High Withered Thoroughbred
What kind of saddle should I use on my high withered Thoroughbred. I was considering an Arab saddle or treeless.
pics of the wither helps :) I use a wintec 500 interchange gullet for my mare and a tekna jumping saddle
I have a high withered TB and use an older Thorowgood saddle that I bought used. Fits him great and is well made.
I have a time finding a saddle with a wider back but slightly thinner shoulders with high withers on my mare. My FQHB saddle fits aside from her shoulders. It doesn't create pressure points, but the gullet just barely sits too low on her shoulders (but needs the width farther back on her, so I can't just go with a SQHB like you'd think). So, I got a saddle pad with the wither cutout and she's doing much better and no more of the pad rubbing saddle sores on her withers (couldn't figure it out for a bit because it didn't hit her withers until I sat in it and it forced the pad onto her withers). I can't afford a custom made saddle for her (or I definitely would, lol), so I tried to fix the one problem with a pad, and it's worked so far. Even sweat patterns and no soreness aside from her needing a chiro currently (not riding).
So I'd see if it could be fixed by a pad if it's just her withers that are the issue, and if not..then a new saddle. I can easily sell a nice pad for almost the same amount I got it for if it doesn't work out, a saddle doesn't seem to be as easy to sell for the same price very quickly..I also have nowhere very close that will let a saddle be taken to fit and no trailer to take the horse there.
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I'd prefer to stay riding in western but I have considered English if its more comfortable for my horse. I dont have any pictures right now. I was riding in a cordora blend synthetic saddle that seemed to fit him okay but too small of a seat for me. Then I acquired a big Circle Y and used it 1 time for 2 hours and he now has a big saddle sore right on top of his wither. (currently being treated by our vet and is healing nicely) I dont want to put him through that again. I supposed i could keep using the circle y if I get another pad.
Here's a link to a great video that may help you make better western saddle choices:
get an endurance saddle, from some where like big horn(the old ones any ways) or perhaps tucker. They have extremely high wither clearance. I ride some OTTB's that have excessively high withers and I've never even had one come close to mine.
The challenge with western saddles is that there is no standardization in saddle trees. The largest manufacturer of trees (Steele) has some standard shapes:
Steele Saddle Tree LLC - Fit To The Horse
The two major parts in the saddle width are angle (black) and horizontal (blue) width:
If the blue bar is too long, extra padding works fine. If the black angle is off, changing padding doesn't do much.
I have a VERY VERY high withered Thoroughbred. I talked to a Custom Saddle maker who does saddle fitting and he understands that everyone can't buy a saddle for every horse they own.
I have a Circle Y Show saddle that I bought for $500, very nice saddle and LOVE it! It has Semi-Quarter Bars in it which most Thoroughbreds need. We were still having issues because it sat about 1/2 inch above her withers so her withers kept hitting it. I had a 1" thick neoprene saddle pad, so I cut it to make a cutback like her suggested and we had improvement instantly! So I went and bought a really nice wool saddle pad that was cutback.
I recently bought a new barrel saddle, it fits but it is a little to wide so I have to double pad it and then it will fit better.
This is where I got my saddle pad, it is 1" thick, very good brand. Thrifty Horse - Wool Pad with Wear Leathers
It is difficult to fit a saddle on a high withered horses because, if you look at them they do not really have a high wither at all, it is more prominent than most because of the lack of muscle. What I call a 'spoon withered' horse.
The reason the horse lacks the muscle is because of a saddle not fitting him correctly and exerting to much pressure on the area either side of the withers.
I have yet to see an unbroken horse with a prominent wither.
So, what I have done before is to make a template of the saddle where the padding meets the flaps, get a numnah, use the template and then pad out the lower area below the saddle join so that some of the weight is taken from the area effected. As long as the blood circulation is able to work then the muscles will rebuild.
Using extra padding on the area will not stop the problem. Odds are that with this horse, when he has been worked there are dry areas on his back from saddle pressure.
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