Why is finding the right saddle so difficult? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 08-20-2009, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Poulsbo, WA
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Unhappy Why is finding the right saddle so difficult?

Hello everyone! I have just bought my first horse in - oh - about 30 years - and she is a 10-year old Arab mare about 14.2 hands and weighing in at about 800 lbs. She a tad underweight so we are working on getting her to put some weight on, But I have tried several saddles and they all seem to pinch her shoulders. I don't know what to look for and there are no saddle fitters nearby to help. I am attaching a picture of her so you can see her withers are rather high (I think). And I need a light weight saddle because I have shoulder issues and I am also on a budget. And I need some ideas about saddle pads too. Can anyone help please???
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LLB is offline  
post #2 of 4 Old 08-20-2009, 08:11 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: I live in Oregon.
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You might try looking for a saddle with an Arabian tree. If that doesn't work what about an Australian saddle or English saddle?

"Auschwitz happens when people look at a slaughterhouse and think they are only animals." -- Theodore Adorno
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post #3 of 4 Old 08-20-2009, 09:21 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Aridzona
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Finding the right saddle is like finding the right bathing suit...there's no industry standard that everyone agrees on, so all the saddles come out different from different manufacturers (and some are better made than others, etc).

The Arab tree sounds like a good idea. Arab trees are usually shorter than standard trees, too. They also take into consideration the higher withers.

I tell everyone to go get a Flexicurve. It's a bendable, shapable measuring tape. They cost about $8-$10. You shape it to the contours of your horse's body in those hart-to-fit places like at the withers. Then you can just lift it off the horse and use it as a stencil for a withers tracing of your horse. You can use it to determine what kind of bars, what kind of flare, what kind of twist, and what size gullet you need without having to spend loads of money actually buying saddles only to find out they don't fit...and withers tracings are easily scanned into your computer for emailing, should you find a saddle online you might like (even on Ebay!). It's really simple to do. (instead of a flexicurve you can always use a coat hanger or some wire from the hardware store, but the flexicurve actually has a measuring tape on one side and is quite pliable...coat hangers not so much. lol)

Here's a link to a step-by-step on how to do a withers tracing.
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post #4 of 4 Old 08-21-2009, 12:04 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Arkansas
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Are you looking for western or english?

I agree, an Arabian tree would be the first place I looked. They tend to have more flare to the front, which allowed for freedom of shoulder movement.

Kevin and Southern Trails is a great guy to work with. He has his own line of saddles as well as other good names brands. He WILL find one that will work for you . You can do wither tracings and send pictures, to give him a better idea of what will work. All of his saddles are reasonably priced too, and nice quality.
Western Saddles, Trail Saddles, Barrel Saddle, Ranch Saddle
Western Saddles, Trail Saddles, Wade Saddles, Ranch Saddles

If you're looking for English saddles, I would try a 30-32 cm Stubben Siegfried or medium/regular tree Passier. Both have fit the Arabs and half-Arabians I have worked with quite well.

With any saddle, buy one a little wide and use extra padding to fill in, so her muscle has room to grow. You can adjust or swap out pads as her topline improves. I like Skito saddle pads best for improving saddle fit and muscle development. They're very versatile and comfortable for the horse. You can order custom shims for only $15-25 a set to fix almost any saddle issue. They wear well too, lasting a very long time. My oldest is over 8 yrs old, and going strong!
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