Fitting saddles myself (short term) - Page 5 - The Horse Forum

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post #41 of 46 Old 12-26-2013, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by HollyBubbles View Post
Could you please explain what you mean by falls in behind the shoulder? I don't think I've heard that term before

Often when a horse is not correctly muscled there will be a "dent" behind the shoulder and below the wither, if I have a horse like that I would pad up the saddle cloth and go for a wider fit saddle rather than fitting the saddle to it - that then allows for muscle growth.
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post #42 of 46 Old 12-26-2013, 05:40 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Clava View Post
Often when a horse is not correctly muscled there will be a "dent" behind the shoulder and below the wither, if I have a horse like that I would pad up the saddle cloth and go for a wider fit saddle rather than fitting the saddle to it - that then allows for muscle growth.
Aaah thanks Clava, this makes sense. In that case then yes he is behind in the shoulder at the moment not by much though, he has been out of work for most of the winter and up until now part way through summer due to my health, so I do expect him to change shape as he comes into work. Is it better to pad up the saddle initially rather than "fit" it to how he is right now, and change it as he gains more muscle?

R.I.P ~ Bubbles - 25yo tb mare - 13.04.2011 ~ 8:30am ~ passed away naturally and peacefully in my arms
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post #43 of 46 Old 12-26-2013, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by HollyBubbles View Post
Could you please explain what you mean by falls in behind the shoulder? I don't think I've heard that term before
Basically if your horse has a hollow behind the shoulder below the withers. It's fairly typical conformation for a lot of thoroughbreds, warmbloods and draught types or crosses. The trapezius (triangular shaped muscle running laterally along the withers and down over that area of the ribcage) is not well developed. Plus it's one of the areas horses carry body fat which tends to disperse under pressure.

The saddle gullet (ie. Both legs of the front arch) must run parallel to the back of the shoulderblades to avoid any pinching as the latter rotate backwards when the horse moves, but if the horse has these hollows and the saddle panel's not the correct shape or not flocked properly the saddle will drop into the hollows. This can make it seem apparently too wide or too low on the withers and if ridden on it will tend to throw the rider's weight forward. The altered angles can also make the saddle too tight in front, the cantle may lift off the horse's back and possibly it will rock front to back, especially in trot.

The other thing that may be more noticeable if the saddle sits like this is it goes to one side. Horses are all one-sided to a greater or lesser degree, same as us, and if the saddle is tight the bigger shoulder has a proportionally greater effect on how it sits and will often force the front over on one side.

Sorry - that went on a bit. Hope it's understandable :)

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post #44 of 46 Old 12-26-2013, 05:59 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by unclearthur View Post
Basically if your horse has a hollow behind the shoulder below the withers. It's fairly typical conformation for a lot of thoroughbreds, warmbloods and draught types or crosses. The trapezius (triangular shaped muscle running laterally along the withers and down over that area of the ribcage) is not well developed. Plus it's one of the areas horses carry body fat which tends to disperse under pressure.

The saddle gullet (ie. Both legs of the front arch) must run parallel to the back of the shoulderblades to avoid any pinching as the latter rotate backwards when the horse moves, but if the horse has these hollows and the saddle panel's not the correct shape or not flocked properly the saddle will drop into the hollows. This can make it seem apparently too wide or too low on the withers and if ridden on it will tend to throw the rider's weight forward. The altered angles can also make the saddle too tight in front, the cantle may lift off the horse's back and possibly it will rock front to back, especially in trot.

The other thing that may be more noticeable if the saddle sits like this is it goes to one side. Horses are all one-sided to a greater or lesser degree, same as us, and if the saddle is tight the bigger shoulder has a proportionally greater effect on how it sits and will often force the front over on one side.

Sorry - that went on a bit. Hope it's understandable :)
Thanks for the explanation, it makes a lot of sense and I can visualize exactly what you mean. I might take some photos of Mitch without a saddle on when I do put the saddle on. (Hopefully tomorrow but we also have a full day of Jet Sprints, first round of the series!)
I always wondered how the likes of showjumping saddles especially, seem to quite commonly lift off the horses backs during sj rounds, even when they weren't going over a jump at the time, that makes a lot of sense.

Ah, that is one thing I had noticed already with my dressage saddle and my gp. (The two that are now in a saddlery being sold) they both sat seemingly straight over the front of the saddle, but looking from the back of the saddle, both of them sat further over the right side, with the left panel going so far over as to actually sit on top of the back of Mitchs spine.. Even to a completely novice eye I knew that wasn't good, but wasn't sure why it was doing that, so out they went.

I know all this is only temporary until I have my saddle fitter out in the early new year, but I find all of this really fascinating, how many different things you need to check and change, how many different factors can actually affect a saddles fitting and performance on the horse. I also just researched how to find where the saddle shouldn't go past, and found out how to find the T18 vertebrae, I'm mainly concerned about that for DJ, being only about 14.3hh-ish, I know this saddle won't go that far back on Mitch

R.I.P ~ Bubbles - 25yo tb mare - 13.04.2011 ~ 8:30am ~ passed away naturally and peacefully in my arms
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post #45 of 46 Old 12-26-2013, 06:22 AM
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My saddler has shown us some very specific padding up which included sewing an extra thickness to the cloth just to the area where the horse is lacking in muscle and then removing it when it has done it's job.
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post #46 of 46 Old 12-26-2013, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by HollyBubbles View Post
Ah, that is one thing I had noticed already with my dressage saddle and my gp. (The two that are now in a saddlery being sold) they both sat seemingly straight over the front of the saddle, but looking from the back of the saddle, both of them sat further over the right side, with the left panel going so far over as to actually sit on top of the back of Mitchs spine.. Even to a completely novice eye I knew that wasn't good, but wasn't sure why it was doing that, so out they went.
Most common reason for that is they're not wide enough. I had a similar problem with my own horse when he'd gained a lot of weight and the only cure was to widen the saddle.

The battle that never ends is the battle of belief against unbelief - Thomas Carlyle

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