proper saddle placement
Hi everyone. I got a new saddle for Annie today. The old one's tree was WAY too wide for her and I think was soring her, so I chose this one because it's close contact, narrow-tree, and partially nylon, so it's really lightweight. However, since I always rode bareback growing up, I know sooo little about saddles. I tend to place them too far forward, because I'm paranoid about them sliding back. LoL, I did this interesting saddling all on my own, so I'm proud :lol: (bear with me...). Could you please tell me if it needs to be moved back, and by how much? Thanks!
it's hard to tell from the pic, but most importantly, the saddle should be far enough back to allow freedom of movement through the shoulders, while not being so far back as to cause lower back pain or kidney pressure. the saddle should be wide enough that the sides lie flat against the horse's sides without any pressure points and ALWAYS check fit without any saddle pads. the saddle also should be narrow enough that while not pinching the shoulders, it also allows sufficient clearance of the withers and spine from front to back for the entire length of the saddle.
It looks good, but I would scoot it back about 1". You want that front conch about 1" behind the back edge of her shoulder blade, to allow better freedom of movement.
CJ gave you some good advice on what to look for in saddle fit. Just remember that a western saddle should use a thicker pad, so you WANT the saddle to be a tad too wide without a pad, but the angle of the bars should match the angle of your horse's shoulder and back.
Is your horse that downhill, or was she standing on a downhill slope? If she's that downhill, then you're going to have problems with the saddle sliding forward. To prevent that and to give her a lot of cushion and comfort, I'd recommend getting a ThinLine western Half pad. They go over your normal saddle pad and under your saddle. They do a great job of keep the saddle in place and eliminating any pressure points, as well as preventing back soreness.
I took a couple of photos of my mare the other day, to check saddle fit. Her new saddle is placed correctly for her and the angle is good, though the padding I used wasn't quite enough. I tried it later with a thicker pad and the saddle sat better on her. In the photos, I have a full sized 30x32 ThinLine pad sandwiched between a doubled woven wool blanket.
Side shot: I have more padd coming out the front, covering her shoulder, than you do. I like the extra pad to be in front of the saddle. The front concho on the saddle is a good 1" or a bit more behind the back edge of her shoulder blade.
Here's a front shot showing the angle of the bars in relation to her shoulder. The angle matches her back/shoulder angle pretty well. It's an OLD saddle (1950s), so the leather skirts are a bit warped. I'm hoping with some oil and use they will relax and straighten out. You can see that she has good wither clearnace too, and the saddle sets down on her, not popped up in back.
Thanks guys. Especially for the pictures, luvs2ride. LoL, CJ, that was a lot of information to take in, but it makes sense. :-)
Oops...here it is...
It looks a bit more level in that photo, and it does appear she's standing slightly downhill. I think it looks like a good fit. Working on thos back feet should help too. She does look annoyed, lol. Cute.
The ThinLine pad might be good just as extra insurance anyway. I never had any fitting or soreness problems with my mare, I just decided to try it because my daughter is learning (and bouncing, lol) and I'm a heavy rider (over 250 lbs). My mare definitely rounds her back better with the ThinLine and doesn't get as annoyed with my daughter if she bounces a lot ;-). They have a 30-day guarantee, so if it doens't work out, you can send it back.
Nice. Can't go wrong with a 30-day guarantee. I will definitely try it out. That, with the more narrow saddle, should help quite a bit. Thanks!
Maybe pinch that pad up at the withers a bit. I would of liked to see the saddle on her without a pad and have a picture from the front and from the rear. It looks tight, but it's really hard to tell without being able to touch under the saddle.
Saddle fitting is such a pain........
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