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How do I measure Dancer for a saddle?
I know Dancer isn't nearly in shape to ride yet, but I'm sure she will be come spring. I also realize that measuring her now would probably be a waste of time since she is sure to gain more weight and muscle. But...exactly where do I need to measure her?
She's very short backed (something I really like, since I'm so fat - I think short backs tend to be stronger?). Would a round skirt be better? (I ride western) I need a large saddle seat. Had a 20" seat, but the gullet was WAY to wide for Dancer. Seat was comfy for me, though. I've lost about 40 lbs since then, so I could probably get away with an 18" saddle. I do need to be sure that it distributes the weight very well.
Daughter is bringing a saddle home in the next couple of weeks (she's been making payments on it) that may fit Dancer, but it sure won't fit me. However, that would mean that daughter could start lightly riding her after Dancer is in better shape.
Any recommendations? Will not be buying the saddle until probably February. Also need thoughts on saddle pads.
This was Dancer a couple of weeks ago. A slight change in her feed program was made and she's put on more weight since this was taken. We're having an ice storm right now, or I'd take new pix. Bear in mind her coloring does make her look worse than she actually is, as her back is darker, which highlights her lack of top line. And yes, I know she looks horrible! (Rain will be coming off of her in the next thirty days - soon as older daughter has a pen set up for her. That will help tremendously) She also needs lots of muscle! But Dancer's current condition is not quite what this thread is about...
You can measure gullet width using a wire coat hanger... there's tons of instructions and tutorials on google.
...when was the last time your horse was dewormed?
She was last wormed about two months ago. Time to do it again with Zimecterin Gold for tape worms. She's going to vet next week for a full workup - including a fecal count and teeth floated if necessary, but he's pretty sure there's not much really wrong with her - She lost a LOT of weight just before Rain was born and it's been hard to put it back on her, but she's gained around 100 pounds or so. She's also not young. Our other horses lost weight, too (long story), but they all bounced right back - but they weren't nursing.
I would definetly get a round skirt for a short back. One of the problems you will face is with a larger seat comes a longer saddle and you do not have much room. I would look at local saddles and have a professional help you to get a proper fit and then you do not have to purchase and go through trial and error.
I wish I could go through a local saddle maker. Billy Cook saddles are made about an hour from here, but they don't do custom work any more. That's why I wanted to know how to get good measurements - so even though I can't afford a custom saddle, I could at least get one that had a better chance of fitting.
Another feed store said if they let everybody try a saddle on their horse before buying it, they'd be reduced to selling used saddles because no one would believe they were new. (Makes me wonder what they are selling.)
I have asked if I bought one and it didn't fit the horse, could I bring it back, and they all said no! Go figure.
I live in central Oklahoma, and there is not one honest to goodness tack shop withing 100 miles from here that I have heard of. There are some tack "dealers," that sell tack at local auctions, but no actual shops. The one dealer that was willing to let me try a saddle on my horse told me he didn't have any saddles he would be willing to put on a horse. He was selling a bunch of cheapo saddles that he got from some Asian importer. He said if he had realized just how badly the saddles were made, he'd have passed on the deal. He was just trying to get rid of them.
He did tell me if he ran across any saddles he thought would fit Dancer, (that were in my budget) he'd let me know. But he did caution that she was likely going to be a hard fit - most of the saddles around here are geared toward QH, and she definitely isn't one.
If that saddle that daughter is bringing home fits Dancer, at least we'll know what we need to look for. That saddle is for a Paso Fino. The lady daughter is buying the saddle from could probably help me find one - she has a lot of contacts. Finding one to fit my fat backside would be the hard part.
In the meantime, I just wanted to measure her to see what I could find that might come close to fitting her.
And I realize you weren't implying a custom made saddle - that was me. I would love to have one! I checked out the Corriente saddles that Smrobs likes so well. They were nice saddles, but there weren't any big enough to fit me.
I seriously considered a treeless saddle. There was one I looked at that had a seat my size, and the gullet size could be modified to fit multiple types of horses using some sort of strap and buckle system. That might have been just the ticket, but it was a Hilason, I think, and I'm not hearing good things about them.
Guess it's a good thing I like saddle shopping, because I have a feeling I'm going to be doing a lot of it!
I am guessing with your wieght a treeless could be hard on the horse. Not sure of what your budget is but I have had great luck with Steele on gaited horses and they have a larger seat for larger people. They sometimes are on ebay but usually a seat comparible to a 16" and used they go for 1300.00 on up
Thanks, Iride. That's what I was looking for. I had read it earlier, but couldn't figure out exactly where to put the wires. I had missed one of the posts that said to put it 2-3 fingers behind the scapula.
I have never had a horse that was so hard to fit a saddle to! She really doesn't look that deformed/different (not when she was in good weight, anyway). She's just not built like a QH, and that's what most everybody has around here.
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