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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know I may be bashed for not being very informed on fitting a hard-to fit horse, it's my fault for not looking into it more. I'm 15 and currently ride in a few 16 inch western pleasure/trail saddles. One is a Huber custom that fits two wide but medium withered horses I ride(a QH and an Appy). The other two are both Circle Y, but I haven't actually measured any of them because they don't belong to me; they fit well on more narrow shoulders than the Huber does. We recently brought in a new Arabian mare and now I'm starting to realize I should've thought more about the saddling situation. She's got a pretty normal wither but a straight and very short back, narrow as well. The Huber gives good wither clearance but for it to not sit back too far on her flanks It has to sit too far on her shoulders or vice versa. I don't have a photo of it on her back but I can mark where it lays on her topline. I tried a round skirt saddle to see if it would help but it really didn't take off enough length to improve the issue. With all the other horses I don't know if we're in the market for a perfect custom made saddle but I'm still going to look around and find a fitter in our area. The blue line shows where the front of the tree sits and the red line shows where the skirt ends. It was similar for most saddles I tried on her. Is this most likely going to have to be a custom fit situation? Is it harmful to place the saddle that far up? I guess It depends on the actual length of the tree instead of just the skirt. Again, saddle fitting has always been very straightforward for me with the horses I've ridden and I know I should've looked into it more. I want to make sure she's comfortable under any circumstance.
 

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Without seeing each saddle on the mare, I can't really give you a good answer as to fit. With most Arabs, as long as the skirts of the saddle aren't rubbing the hip bones, you're pretty ok. Some will object if the saddle blanket or pad hits the hip bones but most don't mind too much. If you can find one where the skirt doesn't measure more than 27", it's usually ok. If the horse is really short backed, you may be better off buying a round skirted saddle that's about 25". Most of the show saddles I've used were about 29 1/2" and that frequently is ok for use in the ring for the length of a couple of classes but is really a little too long for most short backed Arabs, I wouldn't want to ride them for long rides in it.

If you move the saddle up far enough to clear the hips, you may be interfering with their shoulder, I wouldn't want to do that as a regular thing. I've bought a few saddles from Schneider's, they tend to specialize in Arab tack. Dale Chavez makes a good length saddle for them too. If you can find an older Circle Y round skirted saddle in good condition, they work pretty well for Arabs too. Check the width of the tree, most Arabs will surprise you with how wide they are.
 

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Hi Eryn

If you want a saddle that _fits_ your girl, and don't mind spending some money to get it, check out Synergist Saddles, and the Equimeasure kit:

https://www.synergistsaddles.com

Being both short-backed, and round as a barrel, George was was very difficult to fit; Synergist promised perfection, and they delivered. We've used it for most of a decade, and couldn't be happier.

Additionally, if you find a used Synergist saddle that is close, they will rework it for you at a reasonable cost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Without seeing each saddle on the mare, I can't really give you a good answer as to fit. With most Arabs, as long as the skirts of the saddle aren't rubbing the hip bones, you're pretty ok. Some will object if the saddle blanket or pad hits the hip bones but most don't mind too much. If you can find one where the skirt doesn't measure more than 27", it's usually ok. If the horse is really short backed, you may be better off buying a round skirted saddle that's about 25". Most of the show saddles I've used were about 29 1/2" and that frequently is ok for use in the ring for the length of a couple of classes but is really a little too long for most short backed Arabs, I wouldn't want to ride them for long rides in it.

If you move the saddle up far enough to clear the hips, you may be interfering with their shoulder, I wouldn't want to do that as a regular thing. I've bought a few saddles from Schneider's, they tend to specialize in Arab tack. Dale Chavez makes a good length saddle for them too. If you can find an older Circle Y round skirted saddle in good condition, they work pretty well for Arabs too. Check the width of the tree, most Arabs will surprise you with how wide they are.
This is mine, it looks far too long doesn't it?
 

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The skirts are huge on that saddle and throw the eye for fit..
To me it is to far forward though...once slid into proper position the saddle will be to large...
The seat size is long all by itself...
A round skirted saddle though would have a smaller foot print without so much excess bulk outlining the seat.

:runninghorse2:...
 

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That saddle is huge it wouldn't even fit my AQHA gelding. Skirts would be in his hips. That seat is huge also.
 

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Yikes, way too big.

We've had a lot of trouble with western saddles on our Arab/arab crosses. If you're okay with a synthetic Abetta makes some of the best fitting saddles for Arabians that I've found. My gelding did around 500 miles this year in his with no soreness and great sweat marks. A bonus as well, they're cheap!
 

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I have used Circle Y's on all my Arabians, they fit well. My show saddle is a wide flex 2 and my other saddle (unfortunately I lost it in a flood) was an Arab tree that was comfy for me and my ponies.
 

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Hi Again Eryn

I know you specified a Western saddle, but honestly, unless you are planning on showing in a Western discipline (or working cattle) you might want to consider an English saddle for your Arabian horse. Two major advantages come to mind; one, consignment tack stores usually have an overabundance of used English saddles, meaning that the chances of finding one that provides a reasonable fit are good, and that you probably won't have to spend an arm and a leg to acquire it. Two, it is easier to determine "fit" on an English saddle; the panels are right out where you can see them vs buried under the typical western skirting, and additionally, the flocking in the panels has a fair bit of conformability, which translates to a given saddle providing an acceptable fit for a broader range of equine backs.
Anyway, here is a link to a really useful series on saddle fit. It deals with English saddles, but the same considerations apply to Western equally as well. Knowledge is Power :)

edit: this might be a more useful link:
https://www.youtube.com/c/schleesesaddlery
 

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What's your approximate weight? Unless you're pushing 300 lbs, the seat on your saddle is FAR too big.


Look into round skirted barrel racing or ranch saddles. Anything with full square skirts and double skirts will likely be too long for your horse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What's your approximate weight? Unless you're pushing 300 lbs, the seat on your saddle is FAR too big.


Look into round skirted barrel racing or ranch saddles. Anything with full square skirts and double skirts will likely be too long for your horse.
I weigh roughly 142-145 lbs. I believe I was measuring the seat incorrectly. Although the seat looks huge I'm not given a lot of extra room because of the placement of the fenders. I think if I could get a well-fit round skirt saddle then she'd do fine. I could probably even go for a 15 inch but that may be too snug. This picture is of my first ride on her, I was asking her to back up so that's why it looks a bit awkward. She's improved a ton under saddle since then. Just bareback though I take up like half of her back. I'd been riding her in a flex-tree circle Y but as I mentioned above, that one doesn't belong to me and the owner is not currently offering it for sale.
 

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I know I may be bashed for not being very informed on fitting a hard-to fit horse, it's my fault for not looking into it more. I'm 15 and currently ride in a few 16 inch western pleasure/trail saddles. One is a Huber custom that fits two wide but medium withered horses I ride(a QH and an Appy). The other two are both Circle Y, but I haven't actually measured any of them because they don't belong to me; they fit well on more narrow shoulders than the Huber does. We recently brought in a new Arabian mare and now I'm starting to realize I should've thought more about the saddling situation. She's got a pretty normal wither but a straight and very short back, narrow as well. The Huber gives good wither clearance but for it to not sit back too far on her flanks It has to sit too far on her shoulders or vice versa. I don't have a photo of it on her back but I can mark where it lays on her topline. I tried a round skirt saddle to see if it would help but it really didn't take off enough length to improve the issue. With all the other horses I don't know if we're in the market for a perfect custom made saddle but I'm still going to look around and find a fitter in our area. The blue line shows where the front of the tree sits and the red line shows where the skirt ends. It was similar for most saddles I tried on her. Is this most likely going to have to be a custom fit situation? Is it harmful to place the saddle that far up? I guess It depends on the actual length of the tree instead of just the skirt. Again, saddle fitting has always been very straightforward for me with the horses I've ridden and I know I should've looked into it more. I want to make sure she's comfortable under any circumstance.
Don't be hard on yourself about not knowing a lot about saddle fitting. I've found that relatively speaking few people actually bother getting saddles that are actually the best fit for the horse and most never well even though you try to educate them on it.

As has already been mentioned, I'll agree with the recommendation to get a saddle fitter. I'll go one step farther and recommend getting a fitter that fits for Randy Aldrich (who was the fitter for Sharron Saare and has kept the brand going after Sharon's death). He's a one man show an you would go on the waiting list (he does them in the order of request after the fitting has been done). The last time I checked (which I confess was a few years back) he had 13 different trees to get the closest fit for each horse. His fitters have one of each tree to try on the horse, taking measurements and photos (very few horses have perfect symmetry on both sides) so that he's able to make the best fit possible for the specific horse. Best fitted saddles I've ever owned and when I first got them I was actually able to notice an improvement in my horses when we went on a long ride.. Randy also has various rigging options. I went with a variation that I like, because is simulates the "Y" rigging I started using when working cattle, but I don't need two cinch straps and with how Randy makes it can be easily adjusted and kept the same with no effort afterwards.

I'll attach a photo of the rigging I got. Randy will speak with you, make recommendations based on what you tell him and will make the saddle to spec. His saddles are very popular with endurance racers, which is what Sharron Saare was and why she started her saddle company. Look for her saddles and you'll find Randy.
 

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An Aussie could work as well for the same reasons an English would if you aren't showing in a specific discipline. My first horse - an ArabxQH was hard to fit. I ended up going bareback or English and never bothered with a western though I did have one I used on the others.
 

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I have had several super short backed horses. Honestly if you aren't set on a western saddle, the Abetta arabian endurance saddles work FANTASTIC (and are LIGHT weight to carry!). They are also relatively cheap and a used one can be had for a decent price as well. I have also found some round skirt endurance saddles in other brands that work well, and several different dressage saddles. Just a thought. And don't beat yourself up about not knowing about saddle fitting. I know many people twice my age that know nothing of it, and claim "every saddle can fit every horse". So good on you for wanting to learn and make sure your horse is comfortable!
 

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Honestly, having been through the whole nightmare of fitting a saddle for a VERY round, short-backed arabian, I 100% suggest looking into the saddle fitting services offered by Trumbull Mountain Saddlery. They are honest and helpful in matching your horse's entire shape to the saddle that will fit best.

I have a circle Y arabian tree and it will never fit my round-barreled gelding (too narrow), even though the length is perfect. Now I'm trying to sell it. I had an abetta synthetic and it was worse in fit than the circle Y (WAY too narrow). Something that says arabian tree doesn't really mean a whole lot. You will want something with a decent flare up front and a round skirt.

Definitely check out the place I mentioned above, though. They are awesome people to work with.
 

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I want to second the suggestion for the Abetta Arab tree saddle. I have one and it has been used on at least 4 Arabs of different sizes and fit all of them well.

All of us had to start at the beginning when learning about saddle fit. If you'd like to learn more, horsesaddleshop.com has LOTS of good info.
 
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