Saddles for gaited horses
I've been having trouble getting my horse to gait - she's only 3 and supposedly TWH. She will gait nicely at times, just not consistently. Anyway, I took some riding lessons yesterday (its 2 hours from home, so I did a half day crash course) as a little refresher and took my saddle with me. Rode a TWH part of the time. The instructor said that she usually likes Aussie style saddles, but she thinks that mine is putting my weight too far forward and making it harder for my horse to gait. Its a "Kimberly Literider from Downunder Saddle Supply". The website that I got it from of course says that Aussie saddles are great for gaited horses. So, now I've spent all this money and have been told that I need to get something else. Is this instructor correct or crazy?
Does anyone have any opinions or suggestions about this? Does anyone else use an Aussie stock saddle that they use with a gaited horse? What about Henry Miller saddles? Any other ideas?
I use an Australian on my gaited horse who was having problems and he's doing great with it.
Depends on the horse. I don't think your instructor is crazy ;) Some saddles suppy a better tilt that gaiteds like and that can aid in their gaiting.
Australian, as I know, sets you back a little farther so that may be good.
A well fitting saddle never hinders a good, proper gait.
But some, in my humble opinion, ill fitting saddles will promote a bad gait as they press down on the horses spine just behindthe ribs, and makes the horse tense and hollow out. The gait might seem better and cleaner, the question is; is that how you want your horse to use it's back when it's gaiting?
Some saddles are too far forward and if it hinders the front legs its difficult for the horse to gait. Etc.
I don't think your trainer are crazy, and I don't necessarily think he/she wants your horse to hollow out in the back, but perhaps your saddle doesn't really fit as well as it should, or is fitting a little too far in the front. All saddles should have the weight balanced over all of the saddle, not more in front or more in back. Horses have different backs, so no one saddle can keep the balance right either, if the saddle is designed for a horse with higher withers, it wil probably put the weight a bit off on a horse with a higher butt, even if it fits well otherwise.
Zab, I'm glad you brought up saddle fit. The instructor was basing this off of using it with the TWH at the school, not my horse. So maybe I don't need to worry about it so much. I did a wither tracing when I ordered it and it seems to fit my horse well as far as I can tell. Before buying this one, I tried a different Aussie saddle on her that I bought used and she hated it - it was made for a horse with much higher withers. I've ridden her for hours in this one and she doesn't seem to mind. Her sweat under it is exactly the shape of the saddle.
I guess I'll take some pics of it on her and send them in to the company with my concerns. They have wonderful customer service and are helpful with fitment issues.
The other thing is that the instructor is a little heavier than me and I'm kinda wondering if she felt that it places the rider's weight badly because the seat was a little too small for her (she only criticized it after riding in it herself, not from watching me in it). I'm really comfy in this saddle on long rides, I'd hate to have to replace it already.
Thanks for the help!
She can't possibly say anything about the saddle without at least trying it on the horse it belongs to.
As long as the front bars are not interfering with the motion of the shoulder, or some other blaring signs that it doesn't fit, your saddle should be fine. You might take a look at your placement of the saddle and how you are sitting in it before deciding there it something wrong with it.
I will link a couple of sites I have found very useful.
Saddle placement- http://www.horsesaddleshop.com/saddle-fitting-guide.html
Proper seat- http://www.gaitedhorses.net/Articles/Equitation/GHEquitation.shtml
I don't have the time or inclination to go to a trainer, this is a great article that really helped me a lot. The last 2 photos especially. I was amazed what a differnce the simple shifting of weight made in Vida's gait. Took me awhile to get over the "ass cramp" though :lol:
Thanks a bunch! I'll check those out.
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