Dumb question about saddles - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 06-16-2014, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
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Dumb question about saddles

I'm looking for a saddle for my pony who is only 12.1hh, with quite a short back, and a very wide spine. The physio has said she needs a wide channel, like about 4 fingers width, but does this mean I look for a saddle with a wide gullet, or is the gullet measurement and channel two different things? I understand the difference between the two, but just not sure what I need to look for when I'm researching online. I'd rather ask these questions here and look silly, and then know more what I'm talking about when I go to the saddle shop!!

Also, are there any saddle brands you can recommend that have wide channels?
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Last edited by aussiemum; 06-16-2014 at 08:15 AM.
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post #2 of 13 Old 06-16-2014, 09:05 AM Thread Starter
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Anyone? I think from my googling that the channel width does NOT relate to gullet size, but not positive.
And recommendations for wide channel saddles that come in 14" or 15"?
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post #3 of 13 Old 06-16-2014, 09:20 AM
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There are many saddles out there that are wide and come in 14" or 15". Ponies often have wide backs and are often ridden by children, who typically fit in 14" and 15" saddles. I was always under the impression that the gullet and the channel were the same thing, however, people selling saddles online can have their own interperetation of what these terms mean. This is why it's important to be able to take saddles on trial or only buy from places with good return policies, so you can try it on your pony and be sure it fits before commiting to the saddle. The easiest way to find a saddle that fits is to go shopping at local tack shops, and bring a wither tracing with you. This will help you narrow down your selection.

Here are some helpful resources on saddle fit and wither tracing:
Saddle Fitting - 9 Step Guideline for Optimal Fit
Wither Tracings - How to Make a Wither Tracing for Saddle Fitting

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post #4 of 13 Old 06-16-2014, 09:27 AM
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Often a wide gullet means a wide channel, but not all the time. Also, gullet size isn't the only thing that needs to be considered when fitting the saddle.

Unless you pretty much know exactly what you need, it's best not to buy online, and to see if you can find a local saddlery that will let you try a few saddles. Don't worry about looking silly, lots of people don't know a lot about saddle fit, and a good saddlery should be able to help you out :)
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post #5 of 13 Old 06-16-2014, 10:18 AM
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Too bad you aren't so far away. I have one that would probably be perfect for sale.
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post #6 of 13 Old 06-16-2014, 11:16 AM
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The gullet is the width and angle of the saddle tree at the front. The channel is the groove going down the centerline of the underside of the saddle. I've seen channels as narrow as 2 fingers and as wide as 5. The gullet fits the shoulders. The channel keeps pressure away from the spine.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #7 of 13 Old 06-16-2014, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your advice. I wasnt planning to buy online, just trying to look and get an idea of price etc. but most dont really say if its a wide channel or not. Will definately be going to a saddlery and maybe seeing if they have a fitter that can come out, as the pony in question (not the one in my avatar) has had a back injury and is now (fingers crossed) recovered after more than a year, and ready to bring back into work. My children are so excited as they love this pony to bits :)
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post #8 of 13 Old 06-17-2014, 02:51 AM
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When you have a wide pony probably with little wither, it is hard to get a saddle to fit correctly because they all have to much flocking which raises the saddle way to high over the non existent withers.
This can cause the saddle to roll to either side. If you find a saddle that basically fits but is to high, get a saddler to remove some of the flocking so it is not perching.
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post #9 of 13 Old 06-17-2014, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Foxhunter, I have been thinking I might need to get the saddle fitter to make adjustments. My riding instructor/agistment owner has someone that comes out to her that I can hopefully access. After 16 months of rest and rehab the last thing I want to do is put a saddle on her that makes her sore again.
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-27-2014, 12:26 PM
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eric at steele saddles can send you a demo saddle after you give them a few measurements and they have a good return policy good people to work with
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