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melinda27858 08-18-2008 11:35 PM

Saddle fit question
Just recently, I realized that my horse has gained so much more muscle than what he had when I got him 7 months ago. My saddle no longer fits as it is too tight on his shoulders. I looked at some saddles at a local tack shop and ended up bringing a new Simco flex tree trail saddle with full bars home to try on him. It fit fine on one side, shoulders not tight....but on the opposite side, the saddle was way tight on his shoulders. Talk about assymetrical! If I go up a size to wide in the saddle I worry that the gullet may sit too low, as on the full bar saddle I brought home, I could barely get three fingers in there.
Ultimately, my plan is to trailer him to the tack shop to try different saddles, only I don't have a truck and trailer and the shop is an hour I am relying on others to help me get there. It may be some time before that happens.....BUT in the meantime I am trying to think of different possible solutions!
If you have ever had a similar problem and found a solution, PLEASE, I BEG YOU!!! share with me!

iridehorses 08-19-2008 09:01 AM

I'm surprised the flex tree didn't work. I thought that was the concept.

Anyway I would go with the larger gullet and use a buildup pad until you can balance out his muscles. Sounds like you may have to work him a little differently. Most riders (me included) have a tendency of turning more in one direction then another. I became very aware of that and now try to work my horses evenly in both directions.

Horses in general are asymmetrical, they have a preference to right and left just as we do. Anyone can look down their horse's spine from the tail to the withers and you will actually see the difference.

melinda27858 08-19-2008 10:20 AM

When my horse has nothing to eat, he walks circles and his circles are always in the same direction....I think this has a lot to do with the build up of muscle on his one side. My instructor did suggest working him 80% on the off side to even him out. It is ridiculous how different the two shoulders are!

Can you provide a link that would give an example of the build up pad you suggest? I am not sure what to look for. Thank you!

iridehorses 08-19-2008 10:59 AM

There are many variations but this is a picture of one. There is extra padding in the area of the withers that will raise the saddle up in front thus keeping the back in better contact with the horse.

This one is just an add-on that you can use with your own pad:

melinda27858 08-19-2008 12:40 PM

Thanks! I checked out those links. Do you know if it is possible to remove the filling in one area of the pad on the side where he is larger to "even" out the shoulder area on either of these pads?

iridehorses 08-19-2008 04:22 PM

I'm sure it's possible but I've never had a horse that was that lopsided!

melinda27858 08-19-2008 09:48 PM

He has stumped those around him! The vet was at the barn today and the barn manager asked him about it....he said work him on his offside, and that was all he could recommend! I am looking forward to hauling him to the tack shop.

cloudy18 08-22-2008 06:53 PM

I THINK Skito makes a pad that is used for treeless, it's pricey, but it could work, and you can add shims to one side or another. I also read on another forum that someone at Skito can help you make a custom pad for the horse. It may be a couple hundred dollars, but worth it bc if the horse changes you can take out the shims and still use the pad. I don't know the link but I bet it would be an easy search.

melinda27858 08-22-2008 07:25 PM

Oh, thanks! I will check out their website! It would certainly be worth it!

I actually had the vet and my riding instructor out at the barn today to pick their brains. Both said the same thing...I do have several options. Western saddles may be hard to fit because of his short back and those shoulder muscles. They both feel if I go with a wide tree, the saddle will hit his withers and I would definately need an adjustable pad. We also talked about treeless saddles, but I have never ridden in one and don't know if it is for me. Could possibly look at endurance saddles. But both agreed fitting him in an English saddle would be so easy. I have had my last few months of lessons in an English saddle (that fits him!), but I really like a big comfy Western saddle especially for trail rides.....

I don't know what to do!!!

cloudy18 08-23-2008 09:32 AM

Have you considered an Aussie for trail riding? I find them very comfortable and secure. You can order one with serge panels which are more like an English saddle on the bottom, and they tend to fit better, IMO. Down Under will adjust a saddle according to your wither tracings, and then there may be options to awl one side so there is less padding. I think they also have a saddle pad that you can shim on one side or the other until you get the horse evened out. I ordered one and am in the process of sending it back bc I need a bigger size for me, and I also sent pics so they can check the fit on my horse. Their shipping is fast. Australian Stock Saddle Co. does the same thing, but I saw fewer saddles from them in my price range.

If you go with the Skito pad it sounds like you would need a bigger saddle to accomodate the shoulders, and then shim the loose side, but someone at Skito would know a lot more.

As far as treeless goes, if this next Aussie of mine still causes problems I am going to try a Bob Marshall Endurance, which I read is better for wider horses. It's pricey and you need a pricey pad, but they really hold their value. They also take 8-10 weeks to get, unless you are lucky enough to score one on Ebay. They are also less pricey than many treeless though.

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