Can the saddle change the ride?
I've ridden Chili all of 3 times. (and when I say ridden, I mean for very short periods of time)...
My "test drive" in a Circle Y Saddle. Her trot was dreamy. So smooth. That's when I knew I had to have her!
In a different saddle (it's a roping saddle but I'm not sure of the brand or anything else about it. It's my friend's and she thinks it's a 14" seat). Chili's trot was rough and bumpy. I remember telling my friend either I was high on cracker jacks the day I bought her or my memory was fuddled bc her trot was NOT the same!
Yesterday - I rode her bareback and again, her trot was beautifully smooth.
Could the saddle/seat make that much of a difference? Or could it be something else entirely?
Absolutely. If the saddle doesn't fit your horse it could easily impair the way she moves making her rough in her gaits. Too small of a saddle tree or even an oversized one will impede her shoulder movement and cause her to shorten her stride.
A saddle that isn't right for you can cause you to be in an awkward position and cause your horse to be off balance.
Actually I have to add the saddle itself may feel different under your bum. As iride already mentioned if it puts you in wrong position you'll feel uncomfortable riding.
The can definitely effect a horse's gaits. It may not be effecting how it feels to you, but how your horse actually moves. A saddle that doesn't fit quite right or is not placed properly will inhibit the horse's natural movement, making them tense and either rough/choppy or very slow & short strided.
Is the roping saddle yours? If so, you'll need to sell it. If not, and you'll be buying a saddle for your new horse, you need to find out extactly what model and bar type (Semi-qh, full qh, reg qh) the Circle Y was that you rode her in, and buy one of those. Try to match about the same year make as well. If it was an older Circle Y (pre-1992), then the newer models may not fit the same.
The seat size is what fits you. The bar type and gullet width are what fit your horse. Also total saddle length is important. If it's too long it can be uncomfortable for the horse. You want the front conchos to be 2" behind the back edge of the shoulder blade. When placed correctly, the back skirts should go no further than the mid-line of the horse's flanks.
I went to the barn today and tried a different saddle of hers and it was even worse! I know it's not my seat. I mean, I"m not the most perfectly balanced rider, but I can maintain a rhythm with my horse while bareback - and did so in the one other saddle I'd ridden in with her. I bounced even in a CANTER with this particular saddle. It was awful.
I know the seats are only about 12-14" and I'm 175-180 lbs (the saddle I test drove was a 16.5") so I'm looking for at least a 16" seat.
My friend - who knows her sh*8 was telling me how she saddles her horses but I'd never heard of saddling them the way she showed me.
She had the saddle high on my horse's withers, right behind her shoulder which I"m certain was part of the problem. She also said my horse has a straight back - which she does not. Her hip doesn't swell expansively but she's not flat. In fact, I even wondered if her withers weren't high - they look it to me from photos of others I've seen. I'm not sure, honestly, what to think or what to do - who's advice to take or if I should test drive different saddles until I find the right one. Unfortunately, this could take forever!!!!
Do you have a saddle shop in your area? Or a saddle fitter? You definitely want a "professional" to help you, not just a friend. If you have a saddle shop in your area with consignment saddles or new Circle Y's in your budget, ask them if they have a fitter on staff and if you can bring your horse there and try on a bunch of saddles. You should be able to walk around the parking lot, and do some trotting if they have a dirt or grass area.
I would find out from the previous owner what model, tree size, and seat size that was you rode in, and find the exact same saddle, or one close to it of the same brand.
Luvs2: I'm trying to get all that from the previous owner now. She has been very helpful but slow w/info. I finally got the info on the bit she used as well to give me an idea of what to use bc the TT isn't my cup of tea.
As for a saddle shop-we are rural. There are quite a few Amish tack shops but tbh, I don't yet know the etiquette for approaching and dealing w/them. I also am limited bc I do not have a trailer to haul Chili. :-(
I am gonna measure her tomorrow and put one of my friend's saddles on again-JUST to get a feel for what is NOT working. I think it is riding high on her shoulders. I may not yet know how to read Chili on everything but I do know how smooth and beautiful her trot can be and this rough, jolting thing-ain't it! LOL
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