do you use a half-pad? **updated w. pics of my saddle - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 19 Old 02-16-2009, 04:33 PM
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I would contact a Professional Saddle Maker/Fitter to come out an asess your horses back, saddle and yourself while in it.

They are highly trained people with eyes and experience to aid you in your process of correct saddle fit.

If you don't know, get professional help.
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post #12 of 19 Old 02-16-2009, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Jubilee Rose View Post
Thanks luvstoride. I know that my saddle fits my horse, but I'm not sure if its too wide, or fits just about right. I'm pretty sure its a bit wider if anything, but how do I tell for sure?
Put the saddle on without any pad. Don't girth it up. Be sure it's sitting in the right spot, so the front d-rings are 2-3" behind the shoulder blades. This is the proper spot for an English saddle.

See how many fingers you can fit between the top of the withers and the underside of the pommel. If it's 3-4 fingers, then it "just fits". If it's 1 or 2 fingers, then it's likely a bit wide.

Post some pictures if you want a second opinion. Step back with the camera, so we can see the whole front of the saddle and how it lays against the whole shoulder. Also take a picture from the side, showing the whole horse. You can girth it up lightly while taking photos, so your horse doesn't shake it off. Make sure your horse is standing on level ground.

If you have a professional saddle fitter in your area and can afford it, I do recommend having one out. They are very helpful and can show you in person how to to check for fit and what to look for.
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post #13 of 19 Old 02-16-2009, 05:09 PM
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Saddle fit isn't a cookie cutter way saying if the width is correct, the saddle fits.

There is far more to it than just making sure your fingers fit under the pommel.

You have to know how to look for pockets. Look for pinching. Bridging. Balance. Are the pannels too wide, too thin? Are the pannels wide enough between one another. Does the saddle put pressure on the spine, or on the ribs. Where are the stirrup bars placed in accordance to your horses back?

Do you unbalance the saddle once you are in it?

Do the sweat marks on your saddle pad show eveness. Do the sweat marks on your saddle pad show bridging? Pockets?

That is where a saddle fitter/maker will come in very handy.

Far too many purchase a saddle without the aid of a professional. Far too many are lead to believe that he width is how to make sure a saddle fits - when in reality..there is much more to the whole picture to it.

Unfortunately - - - - -

I would love to see pictures of the sweat marks on your saddle pad.
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post #14 of 19 Old 02-17-2009, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks again everyone. To make this easier, here are some pics I took when I was trying out the saddle, before I bought it (used).

w. close-contact pad:

Anymore critiques would be lovely! Thanks again!

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future'" ~ Jeremiah 29:11

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post #15 of 19 Old 02-17-2009, 01:50 AM
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Personally, if I were you, I wouldn't bother with a half pad.
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post #16 of 19 Old 02-17-2009, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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JDI - Yeah, I didn't really think so, I was just curious. Do you think there's enough padding just with that one pad? Does the saddle look relatively wide, narrow or just right?

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future'" ~ Jeremiah 29:11

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post #17 of 19 Old 02-17-2009, 11:24 AM
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Hard to tell, since I am not there to see in person - but it appears that the part of the saddle, under the knee roll - may interfear with your horses shoulder movement. Smidge it back just a bit to free the shoulder.

What you can do, is put allot of pressure on the pommel with one hand, and then slide your free hand unerneith the saddle, from the pommel strait down to the flaps - so you are feeling between the saddle and your horses body.

If you feel any interfearance, pressure - the saddle is not correct. If you feel shoulder directly under the saddle, then the saddle will interfear with her movement.

You don't want it too far back, of course - don't get me wrong.

But you don't need a 1/2 pad.
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post #18 of 19 Old 03-29-2009, 09:45 AM
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I have the same problem with my TB. He has very high, and narrow shark fins. Now, knowing the correct saddle fitting, (he needs in an extra narrow treed saddle) I still use the half pad, because he has a very thin lined back.

But I talked to a back specialist about using a wither pad and another square pad and it actually will make the horses back/withers worse, because its putting more pressure in that general area. So I stick with the half pad. I only have a very thin square pad that does not do anythnig for him.

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post #19 of 19 Old 03-29-2009, 01:23 PM
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I agree w/what everyone else said.

I use a half pad on two of my horses. My jumper and my eventer. They go in a very very thin saddle pad with a half pad because they both have high withers, with wide shoulders. Because a narrower tree that would allow more wither clearance would cause pinching in the shoulders, I've found success with a half pad.

Key points to note: both horses are in a Bates CC with a med-wide tree. They have spine and wither clearance already, though it's a hare on the low side. The half pad raises the saddle up just enough to allow additional clearance on landing from jumping without altering the saddle fit. It fills in the slight concavity from the high withers to the broad shoulder (does that make sense - the part of the shoulder that I am talking about?).

However that's the only time I've had success with a half pad.

The ONE exception is my dressage horse with major major back issues so he gets a wither relief fleeceworks that's thinner than the mattes pads but relieves anything along the muscles along the spine. His sweat marks are more even that way and he relaxes better to ride but he's better described in more than a few sentences as he's got a thousand and one issues with his back that makes this a very non-traditional case....

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