Help! Australian Saddle Fit
I live in Mexico and ordered a Kimberly Saddle from Down Under. I flew to DFW last week to pick it up and got home and tried it on my new horse. He is an Azteca, I would consider him to be medium width with fairly high withers. He is slightly underweight and lacks some muscle both of which I plan to correct over the coming months so he may be changing shape somewhat.
Anyway, I ordered a Medium tree, 18" and hoped for the best. First time I got on I realized that 18" was way too big for me so am going to go with a 16" and pass this one on to a friend here, but this is the easiest part. The hard part is deciding if it is fitting the horse.
I am afraid the tree is perhaps a bit too narrow for him? It is level but seems to be way up in the air! I can easily put my entire fist between the saddle and his withers. If I stand behind him I can see all the way thru the saddle to his mane with no problem. The first time we rode we got him nice and sweaty and when I pulled off the saddle he was completely dry where the flocking laid again him, front to back.
I am of the understanding that if a saddle is putting a lot of pressure on parts of the horses back that it can stop the horse from sweating so I guess this is the case? I rode again today, hoping I had perhaps it was as simple as I had cinched too tightly but even thought I cinched quite lightly, same thing. I am wondering if I should go with wide tree this time? I am thinking that if I go with a wide that I can add extra padding as needed? Or should I try to work with a medium tree? I don't have time for them to do a custom fitting (which I just found out that they did) as I need to order Monday morning as soon as they open and have them ship it out ASAP. I have a friend who will be in the USA this coming week and can bring it back so I have from now to Monday morning to make a decision, otherwise it will be February before I can get back to the USA to get another saddle.
I'm sorry but I'm a person that needs visual aids (ie photos) so I won't be particularly useful to you. I own a Kimberley also. If you're new to Australian saddles, they come across as "perchy", particularly when they are new because of their design. As the saddle is used more, you will find that it settles somewhat (or else you just get used to it). It kind of sounds to me that it is narrow but again I couldn't say for sure unless I saw pics. With regard to the custom fitting, it doesn't usually take that long - when I got mine, I sent a whither sketch along with the order and the saddle was shipped within a couple of days.
I am at a dressage competition in Guadalajara this weekend and will not be able to get back to my horse before ordering. I just found out a couple of hours ago that I would have someone in the states to bring the saddle back for me this coming up week. I wish I had known in advance and I would have measured my horse before leaving.
Is it fairly easy to work with a too wide saddle by shims and such? Or should I just make do with the saddle I have now and wait until February until I can get a proper fit?
Go with the proper fit.
Shims, thinker pads, etc.... that some people promote aren't really good. They get away with it because most people don't ride that much so they don't see the problems. Take a 500 mile trek with shims or pads and you'll find out (the hard way).
A proper fit is always the way to go. Shims or pads are, at best, a very temporary stop gap if you're waiting to get a proper fitting saddle.
OK my choice until February is a saddle which may be a bit too tight or a saddle that may bit too wide. Which do I go with?
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too wide. it can be padded temporarily.
Too tight is going to pinch.
Thanks. I will order the new one in a wide and then in February when I will be in the USA for a week I will have them fit it exactly to the horse. Hopefully in the next 2 months he will have gained some weight and filled out some and will be closer to his more ideal size also.
When my horse was going through a year or so of gaining weight, then conditioning and building his topline, my Aussie saddle was the only thing that would consistently fit him. I hope you enjoy yours as much as I do!
I ordered a saddle from the same company. Did you fax them a wither tracing? If not I'd do that then call them and explain that the horse will be gaining a little weight. I think they'll also make future adjustments if need be to the saddle. They have excellent customer service, from my experience. Hope that helps :)
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