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Does this saddle look like it fits?

671 Views 13 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  unclearthur
I know it’s pictures but this is my first time trying a dressage saddle. Does it appear to fit?
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I would say un girth it and slip your hand under the saddle, feeling around for any spots that could pinch or are particularly tight. If there are spots like this I would say try a gel pad under neath for the try on period to see if that helps at all. Of course it will be different with another pad under the gel pad, but better safe than sorry:) Hope this helps!
Looks like not enough clearance/possibly too wide. Should not be girthed for photos. Head should be up and you want photos from backend forward as well as standing at the neck to get photos of the channel from the front.
Nope.... I don't like it.
To me it is falling down in the pocket behind the wither. The horse is thin and needs weight and muscle to fill that pocket better.
To me, it also needs to be set a bit forward of where it is...
Without hands on touching it is so hard but....
I think the saddle is wracked at the pommel. But I also see that bit of twist all the way to the cantle and stuffings...
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It sits funny, has a twisting to it I saw in this picture but then again in the other picture where your hand is trying to hold in position that wracking/warping I sense is their. It actually is emphasized when your hand is in the picture doing what ever it is you're doing.
Something is not right...but to be positive of what it is..... :unsure:
Something is wrong with the balance and symmetry and with no bare pictures of your horse and only small peeks at his anatomy not sure it is horse or saddle or both.
The horses right side butt and muscling makes me not think it is horse...

@unclearthur is our resident professional saddlesmith and restorer of all types of "English" and dressage.....
I've called him here for his comment and opinion...
I'm not a expert but.....know who has insight I know I respect and value his honesty.;)
🐴.... jmo...
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I can try to get better pictures. He is underweight and needs muscles. I’m just starting to work him , we got him as an older horse. This is the first time I’ve had to fit a saddle to a horse so just looking for different opinions.
I saw the twisting also, but it might be an illusion from the photo since it's not in every photo. I think the name plate was put on off center, which may be creating the illusion.

It appears to me like a decent fit. As far as I can tell, the panels would sit level from front to back, and it's not too wide. It's common to use saddles that are too narrow, but as long as the saddle doesn't dip down in front and there is enough spinal clearance, wider is better.

The front of the saddle appears to match the angle of the barrel, and the saddle brads where the tree points are need to sit behind the shoulder, so you don't have it too far forward either.
As long as the tree feels solid and you don't see any uneven flocking when you look down the panels, I wouldn't have reservations about trying to ride in it and seeing how the horse did.
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My thought @gottatrot is with weight it will lose the little clearance I see. Thoughts?
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I saw the twisting also, but it might be an illusion from the photo since it's not in every photo. I think the name plate was put on off center, which may be creating the illusion.
I did not even notice the nameplate till you said it...... my bad.:cautious:
I see something in the pommel that then carries through to how the cantle panels look to me...something is just off.

The fit may be OK....IDK.
But if the saddle could be wracked your horse is not going to appreciate it. It is not the today we try this saddle it is the weeks of you riding in it that may affect his way of travel and sensitivity you so need via the spine.
If its twisted or wracked, sore may be a understatement to occur....
You really need someone very skilled to figure what is happening with this saddle is my opinion....but something, something is happening.
🐴... jmo...
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My thought @gottatrot is with weight it will lose the little clearance I see. Thoughts?
This photo looks like it has quite a bit?
The OP would need to assess with a rider.


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I believe he is also standing a little twisted in the picture that may be some of it. The saddle is labeled a narrow so my thoughts were that once he gains muscle on his back then a larger gullet would be needed since it’s so close to his spine right now. My question now is should I still look for a narrow tree with a wider gullet or a regular/medium tree? I’m not exactly sure how the sizing works. Does the gullet size correlate with the tree size? Do I have to get a regular or medium treee to get a wider gullet?
I believe he is also standing a little twisted in the picture that may be some of it.
I am not seeing him standing twisted....
From poll to top of tail he is straight and nearly square with just a touch of his hind in front of the other looking from tail forward.

When I look at your horse really critically I would estimate he needs a solid 100++ pounds...
His actual wither bone is really prominent, his shoulder has no excess softness to it, he does not softly blend neck to shoulder, he has a missing fat pad at the wither, his hips are prominently seen, ...flanks are very concave tells he is very underweight although he still has from your picture angle a filled butt...but not a filled topline...
Pictures can and often do tell a real story but can also lie a bit to us too...which this is is unknown to us, but...I would not be trying to buy a good/great fit with a animal in this condition.

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This picture you shared indeed tells a very different story of this horses condition.
I would not be looking to fit a saddle to a horses frame that is this thin cause when he gains, any saddle you have fitting now will not. After opening your picture to full size my guesstimate of weight gain needed is upped to 200 saddle is going to easily accommodate that change.
I also see where he actually has some decent shoulder muscling and again, thought his hind picture showed a bit of delineation, so although he is older and pretty thin, he is not without muscling like some couch potato animals are.
When fully weighted...this is no "narrow" treed saddle fits, never!

Even with his current condition I do not see this horse as a narrow treed saddle and gullet.
If this horse was mine, he would have little exercise while I worked to get pounds on his frame...every calorie used to create fat on the frame and only after a significant gain would I start riding to build muscle...
When so much of the ribcage is seen, 3/4 of it from spine to belly the ribs are seen and this is with a decently started winter coat seen this horse is needing to concentrate his energies on gaining weight not being ridden in my opinion.
Give the animal 2 - 3 weeks of nothing but time to eat and gain, then start to look for something to fit him that will need some extra padding currently as he has a lot to fill in..
With winter coming by evidence of his coming winter coat, my concentration would be to get fat on his frame and only once he has gained a substantial amount would I start making him burn off calories by riding him and trying to build more muscle.

Personally, I am not a fan of changeable "gullet" saddles cause darn but the only thing that changes is the saddle head, not the gullet which is not on a hinged joint so quite a misleading of "it can be changed to fit...".
Since there is no industry wide sizing regulations every manufacturer does their own thing so "I'll get this size in this brand, that brand and then another brand" to me is worthless.
Even from the same manufacturer there are differences with each model made from the factory forget if someone can flock the saddle underneath to fit the animals back that moment in time.
You are going to have to try each saddle as a possibility...over the trial and error of saddles fitting or not you will begin to see what has a chance and what to leave on the shelf and keep searching.
I wish you much luck in your future journey with this animal... he will be a animal you not recognize once he is fully weighted...enjoy the journey or returning him to good health and weight. ;)
🐴 ....... jmo..
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Thank you for your thoughts. I was considering waiting until he is in better shape to purchase a saddle. I may go that route still.
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This is a hard one. If you look at the side-on pic, the low point of the seat is about where the back of that vehicle intersects the saddle. That's too far forward - it ought to be nearer the rear edge of the flap. It means either the pommel is a bit too high, so the arch may be too narrow, or the rear panel may be too flat.
There looks to be something of a twist, with the offside front sitting lower than the nearside. Again, it might be the saddle but head nails are rarely fitted level and you often get the seat pulled to one side at the waist, as it and the skirts are stretched over the tree at manufacture, which exaggerates the effect and can often be mistaken for a warped tree.
If the nearside front is dropping, that often lifts the nearside rear panel slightly, which you should be able to tell from feeling underneath each side with the saddle girthed.
It's useful to know which is the bigger shoulder, too, because this can force a saddle over to one side, particularly if the tree is too narrow for the horse. If you stand in front of him, facing him and with his neck over one shoulder you should be able to reach forward and feel both his shoulders. You'll soon find which is the bigger or has the deeper hollow behind it.
Hope that's of some use.
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