Bates Innovas and high-withered TBs? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-13-2014, 05:50 AM Thread Starter
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Bates Innovas and high-withered TBs?

I've ridden in a couple of Innovas and they are by far the saddle that puts me in the best position with the best and strongest lower leg. I haven't found anything that sits me nearly as well. BUT... they don't have a lot of wither clearance.

Magic's withers aren't huge but the only saddle I've ever put on her that DIDN'T want to sit down on them is her Kieffer Wien. It's a lovely saddle but she's starting to grow out rather than just up and it no longer fits her as well as it did... and it sits me well but not as well as the Innova.

A big plus for the Innova is the easy-change gullet system. But has anyone had luck with them on higher-withered TBs? If I used the shim system could I pad it up so that it gave sufficient clearance, WITHOUT losing feel on her back?

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post #2 of 9 Old 04-13-2014, 06:02 AM Thread Starter
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Photo of her was taken today. As I said they don't LOOK big, but they've been very challenging to fit. Monty's withers looked bigger but the saddles I had for him didn't fit her AT ALL, not even the one that had been built up at the front for extra clearance.
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-14-2014, 11:20 AM
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I would focus on fitting her shoulder width and barrel width, then pad or have the saddle gusseted as appropriate. She looks like she's currently lacking a top line, so the saddles that sit too low on her withers now should fit better later on. Are they actually sitting on her withers? Or are just a two to three finger clearance?

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post #4 of 9 Old 04-14-2014, 12:59 PM
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She is one of those hard to fit horses that are sunk in just below the withers. Try a couple of shims of upholstery foam, about 4" thick. It's easy to cut into wedges. 4" may seem thick but it really compresses and may give only 1/2" of lift. Why I suggest trying this first is it's cheap and easy to custom. It will give you an idea of shims in that area will work.
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-15-2014, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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She is definitely lacking topline at the moment - she's been out of work for 6 months! But even in work and fit with good topline I had trouble.

She's not actually sunk in, but because her withers don't look huge and yet I still have issues with saddles sitting on them [and yes I mean in contact with them] lots of people think she is. In actual fact I have to go looking for her shoulderblade when I'm checking saddle placement. I think the fitting issues are because of how far back her withers actually reach. Our current saddle has a cutback pommel. I just dream of a saddle that sits me perfectly rather than only adequately and the only one I've found so far is the Innova... which doesn't have the wither clearance.

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post #6 of 9 Old 04-23-2014, 03:55 PM
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I flocked an Innova recently for a warmblood and it fitted much better afterwards. One problem with Cair is that it doesn't give enough support to many horses who fall in behind the shoulder, and the shims you can add are so thin as to be virtually useless.

You ought to have plenty of wither clearance - they're not exactly huge. If the gullet width is correct why not try a wither pad, but make sure it's fitted correctly. It needs to sit behind the front edge of the panel, not pulled in front as you would with a saddle pad or it'll put pressure on the back edge of the shoulderblade.

If you don't have one handy, try folding a towel into a pad 6-8" wide, around 2' long and at least an inch thick, then put this over the withers between saddle and pad (same position as a wither pad) and pull it up into the gullet as much as you can. At least it'll give you an idea of whether a wither pad is worth the investment.

Best of luck :)
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-24-2014, 04:34 AM Thread Starter
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Cair doesn't work for her AT ALL but you can get them off the shelf flocked [and since I'd be buying second hand because I hate the way the leather has gone in bates saddles in recent years there are always the ones that were bought cair and then flocked later] so I think that'll be the way to go.

Because of how she's shaped, Magic needs a flocked saddle. It's that simple. Cair panels simply don't fit her.

She takes a medium to medium-wide plate depending on the saddle [we're currently in a Kieffer Wien so no gullet plates but it's medium tree] and everything else I've put on her is okay for clearance until I put the correct plate in it... numerous Bates/Wintec saddles included, and perhaps especially. Her Kieffer fits HER... but not me haha. I think I'm going to have to beg a friend to let me borrow her Innova and see what it's like on Magic... [it's currently fitted to a roly-poly Welsh D though...]

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post #8 of 9 Old 04-24-2014, 05:29 AM
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Bates saddles are build on the same tree as wintecs, so they are essentially the same saddle, bar one being finished off with leather, and one with synthetic.
From my experience, the Wintec range does not suit the Thoroughbred horse, as the tree is not curvy enough. Wintecs and Bates appear to be more suited to a wider horse, like a cob. The tree on a Wintec or bates is like this: /\ Straight down both sides. You can even observe that by simply lifting up one of them, and comparing the basic shape to a saddle with a more curvy tree, for example the Ideal range, which are more like this: ()
Ideals suit a wide variety of horses, and appears to be the only brand that suit Diddly, who is almost pure TB. This is due to the curvy tree.
As the bates innova is a dressage saddle, it seems that you want to do dressage (obviously!). I have found that as Warmbloods dominate the dressage world most saddles are geared to suit the big round barrel shape we associate with the Warmblood. Totally the opposite to the narrower, curvier TB type. The only brand I have ever found to do this curvy tree that actually fits a TB is Ideal. I own the Jessica saddle, and Diddly pricks his ears and smiles when I put it on! My saddle fits even my friends 13.2 part bred Arab, who is quite different in shape. Here is the Ideal site-already in the dressage saddle section-, if you are interested: Catalogue - Dressage Saddles

As seen, they are pricey, but I got mine second hand and good as new for around 360 :)
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-24-2014, 07:56 AM Thread Starter
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I want to event with her, but I refuse to ride in an all purpose saddle, they're not really good for anything once you get to the point where you want to start refining! So at the moment because she's not old enough to jump yet I want a dressage saddle, one with a gullet that I can change [I'm still hoping I can get a saddle nowish that I won't have to replace in a year when she's changed shape again], which puts me into a correct position without allowing me to fight it. I find myself wanting to ride in a chair seat a lot because of how my Kieffer sits my hips and lower back and I find the same with nearly every saddle I ride in. So at the moment if I can get it to fit the Innova [or the Wintec Pro with contourbloc, same saddle, just suede with a smaller price tag] is my best bet. Some people don't like saddles that "manhandle" you into position, and I have to say I absolutely HATED the Isabell that I had, but I've ridden in a couple of older Innovas and loved them. Granted, it WAS on a very fancy dressage horse, but for the first time in my life I had two lessons with an upper-level dressage instructor and didn't get told off for being in a chair seat. And I could actually SIT that enormous trot [horse was an Inter I horse about to debut at GP, he was incredible, even his 'flat' movement was huge compared to what I'm used to].

I'm not an amazing rider, but I want a saddle that I'm not going to fight.

I think I need to ride in a bunch more dressage saddles... and then when it comes time to start jumping I'll need to find a jumping saddle that fits, too, because my favourite jumping saddle on the planet just won't.

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