Grrrr... Diddly is so difficult!
OK, so I'm still looking for a new saddle for diddly. But a large problem... He can't fit any more than a 16.5". So, barely any saddles are a 16.5"... I am finding it so so difficult to find one, and we are going to eventually call out the saddle fitters... If we don't find a saddle on our own first, with the help of a friend. My wintec cc saddle is a 17", and it is miles too long on him. But now I'm going with a dressage saddle, I don't know if 17" will mean something else there... If you know what I mean. So many of the saddles I absolutely adore, are 17", and its absolutely infuriating. I'm wondering if the 17" is too long for diddly, is a close contact saddle thing, as you evidently need a flatter, longer seat for jumping, than for dressage which would have a more compact saddle. Or is 17" in one make or model going to be exactly the same as 17" in another? It's got me extremely puzzled as well actually, because he is 16.1hh, and his back is not short at all. Its a perfectly fine length, so really, he should have no problem what so ever with a 17", or a 17.5" saddle. I have a little 15.5" saddle, which I used for candy, and when its on him you would swear it was about 8" long, as it just looks so so tiny on him. We put a 16" on him at one stage as well... Same story. Yet in one inch, it goes from looking like a flea on his back, to being miles too long. I just don't understand it... I'm convinced its a combination of brand, and saddle type. I'm assuming naturally a sj or cc saddle would be more... Spacious.
Am I getting this all wrong, or am I talking ANY sort of sense?
The simple answer is no - not all 17" saddles are the same.
A couple of months ago I had to adjust two Bates 17" saddles, one dressage and one GP belonging to the same customer. At first I assumed the GP was actually an 18" because it looked that much bigger, but they both measured exactly the same. The panel shapes, tree profiles and flap cuts were different, making the GP fit a lot longer on the horse.
If you look side-on at your Wintec and draw a vertical line up from the very rear of the panel, you'll see it actually extends past the line of the cantle (if it's the model I think) because of the shape of the rear gusset. It angles backwards, in fact. So if the panel was a little shorter you'd easily fit a 17" on your horse. And there are plenty of saddles with a shorter panel so it should be reasonably easy to find one, I'd have thought, when you know what to look for.
Just to complicate the issue, some manufacturers make what they call in the trade a 'small 17' where the flaps and panels are scaled down. These are most often used by smaller riders on ponies (13-15hh).
My 16.1 IDxDWB is short backed. I'm 5'11" medium build and ride him in a 17 1/2" cob-treed Ideal Grandee. That's the limit of his fit in that saddle, but a Jeffries Hawk Event will fit him in an 18" because the panel doesn't extend quite as far back. In fact he'll eventually be ridden in the Jeffries as his back is beginning to dip slightly because of his age, and the Ideal tree is a little too flat, but that's another story.
Hope that explanation helps a bit :)
Thank you ever so much :) That helped me a lot... I have two other 17" saddles, both AP, so I want to try them on him primarily to look at length.
Ok, so I am back yet again with another saddle for you to critique: 16.5" wintec dressage, wide.
What do you think? I hope this one fits... I've been looking forever.
I'm in the same boat as you so I'm curious what other more experienced people have to say. I would say it kind of fits - but I'm not an expert.
Is it something to do with the Wintec saddles because that does look huge - and a friend who bought one had the same trouble as you.
I know all saddles do look different but Diddly's 16.2 isn't he and I use 17 inch saddles on all my 15.2's and none of them look swamped by them like that one does
3rd picture down there is a huge gap at the back of the panel which looks like it will rock when ridden. Panels should rest against the back and provide support and not curve up away from it. It also look like it is tilting slightly back (too narrow), but mostly I would say the tree was the wrong shape (too curvy). Wintecs do come up large (long on the underside), a 15.5 wintec is way too big for my pony but he wears a 15.5 maxam saddle just fine. I ride in a 16.5 Wintec Wide on my haffies.
OK, so it doesn't fit... Brilliant.
I just can't get ANYTHING. I've tried a tonne of saddles, and not one of them is even close to fitting him. :(
I'd say this.
General - flap width makes the saddle look big on this horse. On the early 16.5s they didn't scale them down. Panel length might be a little long but the horse is short backed and if you fit in this size seat you're probably not all that big and heavy, so should be okay.
Arch width - looks about right. If you want to check it properly take the gullet out and place that in the tree point position (2" back from the rear edge of the shoulder blade or even a bit more with a dressage saddle). It should sit comfortably over the withers. If that's fine then it's probably...
Pommel - looks a little low. If the arch width is correct then the front of the saddle needs a flock adjust to raise it. This will also...
Rear panel is lifting too much. A front adjust will set this on the horse's back for more of its length. However, because the back is a little flatter than the tree shape you are likely to still have a short section not in contact. This usually isn't a problem if (see rider size and weight comment) and may actually be advantageous if the horse hollows its back slightly under a rider's weight, because then you don't get the rear panel gusset digging in over the loins.
Unfortunately, in your pics the horse is not stood square and is also head down, which would cause a lot of well fitting saddles to lift at the back.
Saddle fit is always a compromise. The one unbreakable rule is the horse must be comfortable. And although you should always aim for the (actually unattainable) perfection, other 'rules' can often be bent to suit circumstance.
Best of luck :)
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