New saddle, in love, what needs doing?

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New saddle, in love, what needs doing?

This is a discussion on New saddle, in love, what needs doing? within the Saddle Fitting Issues forums, part of the Horse Tack and Equipment category

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    10-20-2013, 05:10 AM
New saddle, in love, what needs doing?

This is purely an exercise for my eye as I am not a saddle fitter [nor should I be!] and do not have the equipment to change what needs to be changed myself. I will be having it fitted to her the moment I have the money and for now she is very happy and working nicely in it.

This WHOLE SADDLE pretty much can be changed to fit my horse. It's built on Kieffer's genius fully adjustable tree meaning the gullet can be changed, the whole tree shape can be adjusted, and it's wool flocked so the panels can be changed as much as I like to fit her - and should mould to her back to some degree!

It's a Kieffer Wien, size 1, and as you can see it's one of the rare older Kieffers that DOESN'T get super narrow in the channel at the back. I don't know what year it is. The leather is beautiful and soft. I think it was originally brown and was dyed black because it matches my black tack but there are some brown areas on it where it has the usual wear.

Excuse its placement, I put it on in the correct spot and it slipped forward when I tightened the girth. My horse has a very forward girth groove and so I think I need to get a girth that's shaped so that the buckles sit farther back than the girth itself, if there is such a thing. Thoughts on that?

I think it's a touch on the narrow side but that can be changed when it's fitted. I don't think the gullet width is the issue with the slipping though because her old saddle never slipped forward.

This is THE ONLY saddle I have found that has enough wither clearance for her, which is kind of crazy because she doesn't have a huge wither!
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    10-20-2013, 09:24 AM
Width seems fine to me. And your girth-groove position looks pretty normal - I think the issue is possibly more shoulder shape, but even then I'm really nit-picking because it looks a nice horse :)

Cranked girths suit horses with a big range of shoulder movement where the saddle has to be moved back further than we might consider the norm. Or if there's another reason the saddle sits too far forward. So one might work for you. Just beware the saddle isn't sliding forward because the balance needs adjusting (pretty common, and your horse does drop in a tiny bit behind the shoulder which suggests that could possibly be the problem).

As far as adjustment goes, front arch yes but the whole tree? I doubt they could fiddle with that - for one reason the leather seat helps hold its shape and it'd be uneconomic to re-seat a saddle that way. In any case, your horse's back profile looks fairly average so I doubt you need worry it'll alter that drastically.

Nice buy! :)
    10-20-2013, 09:43 AM
Thanks :) I think regarding her girth groove I see it as being forward because I look at it compared to the whole horse and she has that specific shape of scapula that sets the aft edge of her scapula quite far back. So in comparison to where the saddle needs to sit, the girth groove is forward.

Before it rides up onto her shoulder the balance is lovely, after not so much.

Regarding adjustment, these saddles are designed for the tree to be heated and reshaped as necessary to fit the horse. It is quite an expensive process. I've been quoted up to $500 depending on the amount of reshaping that needs doing. With this particular saddle on this particular horse I would only want it widened maybe 4mm, no more. I just don't like that there are pressure points on the sides of her wither but I'm no saddle fitter so the /reason/ for those pressure points could be anything. Including, yes, the balance being out. But I thought my eye for balance was pretty good, and I like the balance of this one on her. I love the position it puts me in and I love how she goes in it [when she's not being her usual redheaded opinionated self and having an opinion about EVERYTHING I ask of her... stubborn witch haha, she's the same bareback]

Edit; I rode in it again because the first ride I was only on for 5 minutes and she's a fairly fine-coated horse on a cold day so it takes work and lots of it to make her sweat at all. I wanted to see sweat patches! She has dry spots either side of her wither indicating pressure points [or possible damage from her old saddle which WAS too narrow and has left white marks on her] but other than that they're lovely. Anyway, second time around I changed how the girth was set up on the billets so it would sit farther forward in relation to the saddle, and problem solved! No more slipping forward.
    10-20-2013, 05:29 PM
BEP - you might be interested in this.

Adjustment | Saddle Technology | kieffer

Like I thought, it's head adjustment only, which a leather seat and skirts can usually cope with okay.

Unfortunately there's a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding floating around out there ref saddle adjustment potential :(

Dry spots aren't necessarily good indicators of pressure problems, btw. But it sounds to me like the saddle may be dropping slightly when you ride (you might feel you're sitting slightly too far forward but it rather depends on your size relative to the size of the seat) which a careful flock adjustment will usually cure :)

Good luck! :)
    10-20-2013, 05:38 PM
PS. When you get it looked at, the saddle fitter should also have a good look at the offside panel. From your cantle photo it looks as if your horse is a little more hollow that side, which is not uncommon. It might just be the way she's standing, but if her musculature is different that side then, again, the flocking can be adjusted to balance the saddle for her.

I should point out that some fitters prefer shimming in this situation, on the basis the horse will change - build up muscle with schooling/exercise. Personally I've found this rarely happens with pleasure horses because they don't get enough correct exercise nowadays.

Which goes to show much of saddle fitting is a matter of opinion ;)
    10-21-2013, 05:55 AM
She wasn't square but she is definitely a little bit one-sided. We have been working on that but her muscling isn't going to be even until she is so it doesn't surprise me if she's hollower on one side.

I know /I/ am not square either so until I've fixed THAT, my horse will never be truly even. I feel like the panel fits her better on the off side than the near, larger area of contact and all that, and as she grows I will need to have it looked at and probably adjusted a lot. I've had someone who I actually like as a saddle fitter [I am EXTREMELY fussy and most of the fitters in my state don't actually know what they're on about] look at these photos and she said that if she was fitting it, she would remove some flocking from the panels and that was it. It's a good fit, and a fairly simple thing to make perfect. That's what I was hoping to hear!

Edit; And I actually find myself sat a little bit farther back than I would like, probably because of my really dodgy position. But this saddle will be good for me, it gives me nothing to fight against while demanding a correct leg position. I've always ridden in the worst chair seat, probably comes from having learned in AP saddles!
    10-21-2013, 06:32 AM
Super Moderator
Really hard to comment on saddle fit when your photo shows it too far forward. It looks like there is a small gap at the back of the saddle panels which could lead to rocking.
    10-21-2013, 07:56 AM
Like I said it's not completely perfect but I'm thinking it's very close. Close enough that it can be fitted to be perfect for her. For some reason she is NOT an easy horse to fit a saddle to!

The girth pulls it forward. I shall get photos with it on in the correct position in the next couple of days but no matter WHERE I put it, it always ends up sitting on her shoulders. Clearly the fit isn't quite right because her old saddle didn't do that, but her old saddle didn't have the wither clearance she now needs.
    10-21-2013, 08:08 AM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by blue eyed pony    
Like I said it's not completely perfect but I'm thinking it's very close. Close enough that it can be fitted to be perfect for her. For some reason she is NOT an easy horse to fit a saddle to!

The girth pulls it forward. I shall get photos with it on in the correct position in the next couple of days but no matter WHERE I put it, it always ends up sitting on her shoulders. Clearly the fit isn't quite right because her old saddle didn't do that, but her old saddle didn't have the wither clearance she now needs.
If it is always ebding up on her shoulders then the fit is rather off and sounds like it is too narrow and maybe the photos are misleading. As it is at the moment, tilting back I would say it was too narrow somewhere on her back for her shape.
    10-21-2013, 10:02 AM
I really think it's the girth doing it, I used the same girth on her old saddle BUT her old saddle had an adjustable back billet and I could set it to sit quite a long way forward. This one doesn't work like that.

Her old saddle didn't slip even when it WAS too narrow and this new one sits nicely balanced when it isn't sitting on her shoulders so I think I need a differently shaped girth.

I shall get new photos tomorrow and show you what I mean.

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