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post #1 of 9 Old 09-01-2017, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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New To Horse Forum - High Withered Problems

Hey everyone!

I'm a new member of The Horse Forum, but I definitely have visited this site a lot for assistance with various things that I've needed. One of the main reasons I've finally joined is because I am having the darnedest time getting the right saddle and pad for my gelding whom is very high withered. Could anyone give me some advise on this?

I'm not sure whether to buy a semi-qh bar saddle (6" gullet, 6 3/4"?) or a gaited saddle... People have told me he looks swayback, but I'm not sure? Anything helps. Thanks!!
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-01-2017, 12:30 PM
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Hello and welcome to the forum!

He is high hipped, which makes him look more sway backed than he is. Is he an under 10 years Walking Horse by chance? If so, some bloodlines lend them themselves to being high hipped for years and more years, no matter how well fed they are. Better to keep them lean and showing high hips, than overweight to cover the high hips:)

IMO, he is lacking muscle along his topline, which would do wonders for the sloping look:)

If he is gaited, saddle fit is crucial to allow his shoulders to make those big sweeping movements Walking Horses are noted for.

There is a plethora of orthotic saddle pads on the market, which I am not up to speed on; hopefully someone will come in with their thoughts:)

He is really pretty --- what's his story, if you care to share:)

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-01-2017, 12:35 PM
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WELCOME!!!

A little more information may help those who truly know saddles and fits of one brand and tree over another.

Obviously your reference is to a western saddle, then a gaited saddle.
What kind of riding do you do?
Is your horse gaited and what breed?
How old is your horse and what activities do you participate in currently?
How often are you riding and what is your long-time goal of time in the saddle astride going to be?
Are you looking for a particular discipline to go toward that needs a specific saddle to assist that end goal?

So, sway-backed can be from many reasons or causes.
A stance can be a indicator of or a joint out of align slightly and that can predispose a horse to a sinking spine.
Someplace, somewhere a long time ago I read the definition....
I vaguely remember these steps to "finding" if the horse meets the definition...
Take a straight edge {yardstick} and place it from wither to pelvic girdle {sacroiliac joint}
Now take a tape measure and measure how large the space is from the back to the levelness of that straightedge.
If it is 3" or more technically the horse has a sway....
I think that was the number...
Now, before flipping out..
Today people are highly critical of horse conformation and pick apart, make comments not taking into account true breed characteristics. Terminology is also tossed around without truly knowing what it means....
Most any breed can be built slightly downhill, uphill or level topline...here comes that word, "swaybacked".
A horse out of condition can easily fit that label. So can a broodmare, a older horse, a youngster growing....it is a word....only a word for most except the most extreme forms.

Your horse from that picture does not look ridiculously hard to saddle fit to me.
Some manufacturers make saddles with a tree that is for a higher withered horses... to me that then also means a dip to the spine and elevate back to the pelvic girdle at a angle.
Few horses are truly "straight" and if they are then that is a whole other saddle fit issue of mutton withers when they "disappear" or are so slight in size.
I'll take your horse any day over the mutton wither..personal choice!

There are several here that are saddle-makers and leather craftsman who will make comment I'm sure....hang in there.
There are a few that are really good at seeing the angles and know what works and what doesn't.

Again, no advice from me for recommendations.
Do though add some more pertinent information so a better understanding and heading you in the right direction takes place.
Remember, all comments offered is only a opinion of the poster writing it.
Always remember it is a opinion offered.

Again, Welcome to the HF family and forum.
....
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Last edited by horselovinguy; 09-01-2017 at 12:44 PM.
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-01-2017, 01:05 PM
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Really there is no such thing as a high withered horse - what it is is, that they lack the structure of the trapezius cervix muscle, usually due to to much pressure from amd ill fitting saddle that has caused oxygen deprivation to the muscle structure over time.

I have seen a lot of this with racehorses.

What I did was to make a pad that took some of the saddle weight by stitching layers below the actual,muscle. This was a great help.

You need to ensure that whatever pad you use is lifted well into channel of the saddle,so no pressure on the withers.
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-01-2017, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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WalkInTheWalk - Thank you! He's such a sweet baby for sure. He is a registered APHA, not gaited. He's 15 years old. I bought him back in March to compete with him on a western drill team, since he's been a drill team horse for the last 8 years. I haven't been able to ride him much at all because I haven't had the right saddle fit. I tried a saddle with a 7" gullet with a correction pad, and it helped a little bit, but he was still super sore. What I haven't been able to figure out yet is if I should go with a saddle with a 6" gullet, or a gaited saddle... Thoughts?
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-01-2017, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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horselovinguy - Thanks for your comment and info! Here are some answers to your questions:

-He is not gaited
-He's a 15 yr old registered APHA
-I purchased him back in March as a drill team horse, however, now I mainly trail ride.
-I've given him a month off due to soreness issues. I'd been riding in a BioFit pad with a 7" gullet barrel saddle, and he still gets very sore.

We're not going to be participating in drill teams anymore because I felt like the riding, and poor saddle fit, has been a bit much for him. He's been a drill team horse for the past 8 years... I figure it's time for a break for him. So, now I'm looking for something that he would be comfortable in on the trails... Any opinions/suggestions would be awesome! I can't seem to figure out if a gaited saddle is the way to go for him, or a semi-qh bar saddle..

Thank you for the info on swayback! I will need to do some measurements, like you suggested!
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-01-2017, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HorseMom321 View Post
WalkInTheWalk - Thank you! He's such a sweet baby for sure. He is a registered APHA, not gaited. He's 15 years old. I bought him back in March to compete with him on a western drill team, since he's been a drill team horse for the last 8 years. I haven't been able to ride him much at all because I haven't had the right saddle fit. I tried a saddle with a 7" gullet with a correction pad, and it helped a little bit, but he was still super sore. What I haven't been able to figure out yet is if I should go with a saddle with a 6" gullet, or a gaited saddle... Thoughts?
Well had you said he is a TWH, I would have said he looks normal for one that hasn't been worked.

I wasn't expecting to hear 15 and an APHA.

If you didn't get a PPE on him, I would start with a complete physical, including blood chemistry panel and a CBC. Add a chiropractic exam to that, and go from there.

I can't stress a quality chiropractor enough. There is a reason why he isn't sound under saddle.

Why was he sold in the first place? Did you personally know the Seller, which would give a more honest history of the horse's health?

Don't spend any more money on saddles or expensive pads, until you get his health figured out:). Once you know he is sound and hopefully just needs some muscle buildup, my thought would be a custom saddle from someone who has a good understanding of tree fit.

This is a great article on tree fit, although this fella doesn't make saddles anymore.

It may be of some help to you, regardless which direction you take ---- custom made or one off the reack:)

Factors That Affect Tree Fit

He is a handsome fella --- I hope you can get this figured out:)

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-01-2017, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhunter View Post
Really there is no such thing as a high withered horse - what it is is, that they lack the structure of the trapezius cervix muscle, usually due to to much pressure from amd ill fitting saddle that has caused oxygen deprivation to the muscle structure over time.

I have seen a lot of this with racehorses.

What I did was to make a pad that took some of the saddle weight by stitching layers below the actual,muscle. This was a great help.

You need to ensure that whatever pad you use is lifted well into channel of the saddle,so no pressure on the withers.
^^^This too but get a good physical done first:)

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-01-2017, 05:45 PM
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With the information you shared I too agree the horse should be checked out by a vet to make sure it isn't something else giving you a problem.

If you knew the horse from drill team days then you probably also know his "ex" owner pretty well.
Ask them to please measure the saddle tree width for you since when they had him he was "sound" and not back sore.
If they had a "name" saddle they used if they would share who manufactured that saddle it would also give you some better information to start saddle searching with...
Now, of course this is totally dependent on the horse being sound and problem free when you did purchase him.
He may have come with issues and they have only increased over the recent past few months.

So, your horse is built very similar to one of mine.
I have a Circle Y saddle with their semi-bar tree under it.
According to the rep from Circle Y "semi" bars of theirs fit many horses that many other trees don't....don't know fact or fiction but what was told.
I do not do "flex-trees or treeless" either...
So, Circle Y owns the templates and is parent company to Tucker, High Horse, Reinsman and of course Circle Y. That narrows some saddle manufacturers down for you and what does or doesn't fit.

I see you are from Georgia, a large enough state it could be near the Florida border or several other states further away.
In the town of Umatilla in Florida is a custom saddler named Johnny Ruff. His business is https://www.yellowpages.com/umatilla...e-shop-6313379
To my knowledge he does not have a website but does have a Facebook page {we are not permitted to give links to FB} you will have to search for.
Spell the name as Ruff's Saddle Shop.
So, custom saddle, beautiful work as you can see and absolutely no one I have ever spoken to has had bad to say about those saddles, new or used.
My best friend has one of this mans saddles...
I've ridden in it several times and even though the seat is to tight for me {shes' petite, I'm not!} it is still comfortable to ride.
The man is also a fantastic fitter. He not only sells saddles he makes but takes trades and consignments with many to chose from on the premise all the time.
Prices are more than fair...his quality is top-notch.
Possibly a road-trip with your horse is in the plan...a saddle fit and made special just for you!

There are many quality saddlers in many areas. Ask around and see what is local to you.
Sometimes, many times, quality is as good if not better for a local custom saddle, yet cheaper because you not pay for advertising the huge companies do for catalogs and such.
Something to think about and consider.

And of course...our saddle gurus will be in attendance soon with their suggestions.

.....
jmo...
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