English saddle fit critique. Also loads of questions involving saddle fit. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 04-01-2017, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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English saddle fit critique. Also loads of questions involving saddle fit.

Hi there! I just joined the horseforum today. Just getting that out of the way

Ok...so I have a close contact Lancer's saddle for my mare. I think it fits but again I'm probably wrong, I only say that because this is the first saddle I've ever put on my mare that she hasn't pinned ears or try to bite when I girth up
I took some pictures today. This is the flattest ground I could get her on as I live in a part of FL where the ground is just NOT even lol. Attachments below obvs The sun was in an awkward spot when I went to take pictures of the back of the saddle, you should be able to see daylight still, but if not, thats why. I was able to see daylight back to front I assure you. How do the panels look sitting on her back?

Also she is right shoulder dominant, her left shoulder is weaker which pushes every saddle I've put on her including this one to her left side, although this is the first saddle she has no negative reaction to, I still do the actual riding bareback....VERY hard to remain properly balanced in a saddle that puts you in a crooked position. I know the best thing to do would be a saddle fitter/chiropractor/vet but at the moment I really do not have the money So any help with that?

I was thinking of buying a gel pad as I heard they have *stick* to keep the saddle in the exact right place and position, then just shimming her weaker side. Good idea or no? Also would my girth not help the situation? It is a one side elastic girth and I read they have a tendency to tug the saddle to one side...which cant help my dilemma at all. Should I get a non elastic girth or one with 2 elastics?

And one more question, should wither clearance remain consistent or is it okay if it changes with girthing up and stuff? I can fit 4 fingers between the pommel and my mare's *high* withers with no girth or pad. When I girth up, with pad or not, I can then fit 3 fingers. Same thing if I'm sitting in it.

Lol so many questions , sorry!. But yea, please critique this saddle fit on her. And if you need more pictures to give a thorough critique just say so! I'll take them tomorrow! I just wasnt entirely sure what exactly to take pictures of!! I totally forgot to take side pictures so if that is needed please say.

Thanks for any help!!! My mare and I will appreciate it

Attached Images
File Type: jpg NO girth or pad.jpg (123.6 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg No girth or pad 2.jpg (175.5 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Back of saddle no pad or girth.jpg (144.6 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Girth and pad 1.jpg (208.7 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Girth and pad 2.jpg (119.4 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Girth and pad 3.jpg (150.1 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Girth only 1.jpg (169.6 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Girth only 2.jpg (114.0 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Girth only 3.jpg (159.5 KB, 7 views)
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post #2 of 11 Old 04-01-2017, 10:34 PM
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So the more I look the more I add to my comments...bear with my jumbled thoughts...

I think my gut reaction is your saddle is sitting to far back....
A picture from the side would clarify that ??? ......
The reason I say that is every picture it looks like the saddle is not sitting "above" the wither but more in the hollow behind it.
Not picking here but your pictures also show your mare maybe underweight or under-muscled when her flanks are so concave and hips prominent....this can really affect how your saddle is going to fit today, tomorrow and next week as she gains or loses weight and or muscle.
Although her spine appears to be well covered in flesh...could she have muscle atrophy adding to your fit issues?

If you take a few more pictures {please do}...
If you can get the horse to stand with her head straight and not turned to one side as she did in several pictures...
I see it throwing off my sight line of good fit or not and it does twist her spine which can change how things appear in truth.
This may sound crazy but take pictures of her naked from the back forward with head straight ahead...I almost want to say she has a dropped shoulder or hip as in some of those pictures she is straight & even and in others she looks uneven in her pelvis and entire one side is slanted downward...crazy


So, if you already know you have a shoulder with less muscle mass instead of padding her entire back think more of padding just the side with the deficit to sit the saddle better with evenness.
So use a regular saddle pad placed, then a pad to only that shoulder area carefully placed so no wrinkles are made as you then very carefully place your saddle atop that padding. Girth up slowly and watch carefully. Remember to gently stretch the front legs to remove any folds of skin under the girth caught.

That is my thought and opinion...hope it helps.

And many people think Florida is flat, flat, flat...
Florida is flat and it is hilly too...not mountains but not level is right!!
Welcome to the forum...
....

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post #3 of 11 Old 04-01-2017, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
I think my gut reaction is your saddle is sitting to far back....
A picture from the side would clarify that ??? ......
The reason I say that is every picture it looks like the saddle is not sitting "above" the wither but more in the hollow behind it.
Not picking here but your pictures also show your mare maybe underweight or under-muscled when her flanks are so concave and hips prominent....this can really affect how your saddle is going to fit today, tomorrow and next week as she gains or loses weight and or muscle.
Although her spine appears to be well covered in flesh...could she have muscle atrophy adding to your fit issues?
I was just looking through my camera and turns out I did take pictures from the side..attached below...so absent minded. I was taught to put it behind the shoulder blade, not above the wither, but it does look a little too far back now that I study it.

She doesn't have any muscle atrophy that I can see. She isn't underweight but I wouldn't doubt that she doesn't have all the muscle she should have, which we've been working on when we go hacking, lots of uphill/downhill work at trots etc. Also she is getting up there in age too...prob a little something to do with it :/

Quote:
If you can get the horse to stand with her head straight and not turned to one side as she did in several pictures...
I see it throwing off my sight line of good fit or not and it does twist her spine which can change how things appear in truth.
This may sound crazy but take pictures of her naked from the back forward with head straight ahead...I almost want to say she has a dropped shoulder or hip as in some of those pictures she is straight & even and in others she looks uneven in her pelvis and entire one side is slanted downward...crazy
Will do, I'll get my roommate here to hold her head Its late so, tomorrow obviously.
And oh my goodness, if she is uneven and slanted like that, how would I fix it?

Quote:
So use a regular saddle pad placed, then a pad to only that shoulder area carefully placed so no wrinkles are made as you then very carefully place your saddle atop that padding. Girth up slowly and watch carefully. Remember to gently stretch the front legs to remove any folds of skin under the girth caught.
Okay. Just another regular saddle pad, or something like a half pad? I do have one of those.

Quote:
Welcome to the forum...
Thank you, and also thank you for your answer

Attached Images
File Type: jpg 100_1146.jpg (154.0 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg 100_1147.jpg (172.5 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg 100_1137.jpg (166.6 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg 100_1138.jpg (161.9 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg 100_1156.jpg (184.0 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg 100_1157.jpg (166.7 KB, 7 views)

Last edited by JillandJessie97; 04-01-2017 at 11:22 PM.
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post #4 of 11 Old 04-02-2017, 12:57 AM
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When viewed from all angles, I think the fit looks decent.
I think the saddle is in the appropriate place, especially if her uneven shoulder muscling is pushing the saddle to one side. Too far forward would make that problem worse.

On the Schleese saddle fitting videos online, there is a part where it is demonstrated how not having enough width between the panels in front can cause the saddle to be pushed to one side when the shoulder lifts. This is often seen with one larger shoulder muscle that doesn't fit in the channel when the horse lifts that leg. In other words, the saddle might be wide enough for the smaller shoulder to fit, but not the larger one, so the saddle slides.

I am guessing this saddle might be wider than others you have tried, so it may slide over less for you. Hopefully that will be the case. In general, it doesn't help to shim the smaller side if the larger shoulder isn't fitting in the channel. Making the smaller side fit tighter doesn't fix the problem the larger side is having.
What also can help is finding a tree that allows the shoulder to slide underneath such as a hoop tree, or one with shorter points that sit above the shoulder muscle.

Lancer is a discount saddle brand, so be sure to assess for straightness in the saddle itself and even panel flocking by looking underneath from different angles.

Often the issue with a larger shoulder is exacerbated by the hooves. The side with the larger shoulder will usually have a wider, flatter hoof. The horse's knees/pasterns often will be slightly uneven due to having one hoof shorter than the other. Good hoof trimming can help even out the hooves a bit which will result in the horse not putting such a high percentage of weight on that one side, which will result in the shoulder muscles becoming more even. This will help the horse pick up the other lead more easily, and not favor the strong side as much, and it all results in a more even horse. Then you sit less crookedly, which also helps the horse's muscle balance.

I had that problem with my mare, and rode crookedly for a long time before figuring it all out.
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post #5 of 11 Old 04-02-2017, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JillandJessie97 View Post
Will do, I'll get my roommate here to hold her head Its late so, tomorrow obviously.
And oh my goodness, if she is uneven and slanted like that, how would I fix it?

Okay. Just another regular saddle pad, or something like a half pad? I do have one of those.
If, so very large a "IF"....
I would see if a chiro could help any of your problem.
I am not one who uses them honestly, but this is maybe a problem that a adjustment could help...nothing to lose and lots to gain is my feeling.
Just remember that chiro and all they are touted for are still working with muscle memory.
Just because you might make a adjustment does not mean the horse is instantly or ever going to be fixed if there is atrophy or such lasting muscle memory the body will not allow the compensation.

It is also possible as "Got" mentioned to have this from uneven alignment of hooves or body parts. Stand in front of the horse where she is on level ground {there must be some} and see of her knees, ankles and body parts match in height..one side to the other. I've seen horses with knees 2 different heights but hooves made to look even only to unbalance the horse...it happens!

As for the saddle pad....
A saddle pad you use all the time is fine.
Now take something like a hand towel, fold carefully and pad only the one side, the side with the deficit of muscle.
Using something like a 1/2 pad does nothing as you are looking to take up only the extra space so no "twisting" or settling of the saddle occurs...no falling into a void.

To me, your saddle is to far back.
I would be placing it further forward.
Follow the shoulder bone, not the fat pad up and see where that places the saddle...
The arch/front of the saddle pommel should be directly over the top of the highest point of the wither...in your pictures you are behind that spot.
I think when you place the saddle, where I think it needs sitting, you will have a tipped backward saddle, not level sitting. You might actually need a riser pad {another folded towel} under the cantle to level the saddle out.
I "try" my adjustments with towels before I spend $$ on items.
I want to know my $ is well spent and not thrown away on something that not works first.

I know Lancer was sold by Millers at one time, but both companies are gone now I believe.
It was their entry line of saddles and not of greatest quality...
Made in India?? I think this is country of origin where these saddles were made and materials from.
Make sure your saddle is not "sprung" and sitting crooked causing some of your problem your horse is having to correct anatomically.

That's all I've got....
....
jmo...
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post #6 of 11 Old 04-02-2017, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gottatrot View Post
On the Schleese saddle fitting videos online, there is a part where it is demonstrated how not having enough width between the panels in front can cause the saddle to be pushed to one side when the shoulder lifts. This is often seen with one larger shoulder muscle that doesn't fit in the channel when the horse lifts that leg. In other words, the saddle might be wide enough for the smaller shoulder to fit, but not the larger one, so the saddle slides.
https://youtu.be/cv6cKLjwpt0
Jill and Jess, I was just about to post a link to this site for you, thanks gottatrot. The answers to your questions are all there.
(This might be a better link, view the "saddle fit" series. https://www.youtube.com/user/mjpschleese)

One thing I will add: If you install a clean white bath towel between the saddle and your horse (no pad; the pad changes the saddle fit in proportion to how thick it is; another "saddle fitting" subject), snug up the girth, and ride in it for 10 or 15 minutes, there will be a mark on the towel that shows where the saddle is in contact with the horses back (or not), and relatively, how much contact pressure there is (darker mark = more pressure). The object is not to work up a sweat, just to ride long enough to leave a mark on the towel, which it will do, unless your horse is unusually clean; not a problem I've ever had :-) This can really be a big help when you are trying to add shims.

Steve
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post #7 of 11 Old 04-02-2017, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guy for all your answers so far! So nice to know that I'm not the only one who's had this problem before....and its relieving to hear that her saddle looks like a decent fit. I did move it forward a bit as one of the suggestions said and I'm getting ready to take a couple pictures. I'll try out the towel suggestion for sure.

Quote:
Lancer is a discount saddle brand, so be sure to assess for straightness in the saddle itself and even panel flocking by looking underneath from different angles.
I sat in the saddle before buying it at the tack shop, felt like heaven, nice and straight, its the reason it was bought for me. And I've had this saddle on two other horses, both even shouldered, sat straight, no crookedness, balancing was a walk in the park, I just think its my mare being uneven.
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post #8 of 11 Old 04-02-2017, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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If you take a few more pictures {please do}...
If you can get the horse to stand with her head straight and not turned to one side as she did in several pictures...
Here are today's pictures!
No girth or pad....but I did move it a little bit more forward...what do you think?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 100_1168.jpg (104.0 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg 100_1169.jpg (132.9 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg 100_1170.jpg (102.5 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg 100_1171.jpg (107.4 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg 100_1173.jpg (92.9 KB, 3 views)

I love my horse Jessie more than the ground I walk on
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-02-2017, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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This may sound crazy but take pictures of her naked from the back forward with head straight ahead...I almost want to say she has a dropped shoulder or hip as in some of those pictures she is straight & even and in others she looks uneven in her pelvis and entire one side is slanted downward...crazy
And here's one from back to forward...Her hindquarters are a little high though
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 100_1174.jpg (115.8 KB, 2 views)

I love my horse Jessie more than the ground I walk on
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-02-2017, 04:54 PM
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It still looks little far back to me, but overall the fit doesn't look bad!
Cute mare <3

The sensitivity of the internet baffles me.
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