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Voodoo, Gypsy Vanner weanling; Malmsey, 15 yo arabxwelsh
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! So, just as a disclaimer: I live in the middle of nowhere and the closest saddle fitter is over 3 hours away. I know my saddle looks a bit small on me, but I have gained weight in the 3 years of not owning horses and am working to lose the weight off my of my bum, middle, and thighs. I also don't have the money for a new saddle and trying to make due with what I have.
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I got my mare Malmsey about 6 weeks ago and the vet put her at about 15 years old. She has sat in a pasture for 2 years and does not have any muscle, so I am doing a lot of ground work to help build her topline back up. She is an arabian/welsh cross and my saddle is an older Crosby, size wide. I had my trainer (who graduated from Findlay) come out and check her saddle fit, and my saddle was putting pressure on Malmsey's withers/shoulders. I gave her time off while I ordered a shimmable half-pad and it has helped SO much.

So, here's the thing: I lunge before I ride and no matter where I place my saddle/pads, everything slides around and I have to reposition. I pull my saddle pads up into my saddle, but then end up sliding back down throughout my ride. When I place my saddle properly, the girth doesn't line up. I'm just stumped as to what to do! I can't afford a new saddle. My husband and I just got our house, just got our fence and our stalls built. We don't have the money. But, I have heard that arabians are notoriously difficult to fit anyways.

What the heck can I do to make things better for Malmsey??

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1106738

(I look chubby here, I know)
 

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You look good on her! She's a very cute horse. From both these pics it looks to me like she's rather downhill and has a bigger rear. This could be contributing to the problem.
 

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the photo doesnt show it cclearly, but it looks like the front of the saddle might be low enouogh to actuallly be laying on her wither bones. Please cchekc to make sure there is enough clearancce. Otherwise no amount of money should stand between you and rectifying that.

usually saddle pads move when the saddle is too wide, making them move around, or, too much gripping of leg, but that is not your case.
Coulld you post photos of saddle on, no pad, horse on flat ground, good lighting?
 

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Ditto to Tiny. Can't tell with that one pic how the saddle fits, but it could possibly be too far forward & very low on her wither. So combined with the pads moving around, I too would suspect the saddle is way too wide.

I don't know about Arabs being hard to fit generally, never heard that before, but given that you're in the US & most over there want to fit a Western to any beastie, I sus that's where that view came from. She does look like she's got a very 'dropped' back though, so good on you trying to get her fitter on the ground first - yeah, best not to ride/saddle fit her until she's in better shape. A bodyworker, such as a chiropractic vet or such would be my first port of call, and they should be able to give some good tips on saddle fit too. *Appreciate that may not be possible, if you're out in the boonies though!

Unfortunately, 'shims' aren't a really good answer to a really badly fitting saddle - they can be OK for slightly ill fitting, for temporary affairs, etc tho. Assuming you can't get the horse in better shape, assuming the saddle is a bad fit, assuming you can't afford a new one, you might be able to trade that one for another, or for a good treeless. Failing getting a well fitting saddle or good treeless(el-cheapos are little better than bareback pads with stirrups), I'd ride bareback, rather than putting a badly fitting treed saddle on her.
 

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A half pad can help add some width/filling to the panels on a too wide saddle. But if the pad still sits on the spine rather than tenting above it in the saddle channel, all the weight of the rider will still be going onto the spine. The pad does not change the pressure.
You still must be able to put your hand under the pad in the channel of the saddle in front and feel that the spine is clear. With the rider on board.

It looks like the saddle needs to sit farther back. It would be helpful to see the saddle on her with no rider or pads.
 

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Voodoo, Gypsy Vanner weanling; Malmsey, 15 yo arabxwelsh
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey guys! Thanks so much for your advice! I will try to get better pics at some point and I definitely agree with my saddle needing to go back. I have a bad habit of bringing it forward when I shouldn't, so that is definitely on me! I do think my saddle is wide on her (it IS a wide, but its not as wide as newer saddles. My saddle was made in the 1980's), so I'm trying to figure this out. I'm in a bind with money and just can't afford a new saddle right now :( The half-pad has seemed to help GREATLY, and I do plan on having a massage therapist out in the Spring. I would really like to - eventually - get a Wintec CC saddle that has the interchangeable gullets, but not sure when that can happen, unfortunately.
 
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