Western saddle fit - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 14 Old 03-14-2013, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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Western saddle fit

How does this saddle fit? I'm more familiar with english saddle fitting than I am western so I'd like your opinion. My horse is VERY narrow right now and has pretty much no top line what so ever...he came to me very underweight and was a pasture ornament for his entire life (12 years) and has never been worked prior to me bringing him home, except an occasional trail ride, but then again that wasn't really working. He is now at a perfect weight and I'd like to start riding him to work on his top line. It has been hell trying to find a saddle to fit him since he is so narrow and has no muscle what so ever...this is the best fitting one out of all of the ones I tried over the past couple of weeks. They would all lay directly on his withers which obviously is a no-no. I know his body is going to change once he has his muscle too, which is why I bought a used inexpensive saddle.





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post #2 of 14 Old 03-14-2013, 11:54 PM
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I'm a novice but it seems to be either too narrow or pinching in the front.. and there is lifting in the back.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-15-2013, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel View Post
I'm a novice but it seems to be either too narrow or pinching in the front.. and there is lifting in the back.
I thought it looked pretty good in the front...it doesn't seem to be pinching at all and it has pretty good wither clearance. The wider trees would lay completely on his withers and rub. This is the only one that doesn't lay on his withers, but it lifts a little in the back.

I'd love some more opinions.

Last edited by shellybean; 03-15-2013 at 11:16 AM.
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-15-2013, 12:15 PM
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Not only width of the bars needs to be taken into consideration, but also angle of the bars.

This saddle is too wide through the bottom of the bars, whic is causing the lift in the back. The saddle isnt even cinched down and there's already lift. Once you cinch the saddle down, it will sit even lower on his withers. How many fingers (on edge) can you fit between the pommel and his withers? It should be 3-4 with weight in the saddle. When you slide your hand under the front of the saddle by his shoulders (so basically where the tree sits on his shoulders), how much space is there? You should be able to fit your hand in, but it should be a snug fit.

If you are going to use this saddle, I would suggested a wither relief pad or built-up pad.
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-15-2013, 12:18 PM
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Usually when a saddle lifts up in the back and that the cantle is higher than the pommel it means the saddle is too wide but in this case, with the up front picture it looks alright, if it was too narrow, the pommel would probably be higher than the cantle. Have you tried only putting the saddle on the horse's back without any pad and see what it looks like?
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post #6 of 14 Old 03-15-2013, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum View Post
Not only width of the bars needs to be taken into consideration, but also angle of the bars.

This saddle is too wide through the bottom of the bars, whic is causing the lift in the back. The saddle isnt even cinched down and there's already lift. Once you cinch the saddle down, it will sit even lower on his withers. How many fingers (on edge) can you fit between the pommel and his withers? It should be 3-4 with weight in the saddle. When you slide your hand under the front of the saddle by his shoulders (so basically where the tree sits on his shoulders), how much space is there? You should be able to fit your hand in, but it should be a snug fit.

If you are going to use this saddle, I would suggested a wither relief pad or built-up pad.
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In the second and third photo it is cinched.

I know this is an english pad but it will provide lift where he needs it. I plan on using this along with his western saddle pad.
Wintec Comfort Saddle Pad With Lift - Statelinetack.com
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-15-2013, 12:28 PM
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Sorry. On my phone so it was difficult to tell it was cinched.

When it isn't cinched, how much room is there between his shoulder and the tree? How many fingers can you fit between the pommel and his withers with weight in the saddle?
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-15-2013, 01:30 PM
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would you please take a few more photos, with saddle on without a blanket, showing more of the front angle of the tree bars(front edge of saddle), and how it does/doesn't follow the line of the shoulder. Take a photo , if possible, of front of saddle (to show wither clearance) with someone IN saddle.
Side view, cincehd up , no blanket, side view uncinched.

I think it might be a bit too wide in front, however, given your situation, with expecting him to muscle up, this may be tolerable, with some shims in the pad to lift it up off the wither a bit. However, if the angle is too flat (too wide at bottom of bar,) then shimming it will not change that and would only aggravate it being too tight at top, too loose at bottom.
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-15-2013, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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I couldn't take pics of it with anyone in the saddle because he hasn't been ridden in a couple weeks since he threw me (I talk about it in a different thread if you want to read about it, I don't want this thread to focus on that now that I mentioned it)...but my trainer got on today and he did great! No bucking or signs of discomfort. I even checked his back/withers for soreness and he didn't act sore anywhere, I'll check again tomorrow and see if any soreness shows up from todays ride, although I really think he'll be fine. When I took the saddle and blanket off it looks like it fit well. There was even contact throughout his back under the saddle by the way his fuzzy coat was laying underneath. I wasn't really thinking to get pictures but I will in a couple days when she is back out and rides him again. We ended up putting the pad with the lift on and it helped out a lot, and the saddle looked so much better and was much more level. I'll get a picture of the saddle with no blanket, and again with the blanket and the lift with no rider. Then when my trainer is out I'll have her take pics of the fit with me in it.
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-18-2013, 05:53 PM
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^this saddle runs downhill, meaning it will put undue pressure on the withers and shoulder. Whether it fits your horse or not, the problem with lack of balance across the back...and that comes from a poorly made saddle.
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