol, he's quite the giant ;-). I sat on it on the saddle rack and love it because it actually accommodates my freaklishly long femur without having a huge seat! Anyone have any idea how long before I can safely ride him again? He wasn't sore today, but naturally I'm concerned about the raised skin.
As long as the saddle doesn't rub there, probably right away.
its best to have four fingers of space above the withers with out someone sitting in the saddle. when you tighten the girth and add weight the pommel will come down more.
From the pics the saddle's not the real problem, although positioning might be a slight issue - it's him, and the fit. This looks to be typical of what I'm always banging on about - CC saddles don't fit a lot of horses very well.
(i) The tree's very flat compared to the horse's back profile. And because he's big with that panel shape the saddle ought to be longer. Or it needs a gusset to level the saddle out.
(ii) See the big muscles at the back of his shoulders? The saddle will run back and drop in behind them because there's not enough support under the front arch for the correct tree width. You might even find the arch is a tad too narrow, but widen it and the saddle will drop further because...of the above.
The fact the rub is on the left of his wither often means the saddle's dropping more into the hollow behind the nearside shoulder. If the horse rushes his fences or hangs in the air, or stops for no real reason, the saddle's pinching. If you mount from the ground he might walk off when the nearside tree point digs in behind his shoulder.
Lots of things going on there - I'd get a competent saddler to look, if you can.
PS. If your Collegiate has adjustable gullet and is flocked you might be better off getting a saddler to re-fit that correctly.
Thanks for the advice, uncle! My Collegiate doesn't have the adjustable gullet; it's an older model.
The raised skin is almost completely back to normal, and not at all tender anymore. I'm thinking about taking him out to the schooling grounds and riding the course with my dressage saddle today.
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