Teddyi

Saddle Fitting For The Young Horse

Recommended Posts

Hello All,

I'm new here, and am hoping you can give me some help with deciding on a new saddle. I'm looking to buy a new saddle for a young horse I'm planning to start this summer/fall. Because he's only two years old, I'm only going to introduce him to the saddle and maybe put a half dozen rides on him. After that he'll go back to pasture until next spring when I'll put a few more rides on him. He'll start real work when he's four.

I need to buy a saddle for this colt, but am thinking that it may be better to wait until next year when he's three to have a better chance of fitting him properly. I have a saddle I can use to start him this year, but it may not fit him well. For that reason, I'd prefer to buy a saddle for him now so I know it will fit him and not cause any problems. The caveat is that I'm not sure its wise to try to fit him now since he'll change quite a bit over the next few years.

I've been looking at the McCall Lady Wade saddles and have no idea what will fit him. I also thought about having a Double H strip down made because I like the weight (only about 15lbs. give or take) and the freedom of movement in the fenders. Although that will take 5-6 months.

To give you an idea of my horse, he's an Andalusian. Both his parents are 16.2H so we estimate he will finish somewhere around there. He has an extremely upright neck with big shoulders, a very short back and semi-muttony withers. Since he's two, he's got a lot of growing to do.

Any and all help will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks so much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Teddyi,

My sympathies for your situation. Young horses can be difficult to fit. In addition to the prominent shoulders and under developed withers, they also have a straighter back. Saddles for mature horses tend to pinch over the wither area, slip side to side, and stick up in back. However, making a saddle to fit this horse now is not practical, as it will only fit for a very short time and then need to be replaced. Professional trainers riding young colts constantly would benefit from having saddles made to fit that type of back, but not many others.

You can, however, make a mature horse saddle fit within tolerance by adjusting padding. Specialty pads are readily available, and are not nearly as expensive as saddles.

For your Andalusian, make sure your saddle is wide enough at the top of the bars to allow enough room for the horse and steep enough to make contact at the bottom of the bars without pinching at the top. You can use a panel pad to relieve rock and create extra room in the wither area.

Good luck

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Keith,

Thanks so much for the information. In the past I've always started colts in one of three dressage saddles I have, but have been looking to start this one in a Wade type saddle. I find fitting dressage saddles far easier than fitting western saddles (probably due to my inexperience with western saddles). It seems as if everything on a western saddle is hidden under layers of sheepskin and leather - and I have a hard time figuring out exactly what's where. In contrast, dressage saddles seem to be very obvious if they fit or not and there is so much less "stuff" to get through.

I'm thinking of buying a McCall Lady Wade saddle for this horse. McCall uses Timberline trees and I'm thinking their QHB tree would fit him when he's three and four...possibly even when he's full grown - and may work out now with the correct padding. Given this general information, do you think I could get by with buying a McCall Lady Wade with QHB and using a 1/2" or 3/4" Five Star wool pad? Or, even getting a specialty pad? I've spoken with three McCall reps; one told me I would only need the QHB tree (not the FQHB tree), one told me I could use the QHB tree or the FQHB tree and the other had no idea. My concern with the FQHB tree is that it will be too wide and sit too low on his withers.

It seems as if this colt changes shape from one day to the next right now, and he is currently butt high which makes him appear to have a dip in his back. He also has big shoulders and an incredibly short back.. Fitting him right now will be a challenge for sure.

Thanks so much for your help! Its much appreciated.

Teddy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Im no expert like Mr Seidel, but I wouldnt ride anything in just an 1/2 or 3/4" pad. A 1" pad is ok by itself, but if I were going to use anything smaller I would use a single or double navajo pad along with it. Not really part of your question, but I thought I would add that to keep in mind since you said something about it

CW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keith's advice is rock solid. I won't even make a saddle for a horse that is that age. There is too much change. As for the breed, your type of horse has a much more prominent set of whithers once he is fully mature than most Quarter horses. Once again, Keith's advice is rock solid. The specialty pads under a plain middle of the road western saddle will get you by till he has grown. Once he has grown closer to his finished out size, you can spend the dollars to get a really well made saddle that you will be able to use from there on out, and your horse will appreciate the difference.

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice CW and Bob. I think I'll try to get a used Lady Wade McCall for now and pad it up. I have a 1/2" Five Star wool pad, and will look into either a 3/4" or 1" Five Star pad OR a specialty pad to use for now.

CW - the Five Star pads are all wool and very dense. From my understanding of the Five Star pads, as long as my saddle fits properly, I'll only need a 1/2" pad. Their rep told me because of my weight (about 115 lbs give or take) and the fact that I'm not roping anything bigger than calves, I should stick with a 1/2" pad. She said if I plan on roping bulls or large steers, then I might want to use something thicker. Although this is a special situation, and to fit this colt right now I'd try a 3/4" to 1" pad unless it makes the saddle slip around too much. Thinking of looking into a specialty pad as well.

Bob - I plan on getting a really nice saddle made for this colt someday, but definitely not this year. Andalusians mature very slowly, so he'll likely not be done growing until he's 7 or 8. Will look into a really well made saddle when he's 4 or so.

Keith and Bob - I realize it's hard to tell at this point, but can you give me your opinion on whether or not it's reasonable to assume that a FQHB Timberline tree on a McCall Lady Wade saddle will be too wide for my colt right now? I understand that he's going to change a lot, and that you'd only be providing an educated guess, but your educated guess is probably a lot better than mine. I'm just looking for advice to help me buy a saddle that could work for now. I'm thinking I'll try a QHB McCall Lady Wade and pad it up for this colt. Anything wrong with my trying this route? The saddle shop in town does have a McCall Lady Wade with QHB that I can try on my colt to see if it will work for the time being.

Thanks so much everyone for your help!!

Teddy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Teddy,

I do not have a lot of experience fitting Andalusians. Typical problems with McCalls are too much rock in the bars for young horses. This can be fixed with a panel pad and removing the center panels. (panel pads are from Diamond Wool)The Timberline tree is a good tree and their FQH is wider at the bottom in relation to their QH bar. Gullet width is important, but can also be turned with padding. Most western saddles are built to fit properly with proper padding relative to the size of horse under the saddle. Generally speaking, larger horse = less padding, smaller horse= more padding. You need to pad to fill the space in the gullet between the horse and the saddle... side to side, not top. The angle of the front bar pad is one of the more critical areas of fit. You do not want too wide at the bottom! Typically most young horses are steeper in the whither area and need a regular QG bar, or even a semi QH bar. A full QH bar is usually too wide for immature backs. It looks like you are in Jackson Hole WY, and are not that far from where I am in Cody. I would certainly be able to assist you in fitting if you want. I know John from Flat Creek Saddlery well, but do not know his level of expertise regarding fitting. You are right in that western saddles are much harder to asses the fit than english. Also, the woolskin offers a great deal of soft padding, and true fit is not readily visible until wool is compressed, further complicating the matter.

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Teddyi, Wow what a Opportunity!!!! Have one of the best makers in the world help fit your horse.I would take that offer in a heart beat.

Keith, I read that you made a Mother Hubbard saddle, sure would love to see a picture or two. Billy

Edited by Billy H

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keith,

Thank you so much for answering my questions and for your kind offer to help fit my horse. I'd love to have your expert advice on fitting this colt! I'm about a 3-1/2 hour drive from you - through the Park - tourist traffic and moose/elk/bear jams excepted. Maybe we can figure out a convenient time/date for me to trailer him up to you and you can tell me what you think. Or, if you're planning to be in my area at some point in the near future, maybe we can meet and you can take a look at my colt? Although I think it may be the best use of your time to do this next year when he's three?

As for fitting Andalusians, they differ vastly in body type anymore (similar to Quarter Horses now). They used to be fairly predictable in conformation, but with the popularity of the breed in the US, the breed type has undergone quite a bit of change. Now you can find Andalusians ranging in size and shape from pony-like to draft-like. If it helps at all, I've attached a picture of my colt's sire. His sire is incredibly prepotent, and his breeder feels my colt will turn out very similar to his sire in body type and proportion. For reference, his sire is 16.2H. His dam is also 16.2H and I only have video of her - no still pictures. She is slightly longer in the back than the sire, and has slightly more muttony withers with a slightly broader back.

John at Flat Creek has a new McCall Lady Wade with QHB that he said I could try on my colt. I actually would have purchased that saddle last year (for another horse) except for the fact that it's a 14" finished seat, and although it fit me fine, I was concerned that I might want another 1/2" or so of room. I've been told that for big moving horses, a slightly larger seat is a good thing. I don't know if that's true or not, but I imagine 1/2" bigger isn't going to hinder me, whereas a 1/2" too small would. I'd be interested to know if you agree with the 1/2" bigger seat for big moving horses theory.

Thank you for describing what I need to look for with respect to the McCall saddle in particular. If I understand you correctly, you're saying that the Timberline bars have too much rock in the bars - in layman's terms this means curve (i.e. like the rockers on a rocking chair?). And angle of the front bar pad not being too wide at the bottom - do you mean angle as in flatter or steeper as it relates to the horse's back? Sorry, complete layman here.

I've taken a look at the Diamond Wool panel pads and they look interesting. I'll see if John has any in stock.

I do have two other options; borrow a friend's Crates saddle (I believe its the Light Versatility saddle with a rawhide "TMBR" tree) or Frecker's has a 15" finished seat Buck Brannaman Lite saddle for sale. I've emailed Frecker's for the full specs on the saddle, but I'm thinking I'd hate to start a colt in a $4,500 saddle that also may not fit him when he's four.

Thank you so much for your patience and help!! Its very much appreciated.

Teddy

Billy,

Yes...Keith is extremely nice to give me so much of his time answering my questions. I'm very grateful for his help. Will also jump at the chance to have him help me with saddle fit for this colt.

Teddy

post-31031-066104900 1336410992_thumb.jp

post-31031-028882200 1336411008_thumb.jp

post-31031-071066500 1336411025_thumb.jp

post-31031-002933800 1336411038_thumb.jp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Teddy,

Nice looking sire of your colt! If he turns out anything like that you will have a great horse! I fit a lot of big ranch horses that are similar in size and the overall conformation is similar to some big morgans that we see in this country. As an adult, he will not be difficult to fit. My concerns are fitting him now and over the next 4 years without creating resistance in training due to poor saddle fit. This year is probably not as critical as you will not be riding him very hard or long, and under controlled environments. The borrowed Crates with some attention to padding may be acceptable.

Your questions regarding angles and rock.... Those are hard concepts to describe in words without pictures and hand gestures! Yes, rock refers to the curve in the bars from front to back like the rockers on a rocking chair. Gullet angle is the angle from side to side. It relates to the slope of the horses side of shoulder from center straight out (perpendicular) from the spine. Mutton whithered horses are flatter, and thoroughbreds are steeper. Hope that is clear.

Of the saddles you mentioned, the Frecker is far superior. I am sympathetic to the entry saddle for $4500. Especially with the possibility of not fitting later. You would most likely get a couple of years out of it anyway. The Lady Wade at 14" is pretty small, even for a small frame lady. There is a fairly good resale market for used saddles, but you take a pretty big hit from the new price. Best if you can find one used that will suit you to optimize economics. I have a slightly used wade in the store that may work for you. It is made by Chuck Treon of Weatherford, TX. It is a Hamley Wade style tree and the tree was made by Warren Wright of New Zealand. It is a 15 1/2" seat, round skirt, 3/4 flat plate double rigging, all smooth finish. Weighs 32#. price $3500. You would have to abuse it pretty hard to drop the value much below that. I'll post a pic if you are interested. I think it will probably fit your horse adequately for the next 3 or 4 years, after that, who knows. This tree has a 6 1/4" front and 4" back gullet width and 12 3/4" bottom bar flare. What that means is that it is pretty standard quarter horse angles and size. Bar pads are pretty flat which allow for heavier muscle under the bar. Just another option. You may not like it at all.

I am always looking for an ex to go to Jackson for a fishing trip! Do not have plans for any visits before June 1. It would be easier to go thru thru the fitting process here at my shop, but I can bring the stuff to Jackson also. ( I have trees and minimal skirts so you can see the fit)

Billy, I'll try to post some pics of that Mother Hubbard saddle. I should have posted them sooner.... time,you know.

Keith

post-5801-032571300 1336430304_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keith,

Thanks so much for more great information. And thanks for the nice comment on my colt's sire. He's a really nice stallion - very athletic and very nice type. I like them big, but not if they lose type or can't get out of their own way. They're supposed to be able to fight bulls after all. With luck, my colt will turn out as nice as his sire. I purposely chose him because he's so agile and athletic. So far, he isn't disappointing me. Although he did jump out of his pasture last summer. My pasture fence for him is 5' tall so I guess "athletic" can be a blessing and a curse.

And what you said about fitting him to avoid creating resistance in training due to poor saddle fit is EXACTLY what I am concerned about. You hit the nail on the head!! I'm tempted to buy the Frecker's Brannaman Lite Wade since they rarely have them ready made for sale. I just happened to look on their website today and saw it. I asked Kent and he said it's QH bars, 15" seat. I suppose I could justify it by telling myself that resale is excellent on those saddles.... Here's the description: This finished Buck Brannaman Lite saddle weighs approximately 30-33 lbs. We have taken the regular Buck Brannaman tree and put a slightly smaller horn (4½" finished), used lighter weight leather, narrower stirrup leathers, narrower fenders, trimmed the skirts and jockeys down, and 4" stainless steel stirrups without heel blocks. Still using top quality materials, tree, leather, and hardware, this makes a great all around saddle. Available in 14-16½" seat size; your inseam length; and quarterhorse or thoroughbred gullet widths. And I'll post a picture so you know what it looks like.

Do you think this would be a suitable saddle for my colt. (Well, aside from the possibility of it not fitting him when he's mature and the possible damage he could do to it when I'm starting him.)

For this year I'll try the borrowed Crates and look at padding it correctly. I'm borrowing it from a friend who uses it on a TB mare with some withers, but big shoulders. She said it's not a narrow saddle. I'll find out the specifics when I see her this week. It may be okay for now due to my colt's immature frame.

And I researched angle and rock and think I understand now. Thank you for the description and explanation! It made things much more clear to me.

The saddle you described sounds interesting. Thanks for posting the photo. Something for me to consider as well.

As for seat size, I suppose it must be a personal preference thing because I've been told I would take a 14" seat in a wade saddle. There are also a few gals I know who ride in a 14" wade and they're even slightly bigger than I am. Again, this is where dressage saddles are so much easier to fit. I ride in a 16-1/2" dressage saddle and know what fits and doesn't the minute I sit in it. With the wade saddles, I'm lost. Do you think a 14-1/2" wade would be better - or even a 15" wade? I know some of it is personal preference too, but this completely confuses me.

I am happy to wait until after June if you think you may be in my area this summer!! That way you can write off your fishing trip as a business trip!

Many, many thanks for your help with this.

Teddy

post-31031-018881200 1336432243_thumb.jp

Edited by Teddyi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're in great hands with Keith, obviously, but I just thought I'd caution you that you may need more rock and shoulder flare then is commonly available in most Wade trees on the commercial market. I have a friend who brought a very nice Andy over from Spain a few years ago:

...and her horse fit saddles that fit my Icelandic quite well. Those were made extremely wide (Andy Knight said I would never have found something off the shelf to fit my Icelandic). She was riding in a treeless for a long time until she found a saddle that fit (a dressage saddle, eventually).

Like you said though, lots of variation in the breed.

Good luck!

Adam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Adam,

Thank you for your reply - and for posting the video of your friend's horse. He's lovely! And lucky her...she got to go to Spain to buy him!!

As for fitting Andalusians, I agree that their conformation presents some unique challenges. Combine that with my colt's age and immature structure ~ and the fact that I know nothing about fitting a western saddle, and it's a daunting task. It would be so much easier to fit him to one of my dressage saddles, but I'm really keen to start him in a Wade saddle. Mostly because I'll be taking him to sort and gather in the near future. But I have to admit that I'm also fascinated with the Vaquero style of riding.

Thankfully, I found this forum and have gotten some incredible advice from the experts here.

Thanks again for your reply!

Teddy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you think this would be a suitable saddle for my colt. (Well, aside from the possibility of it not fitting him when he's mature and the possible damage he could do to it when I'm starting him.)

For this year I'll try the borrowed Crates and look at padding it correctly. I'm borrowing it from a friend who uses it on a TB mare with some withers, but big shoulders. She said it's not a narrow saddle. I'll find out the specifics when I see her this week. It may be okay for now due to my colt's immature frame.

I do like Kent Frecker's trees. This saddle may work fine for your horse. I would want to know the gullet measurements before committing. The most common areas of saddlefit that cause problems in training are pinching whithers in the upper gullet range (which causes them to buck with their head down) and excessive rock putting too much pressure in the middle of the back (causing the horse to hollow his back and resist collection).

As for seat size, I suppose it must be a personal preference thing because I've been told I would take a 14" seat in a wade saddle. There are also a few gals I know who ride in a 14" wade and they're even slightly bigger than I am. Again, this is where dressage saddles are so much easier to fit. I ride in a 16-1/2" dressage saddle and know what fits and doesn't the minute I sit in it. With the wade saddles, I'm lost. Do you think a 14-1/2" wade would be better - or even a 15" wade? I know some of it is personal preference too, but this completely confuses me.

Seat size is relative to many factors in western saddles. The amount of leg room is more important than actual distance from horn to cantle. This is affected by swell shape and angle; cantle height, width, and angle; and how the maker shapes the seat. None of these factors are present in an english saddle. Fitting for ladies can be controversial since we are talking about the woman's shape! Some ladies have smaller hips, seat, and thighs; most have larger. With a wade tree you do not have swells to interfere with your legs, but you still have to decide how close you want to be to your horn. Personal preference is the final factor determining your choice.

I am sure I will be coming to Jackson sometime this summer. Will have to wait till runoff is done, but can come for fishing trip then. PM me your phone # and I will call you when I am coming your way.

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keith,

Thank you for the information, and for answering my questions. I sent you a PM also.

I just talked to Kent and he just sold that saddle. It was on the website for maybe four days. Amazing! He said he has another one that is also a Brannaman Lite. 15" seat, QH bars, 4" x 90 degrees. Kent seemed to think that would fit an Andalusian well. He said that's the configuration Buck Brannaman uses, and he tends to be able to use it on a wide variety of horses. Might be that we're talking about a wide variety of QH's, but he thought it would work for me. Or, I can get on next year's list for a custom saddle. Will take 6 months to get it made. That would be great except that my riding season is May/June to Oct/Nov. So I'd need another saddle in the interim.

I definitely don't want the saddle to pinch or be uncomfortable in any way. There are enough things to work out starting a colt without creating your own rodeo. And I really want my horses to be comfortable so they perform at their best.

Thank you so much for tackling the seat size issue!! You handled a tricky subject quite tactfully. I've tried to get an answer both from the internet and from other people who ride without much luck. As you've said, I think it all comes down to personal preference. I'm not a very big person (5'3", 115 lbs, fairly muscular). My preferences with a dressage saddle tend towards the minimalist; deep close seat with a wide twist (I know not the standard for most women), with minimal thigh/knee blocking. I like to be able to move around a little in my saddle, and be able to swing a leg freely if I need to ~ especially when riding young or bronc-y horses. So, I guess a 15" could well fit me fine. I'm planning to drive to Freckers on Saturday to see if that 15" saddle fits me.

Thanks again for all your help!!

Teddy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this is an old post, but what Keith Seidel said toward the top of this discussion about the common problems with fitting a young horse (too tight in the shoulders, rising up in the back) is exactly what I'm having trouble with. I have a 3-year-old QH that I'm having trouble fitting, and he's obviously uncomfortable in the saddles I have, though my older horse doesn't really seem to have a problem with them. I don't want to have something made for him specifically, because I don't ride many young horses, so I'd like to find a pad that'll even my wade saddle out. I'm just starting to ride him, and the last thing I need is for him to be so uncomfortable with the saddle now that he bucks every time I put one on him. So my question is, what kind of pad is good for that kind of adjustment? I've had the same kind of trouble with pads that I've had with saddles--I've gone through a ton of them and none of them have been great. I'm willing to spend whatever I have to, just to get everything feeling good for him. I'd prefer to find something that I can use to also adjust for my 21-year-old Appaloosa, who generally needs extra shoulder padding but isn't have trouble with keeping weight on. Would a panel pad be the best, and how would I change the panels out to fit my little guy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This basic; if a saddle is too tight anywhere, more pads can only make it tighter, if it's too big, however, pads can fill in spaces. That makes the decision as to have a "colt" saddle or not one complicated by lots of things, dollars being big. It is certainly true that colts' new worlds of being changed from a free to controlled being are really full of change and what a great blessing it is that most are remarkably flexible and adaptable. All that said, we can just try not to hurt or scare them as we introduce them to the role they will occupy for years to come. If we can avoid that we have great things to look forward to. We run the risk of overthinking this as we try not to be thoughtless. Balance!!   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, providing my saddle is actually big enough for him, can I combat the pinched-withers-and-rising-in-back problem by removing the shoulder shims from a panel pad? I haven't had much experience with young horses' backs--the other horse I ride has to have padding to fill in around his withers. I've been looking through the pads that Diamond Wool offers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rising in the back is often a sign of a saddle that is too wide in the front. Removing the shoulder shims would make it come up in the back even more.  Just my opinion, as saddle fitting is one of the most controversial subjects known to man.  I even came across a website of a lady that's been building saddles for many more years than I have, and she claims we all saddle our horses with the saddle set too far back, and that the bar pads should be up OVER the shoulder blades and the rigging set further back to keep the saddle there.  She claims many of the sore backed horses are made sore by the bar pads sitting BEHIND the shoulder blades, and gullet widths need to be much wider, 8 inches or even more.  Her saddles are much in demand by the barrel racing crowd. I'd have to see the proof to be convinced, but she is very adamant on her theory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Big Sioux,
could you give us a link to the website you mentioned, please. Just curious what the lady saddle maker has to say. Sounds  like something that was discussed here on this forum a number of years back.  Thanks in advance.

 

 

Edited by Tosch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Big Sioux Saddlery said:

... I even came across a website of a lady that's been building saddles for many more years than I have, and she claims we all saddle our horses with the saddle set too far back, and that the bar pads should be up OVER the shoulder blades and the rigging set further back to keep the saddle there.  She claims many of the sore backed horses are made sore by the bar pads sitting BEHIND the shoulder blades, and gullet widths need to be much wider, 8 inches or even more.  Her saddles are much in demand by the barrel racing crowd. I'd have to see the proof to be convinced, but she is very adamant on her theory.

Yet she will stand alone with it as not just one study has proven that to be more than wrong and can lead to serious injuries. I'd be interested in that link as well and have Joyce Harman, DVM comment on that.

16 hours ago, oltoot said:

... That makes the decision as to have a "colt" saddle or not one complicated by lots of things, dollars being big. ...

Thanks a million oldtoot, already forgot about that. Solves a problem for me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Saddle fitting issues are the biggest motivator for me to build my own saddle on a tree I know will fit. Fit certainly is one of the most debated subjects! I think I may get one of those pads with the shims and experiment with it. I can move things around until I get a better fit. I really like that it's thick enough to use even without any shims.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, HannahT said:

Saddle fitting issues are the biggest motivator for me to build my own saddle on a tree I know will fit. Fit certainly is one of the most debated subjects! I think I may get one of those pads with the shims and experiment with it. I can move things around until I get a better fit. I really like that it's thick enough to use even without any shims.

I think that may be a good compromise for your young horse at this stage of his life.  The better trainers that I know all have quite a few saddles, some of that being just so they can saddle half a dozen and let them stand or turn them out while they work another, but also so they can fit a wide range of horses.  That can get expensive, but then the "horse habit" has never been known to be cheap! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Big Sioux Saddlery said:

but then the "horse habit" has never been known to be cheap! 

You're right about that! It took me several years to realize that buying cheap tack and having to replace it all the time because it broke or didn't work was even more expensive than getting nice tack from the first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/5/2016 at 2:23 PM, HannahT said:

So, providing my saddle is actually big enough for him, can I combat the pinched-withers-and-rising-in-back problem by removing the shoulder shims from a panel pad? I haven't had much experience with young horses' backs--the other horse I ride has to have padding to fill in around his withers. I've been looking through the pads that Diamond Wool offers.

Diamond Wool panel pad comes in either a 1" or a 1/2" pad, both have 1/2" removable panels.  If your saddle is wide enough in the front gullet, and rising up in the back, then it has too much rock and is making contact in the center behind the stirrup leathers.  Removing the center panel will relieve the rock by 1/2", allowing the saddle to sit more level with less pressure in the center.  Center pressure causes the horse to hollow the back to get away from the pressure.  This complicates any movements requiring collection. 

If your front gullet is too wide, then, like Big Sioux  commented, the front will drop too low, causing the back to rise.  Still, you would have too much pressure in the center, not in the front.  Removing the center panels will still help the fit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now