Saddle Slipping Side to Side
I have been riding for 12 years (after a 20 year hiatus) and have recently started leasing an American Paint who is very round (not fat). I have never had any problems with my saddle on any other horse (I also lesson on hunter/jumpers 2 x per week), until now. The mare is uneven on her shoulders, I am not sure if it is due to muscle build up or just her unique body type. Anyway, my saddle slips wickedly to the right. I have tried different girths, tightening the girth more (ouch!), no-slip pads, an expensive Mattes pad, shortening the right stirrup, nothing works. Suggestions? Since this is a half-lease, I am not certain that a saddle fitting is the answer. The owner also experiences the same slippage.
Have you tried this pad?
Professionals Choice English Non-Slip Pad Black - Horse.com
I've never used one, but have considered buying one.
Sounds like a saddle fit problem to me. That's exactly what my mares' saddle does on my gelding, the saddle is too small for him. I would check your tack fit.
I have a pad very similar to the one you mention, to no avail. I also ride a horse in my lesson program, of almost the identical build to the horse I am leasing, and have no issues with the saddle slipping in any way. Because I am only half leasing this horse, I would prefer to avoid getting the saddle fitted. But... I have never had a saddle fitted, so my objection is not well qualified!
You said that her one shoulder is higher than the other? If this is the case I would think about getting a chiropractor visit. Sounds like her shoulder is out. My mare does this and it makes my saddle slide to one side, get the chiropractor out and voila, the saddle fits again!!
Not saying that this for sure is the horses problem but its somewhere to start. :-)
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Sounds like a typical case of mutton withers. Get a martingale/pulling style breast collar.
If the horse's shoulders are uneven, then nothing you can do will stop the saddle from sitting crooked because the horse is crooked.
I second the suggestion to have a chiro out and see if they can do something. If they, or a vet, just say it's something you'll have to deal with and it can't be fixed, you might think about getting one of those really expensive saddle pads where you can add shims to wherever you need them to make the saddle fit.
If the saddle's not wide enough on a well-muscled horse it can slip because (i) the tree points 'skid' and (ii) the mid-panel makes poor contact across the horse's back.
On the other hand, if the horse is just fat, (mine has this problem), the saddle sinks in as displaced fat moves away from the pressure, but this often produces a 'roll' of flab behind the horse's shoulder which can physically force the saddle back, usually on one side, and that causes the cantle to sit more one side of the horse. In bad cases the gullet can lie across the spine rather than along it.
I've found it's often a mixture of both, and the only cure is to widen the saddle or buy a wider fit. If you make a wither template (pressing the wire/former into the horse's fat, if present) and offer it up to the existing saddle it might give you a better idea of whether tree width is the likely problem.
Slipping saddles are a real pain to diagnose, so best of luck :)
My hubbys mare had chiro work done on her several times and had the same problem with the saddle moving to the right. First after chiro the saddlefitter found she needed a shim on her front left shoe. This did work to build her shoulder up but also I would constantly get after hubby to move saddle to left. It continously moved from the midde of her back to the right and even gave her some white hairs on the left side of her spine near the back of the saddle. Had saddefitter out to check this saddle (mine was the exact saddle except mine is a 16" and his is a 17"). He did some measuring and said it was defective. He said it was not put together properly. All this time thinking it was hubby. ANyways I am working with the shop I bought it from and they are waiting to hear from the saddle maker. Do some measurements to see if saddle is off. Good luck.
Saddle doesn't fit if it is doing this. Trying to fix it with pads or even chiro will do no good to me.
You need to get a different saddle as this one will get you hurt or killed.
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