A visual guide to my saddle fitting problems. Suggestions?
Here is a picture of my horses mammoth shoulders:
As it stands, the only saddle that fits is my dressage saddle, as long as it is pushed back behind his shoulders that is. As for my Close contact, I've got a problem. this is how far back the saddle would have to be in order to clear his shoulder:
This is the saddle at it's usual spot, putting pressure on his shoulder, I can't even get my hand in there:
With a half pad on, it's a bit better, raising it up creates a *slightly* larger space between the flaps and his shoulder:
Anywho, I have only ridden in it once, over 5 months ago when I bought it ( I could have sworn my horse's shoulders grew...i don't remember having this problem before...).
Is my saddle really THAT bad? Is there anyway I can make this saddle work? would a raiser work, or possibly a thinline saddle fitting pad? I am prepared to sell it, and buy a new saddle if I must, or if this saddle will cause my horse discomfort, but I really want that to be the last option.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Or if you guys know of any CC saddles that fit large-shouldered horses that would be great as well!
unfortunately i don't have any good advice/suggestions here but i'm really curious to see how things work out. the only saddle i have ever had/tried that actually fit my horse with large shoulder and high withers is a kieffer dressage saddle with a cutback head. those aren't really options for close contact (unless you go with a passier - i like the look of a phoenix myself but haven't had the pleasure of trying one out). i like having a thinline pad but anything that adds too much bulk makes me anxious about how well my saddle fits and how much i'm putting between him and me. the more padding the bigger potential for issues (ime).
good luck. i can't wait to see other's responses and what you ultimately decide to do.
Hire a Professional Saddle Maker/Fitter to come to your place to assess the saddle and your horse. They may have suggestions on what brand of saddle you'll need to work with those shoulders.
Best of luck!
I honestly don't see how a half pad does anything to improve the fit. In fact, I would think that it only concentrates the pressure on his shoulder into an even smaller area.
Is that saddle a wide? If you can't slide your hand down under the forks at the shouldern at all, then it's too tight. Pretty saddle, though
Is he a Morgan horse?
MIEventer ~ I had a feeling I would need to eventually, but I figured I should get some opinions here to see if the saddle is workable before paying $100 + for the saddle fitter to come look at it.
tinyliny~ I see what you mean. there is a good amount of room up by his spine, and it gets tighter around his shoulders as you go down. And thanks! It's a lovely saddle so its a shame we might have to part lol. And nope! He's a Hanoverian x Trakehner
Well, the good news is that, if you're horse's shoulders have been getting bigger, that indicates that your saddle has not been hindering him. If it was pinching him in the shoulders, he would have dips behind his shoulder blades where muscle atrophy had taken place from the saddle pinching. I don't see any evidence of that in that first pic.
My advice would be to do a short ride in it with just a thin white baby pad underneath. Leave your horse a little dirty or throw some corn starch on his back before putting the pad on. Ride around for a few minutes and then take some pics of the underside of the saddle pad. The pattern it shows will tell to some degree if it is creating pressure points anywhere on your horse's back.
As for the "where to put it" question, I learned at a saddle fitting clinic, with forward flap saddles, find the 2 fingers behind the shoulder blades and use the gullet more than the flaps to guide your placement since the flap position can be deceiving. Not sure if that makes sense in writing.
MyBoyPuck~ I'll make sure to try that next time I ride, I've never heard of using cornstarch so I'll remember to bring some with me. And thanks for mentioning the 2 inch rule, I'm never sure weather to use his shoulder "bulk" lower down or his actual shoulder blade to position the saddle.
Ooooh yeah, I forgot MyBoyPuck can read sweat marks on the underside of saddle pads!!! I know what I am doing tomorrow for my lesson :) Mwwuaaa ha ha ha ha haha.
I don't really know how to read them. I just like convincing people to dump powder on their horses!! I actually have to do it myself. My new saddle is a tad wide, so I need a corn starch ruling.
^^^On saddle pad reading.
Its actually really helpful. On my fluffy white pad I learned that I use my right side WAY more than my left side and that my saddle was pinching a bit. I suspected it did but that confirmed it. I widened my Wintec and now of course its too low on her withers...Which bothers her a little less so I don't mind.
ANYWAY definitely get a saddle fitter out. Those are some HUUUUGE shoulders! You might need a really big tree.
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