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View Full Version : Sigh.....need saddle help, advice. Update on new saddle.



jeano
Apr. 10, 2008, 09:28 AM
Sadie, the Satanic One, started developing dry spots behind her withers a while back. I have been frantically switching off saddles, pads, etc in various combinations. We ride all thru our mild winters, but there were a lot of rides where there was no sweat anywhere except under her girth, (so I couldnt see for sure what was happening) but now that it has warmed up and virtually all combinations of the the three saddles and gazillion pads have been tried, I have offically joined Need for New Saddle Denial Anonymous. My name is Jeano, and my horse needs a New Saddle.

She is wide. Wider since I got her (when All Saddles Fit) and in addition to eating better here than in her former home, she is being ridden more and so her back muscling has changed.

What doesnt fit--my beloved Abetta Outback, too long, built on semiQH bars, pinches. Ditto the Wintec Western, although it was slightly wider and fit her longer than the Abetta did. The other horse's endurance (cheeep pro AM, which I love) also squeezes her.)

Complicating factors--I need a big seat for my big rump. Her back is really short. She is gaited, not much in the way of withers, but I swear her shoulder goes back about 5 feet. Her intermediate gaits range from an amble to a nice saddle rack. The saddle issues have caused more ambling and pacing as they have worsened.

The good news bad news--my riding buddy recovered (as in, saddle was stolen years ago and seemed gone forever, but recently was returned to her) an older Ortho Flex patriot. As soon as buddy started suggesting we try it on Sadie I started squawking that I DO NOT want to be responsible for a leather saddle that is worth cubic dollars. I was overruled, we tried it out yesterday, Sadie's back was gloriously wet all over and she racked like a champ for the first time in weeks. Saddle is offically loaned to me until I get something that fits her.

So, sports fans, the point of all this--what I think Sadie needs that I am willing to take care of (not to mention pay for) is something along the lines of a Wintec dressage saddle. That or the Wintec Wide AP. Does anyone have feed back or any OTHER suggestions. I will not repeat NOT buy the ortho flex from my friend. I will not accept it as a permanent loan. I will not spend over about 500 bucks for a saddle, new or used, and I LIKE synthetics. Plus the adjustability factor is helpful with the changeable gullets. Also thought about a Thorowgood broadback.....

Auventera Two
Apr. 10, 2008, 10:01 AM
I used the Wintec AP Ex-Wide (with the purple gullets) and it didn't really work out in my situation. I think I needed a thicker pad but was trying to believe the people who say if you have a saddle that FITS you don't need any pad. Yeah right. When you ride for 7 hours at a time, you NEED a good thickpad. It was a nice saddle, but again, you're up to 500 bucks there, unless you find a used one.

Have you considered treeless? But even with that, you MUST have the expensive treeless pad to go with the saddle if it doesn't have panels, and possibly a good breastcollar. So you'd be back up into the $$$ again.

Hmmm.

jeano
Apr. 10, 2008, 10:27 AM
Not too terribly interested in treeless. Have no issue with having to get a saddle pad, have breastcollars. Dont "really" do endurance, just trail ride a lot, might at some point want to do LD.

I posted on this forum because I was reasonably sure I wouldnt get told I have no business owning a horse unless I am willing to spend 4K on a Duett or a custom made saddle for poopsie!

So, does anyone put in trail miles on a wide, (gaited) horse in a dressage or similar saddle, preferably synthetic, or have any other less than cubic dollar suggestions.

I have no problem waiting around for a used saddle to appear, since I have the loan of the Ortho Flex. Also would be interested to hear about people's experience if any, with wide-tree or full QH bar Abettas or Big Horns or whatever worked for their wider, shortbacked horses that got pinched by semi QH saddles.... I dont HAVE to have an "English" saddle (though I prefer hornless) but because of the very short back and my very large butt think an English saddle will be the best way to provide a big enough seat for me without bridging on her. Big ol Western skirts are not Sadie's friend.

sublimequine
Apr. 10, 2008, 11:43 AM
I never bothered trying the Wintec Wide AP because Wintec told me themselves they didn't think it would work for my horse. I also have an extremely wide horse, who is currently in an x-wide but would most likely need and xx-wide in traditional leather saddles (what she has now runs wider than most).

I'd suggest trying to find a used Thorowgood. That's what I have. I got a saddle that I think must've been a demo, because it was advertised as 'used' but didn't even have any girth marks on the billets, no stirrup leather marks on the flaps, nothing. It's a Thorowgood Griffin, I think from their 'broadback' line. It's before their FISH system came out, but I don't mind that.

You might also want to look at the Thorowgood Maxam. I believe it comes in some extremely wide sizes as well, and even new is REALLY inexpensive. I want to say well under $500.

Ah, here we are.. the Thorowgood Maxam Cob GP:

http://thorowgood.com/uk/maxam/maxam_cob_gp.htm

The suggested retail price is 199 GBP, which converts to roughly $394. :)

jazzrider
Apr. 10, 2008, 12:24 PM
I'm not sure this is helpful, but before we shelled out the big bucks for my hubby's 17.1 hand gaited SSH (fat, extra wide, flat and very short backed), he went somewhat nicely out on trail in a Kieffer Rhein dressage saddle, wide. They're pretty easy to find used in the $400-800 range. And they can adjust the gullet/tree. This is what they say on their web site: "For alterations of your kieffer sadle please prepare a scetch of the back of your horse. Just bend a piece of wire over the withers and copy the bended wire with a pencil on a sheet of paper. The authorised kieffer staff will alter the gullet according to this scetch with the kieffer alteration bench and adapt the measurements of the saddle to the back of your horse."

Not synthetic, but a good saddle that stands up to wear. I can attest to it -- I have a Rhein in wide and a Wein in medium and have used the appropriate one on every one of my horses. Great saddles, and at mattes pad helped make them perfect.

Auventera Two
Apr. 10, 2008, 12:41 PM
Also would be interested to hear about people's experience if any, with wide-tree or full QH bar Abettas

I have this saddle and LOVE it. Great great saddle. Mine was over $600 but I special ordered the flex tree model. You can get it around $300 ish in the rawlide tree.

Ok, let me clarify. I have the EXTRA WIDE TREE Abetta. Not the Full QH bars. And believe me it is gargantuan wide and FLAT. Also I had the Full QH bars for my Arab but sold it. Great saddle, but I switched to treeless for her.

I've had this saddle for almost 4 years now and it's holding up great. It goes in the river all the time, and I swear you just hose and brush the thing off and it looks brand new again. :eek:

I know that Shadow14 who posts here also uses the Abetta and really likes it. So does Matryosha. Can't remember who else but there is quite a few.

I think it's a great saddle.

Auventera Two
Apr. 10, 2008, 12:46 PM
I never bothered trying the Wintec Wide AP because Wintec told me themselves they didn't think it would work for my horse. I also have an extremely wide horse, who is currently in an x-wide but would most likely need and xx-wide in traditional leather saddles (what she has now runs wider than most).

I'd suggest trying to find a used Thorowgood. That's what I have. I got a saddle that I think must've been a demo, because it was advertised as 'used' but didn't even have any girth marks on the billets, no stirrup leather marks on the flaps, nothing. It's a Thorowgood Griffin, I think from their 'broadback' line. It's before their FISH system came out, but I don't mind that.

You might also want to look at the Thorowgood Maxam. I believe it comes in some extremely wide sizes as well, and even new is REALLY inexpensive. I want to say well under $500.

Ah, here we are.. the Thorowgood Maxam Cob GP:

http://thorowgood.com/uk/maxam/maxam_cob_gp.htm

The suggested retail price is 199 GBP, which converts to roughly $394. :)

Well, now I have exactly the opposite experience. :o I had a Thorowgood Maxam for my stock horse, and pffffft YEAH RIGHT! That thing barely fit my big toe, say nothing about my horse. It was nowhere even near being wide enough. I started asking around and everyone told me that Thorowgoods are not as wide as they advertise them to be. You definitely have to get the Broadback version, but if your horse is totally tabletop flat, that won't even cut it.

Honestly I hated absolutely everything about that saddle from the balance, the tree, the look the feel, and right down to how the panels were stuffed. I thought it was a cheap piece of junk. I sold it on consignment at the local tack store for much less than I paid for it.

That's only my personal experience. Individual mileage may vary. :)

gabz
Apr. 10, 2008, 12:47 PM
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE... take digital photos of your horse, describe the horse and contact Julie Cyra at West 20 Saddle. You can email her the photos or fax them. 262-642-4272

She has dozens of BRANDS of saddles and knows what tree is in every one of them. She has done years of thermal imaging on horses and can usually fit a horse by photos 90-95% of the time. Her shipping and trial policy are based on common sense... She sells Tuckers, Big Horn, Fabtron, Tex Tan, Billy Cooks, Crates, Simco, Dale Chavez, and many others on the western / endurance side.

She has helped me fit 2 horses with 3 saddles, and helped countless friends.
She found a Fabtron endurance for my Missouri Fox trotter who looks like he is half halfinger - that's how wide he is... with mutton withers to boot. The fabtron has the seat, pommel, cantle are ALL leather ; only the skirts and fenders are cordura with a leather wear leather on the skirt. I love this saddle. I AM replacing the stirrups on it with some $90 ones that she had on a different endurance saddle - they are shaped... the outside section of the stirrup is longer than the inside section so that the stirrup hangs level/ parallel to the ground!! They come in 3" or 2" tread.

Please give her a call. She can really help - even over the phone. tell her gabz sent you... won't get you a discount, but it will make her laugh.

Huntertwo
Apr. 10, 2008, 03:03 PM
Have you ever tried an Abetta X-tra wide tree on her? My mare is very broad, short backed (pony) and this saddle fits her perfectly and so does my big arse...;)

Diamond Jake
Apr. 10, 2008, 03:13 PM
I used to have a Thorowgood for my broad Morab, and loved it. Too small for my rear in the end. Sold it to my best friend and she loves it.

I just have a hard time understanding your reluctance to use the Ortho-Flex if it the only one in ages that has actually worked for you. Swallow your pride and do what is best for your horse, maybe? The resale value is great, and the saddle should last a good long time. I am not a fan of Ortho-Flex, but I do support a saddle that fits a horse well.... any saddle.

A2- sorry you did not like your Thorowgood. I actually preferred them over Wintec....and I agree with your theory of needing a good pad no matter what. That many hours in the saddle warrants additional protection no matter how well one's saddle fits...

:)

ChocoMare
Apr. 10, 2008, 03:13 PM
One word: Duett. :yes:

www.duettsaddles.com (http://www.duettsaddles.com) - they are specifically constructed for the wide horse. Quality is terrific, price is reasonably and they're uber comfy. Just contact Nancy Temple, the owner. She'll be glad to help.

tabula rashah
Apr. 10, 2008, 03:16 PM
Hmmm, I just bought a synthetic Ortho-Flex patriot on ebay for under $500, in great shape! I have two Ortho-Flex's now (the patriot and a dressage saddle) and I seriously do not think I will ever ride in anything else again:)

That said, I just listed a Flex Tree abetta on Ebay (selling it to pay for the patriot). It was full QH bars and fit my wide guys well.

jeano
Apr. 10, 2008, 04:43 PM
folks, if I had money for Duett I'd buy a Duett. If I had the opportunity in bumflock GA to try umpty twelve saddles, I'd try. If the friends ortho flex was for sale, I'd buy it if I had THAT money. I am very very nervous about her LOANING me the saddle. I Do Not Like to Take Care of TACK the way she does. Sadie is a crash and burn accident prone disaster on the hoof and she is Tough on Tack. Broke a saddle that used to fit her. She wrecks. Not as often as she used to, but trust me, she'll do something to this saddle if I ride her in it long enough.

When it comes right down to it, I'd rather keep the friend and NOT keep her saddle. You'd have to know her....

Finally and once again for the record, "affordable" to me has a top level of 500 bucks, which is approximately one third or less the cost of, say, a nice new "affordable" Duett. I do appreciate the feedback!

Gabz, where is West 20 Saddle and is there a website? Off to google.....

ETA:
Hey, could someone with one of the Abetta endurance (16" seat) give me a front to back length on it. My Outback is waaaaay long, too long. I could then compare without buy one of the xtra wide QH endurance models first...

gabz
Apr. 10, 2008, 07:10 PM
West 20 is located in Wisconsin - don't let that bother you. Julie has fitted horses throughout the US. She's been doing this for more than 20 years.

Her website is west20.com but I'm not sure you'll see a lot of saddles there.
If you are interested in the Fabtron, like I have, they have a website - but it's VERY tedious navigating it AND, not all their stuff is listed there. That's why I trust Julie - because she has dozens of saddle manufacturers and their reps. Most saddle shops only carry 3, maybe 4 BRANDS of saddles.
Julie does not sell a BRAND, she sells a FIT...
When the store ships something out, IF they charge you, it's ony for the actual shipping... sometimes that cost to mail something is so small, they don't bother charging.

I don't like the Ortho flex saddles that I have tried... only a couple, I felt like I was riding on a platform above my horse.
I have a Crates brand saddle with the Equi-fit tree for my Wide-bodied QH; It gives him shoulder clearance that he needs - the front of the tree flares outward - much like a gaited saddle has to.
I have an old Whitman english saddle. I bought it new... she had to hunt that one down when Miller bought out Whitman saddlery.

Nezzy
Apr. 10, 2008, 08:15 PM
my wintec 2000 is wonderful, but my horse is average and he is only 15 h.That said, i have the gullet change system, and i can swap out the gullet to make the front ot the saddle wider or more narrow depending on his weight gain or loss, or age changing his body. I think the Wintec wide are made for the draft cross and warmbloods that are very wide, but if your horse resembles that, you might discover that it fits. if your horse is more like a stocky QH, you might be better with the regular wintec. Good luck, i know how hard this is for you.

gabz
Apr. 10, 2008, 09:21 PM
I want to add another tidbit about fitting gaited horses. You'll find manufacturers that sell 16.5 inch seat and 17.5 inch seat.
The reason being, when riding gaited, you need to sit farther back from the pommel / front of the saddle in order to let the horse use their shoulders when gaiting.

Also - gaited horse saddles will have a higher gullet to accomodate the head nod of a gaited horse.
The tree has to be flared at the front for a good gaited horse saddle, again, to accomodate the reach of the shoulder when gaiting.

Gaited horse saddles are short in length from front to back and will typically have rounded skirts to accomodate the horse's hip reach.

Sometimes the saddles built for short-backed Arabs are good - but they may not have a high enough gullet.

If the gaited horse is an average build, many times there are QH tree-d saddles that will work okay - but not very well. If the gaited horse is wide, then a gaited horse tree/saddle will be a better fit.

just some more to consider for the OP and for those trying to help her find the right saddle.

luvs2ride79
Apr. 10, 2008, 09:45 PM
I would going to suggest a FreeForm treeless or Barefoot treeless, but it's hard to find either one used for under $500. A size 2 in a Barefoot fits like a 16-16.5" western, and you MIGHT be able to find it used for around $500. It has a pommel that you can change out to fit a variety of horses. The seat under you is just fleece and foam, and the cantle behind you can be removed too, but isn't an issue. I have a Bob Marshall and LOVE the treeless route. You do need a special pad to distribute your weight (I use a Skito pad (http://www.aretesaddlery.com/tack/tack/saddle-pads/skito-pads/treeless-skito-pad/prod_95.html)), but with the right pad, girth, and breastcollar combo, a treeless is just as stable (and MUCH more comfortable!) than a treed saddle.

If you want to stick with a more traditional saddle, then I would recommend an Abetta Endurance (http://buyabetta.com/products/saddles/act/20554.htm) with a wide FQHB tree or a Wintec Wide VSD (http://www.jeffersequine.com/ssc/product.asp?CID=1&pf_id=0028984). Get the skirt length of the Abetta before you buy, to make sure your horse has enough room for it.

SouthwestRerider
Apr. 10, 2008, 09:47 PM
I have a wide flex tree Abetta that fit a wide withered TB, but won't fit my new high withered TB. I purchased it new from www.horsetack.com. I no longer have the horse it fit, sadly, and would love to sell it. PM me if you are interested.

jeano
Apr. 11, 2008, 10:05 AM
SWRR you have a PM!

Auventera Two
Apr. 11, 2008, 10:42 AM
ETA:
Hey, could someone with one of the Abetta endurance (16" seat) give me a front to back length on it. My Outback is waaaaay long, too long. I could then compare without buy one of the xtra wide QH endurance models first...

I have the 16" Abetta endurance but it's at home and I'm at work. Can't measure now. But I will say that the skirt is round and doesn't stick out too terribly far behind the cantle. Also, the skirt is very soft. It's synthetic, not leather. It will fold up if the loin presses on it.

luvs2ride79
Apr. 11, 2008, 12:38 PM
Hey, could someone with one of the Abetta endurance (16" seat) give me a front to back length on it. My Outback is waaaaay long, too long. I could then compare without buy one of the xtra wide QH endurance models first...

If you'll contact the people at the web site I gave (either by phone or email) I'm sure they will be happy to give you the total length.

Huntertwo
Apr. 11, 2008, 09:30 PM
Jeano,
My Abetta rounded skirt saddle is at the barn right now, so I can't measure it. But, if you look at my 13.1 h POA in my sig. line it fits her fine.
NO sticking out or even close to being too long for her.


ChocoMare,
I never saw a Duett before.. Beautiful saddles!! I guess its time to start saving my money. :) They do look super comfortable.

jeano
Apr. 13, 2008, 09:13 PM
I bit the bullet and ordered an abetta special trail Wide tree saddle for Sadie--thanks to southwest re-rider for drawing my very short little span of attention to the fact that they are making them with the option of a wide/aka full QH 7" gullet tree.

Since I just got rid of a Wintec Western with semiQH bars that didnt fit her I went to my neighbors and rode her Wiiiiide QH's full QH bar saddle (also a dreaded Wintec) just to see what difference the 7"gullet would make to her ability to gait and apparent comfort under saddle. Sadie responded by whipping around the trais in her showiest rack with very little prompting. Once she figured out she wasnt going to get pinched she was like a new horse, or more accurately, like her old sometimes posionous in a hurry, gotta get there fast, c'mon lets GO self. Whew!

For what its worth, she was MORE comfortable in the full QH saddle than she was even in the Ortho Flex! (It has gone home and I have heaved a sigh of relief.)

The new saddle will have the same tree configuration with a round skirt and nicer rigging options so I have my fingers crossed that this will do the trick.

I figure we can always move up to the Abetta draft tree tral model with the EIGHT inch gullet if she gets any wider....this on a horse who consistently weight tapes at under 1K# and wears a 30 inch girth.....she is just built funny.

GallopingGrape
Apr. 18, 2008, 07:08 PM
Dakota's Walker Saddle is AWESOME for gaited and non gaited horses. I know most folks say that gaited horses need the shoulder room, but doesn't EVERY horse need shoulder room? A resounding YES. When I'm not riding in my treeless, I'm in the Dakota. The bars on the front of the tree have tons of flare to accomodate all horses shoulders. Its fairly wide with a high gullet. They are extremely reasonable brand new and used ones are hard to find - simply because they do fit a wide variety of horses. They are built to last.


Kim
www.GallopingGrape.com
The Galloping Grape
65 East Franklin Street
Warrenton, VA 20186
540-428-1002

jeano
Apr. 23, 2008, 09:38 AM
New Abetta Special Trail Wide QH tree from Chicks was ordered on the 13th and arrived yesterday afternoon. In fact I had tacked Sadie up in a borrowed Paragon and was riding her over to the neighbors' when UPS showed up. I told the driver I would appreciate it if he dropped the box off at the barn, went and collected my neighbor on her horse, and we rode back to swap out saddles.

Saddle fits Sadie, saddle fits my rump, rigging is way cool and allows centerfiring, we went for a trail ride in the power line (straight up and down) and no slippage, even without a breast collar on. Sadie gaited on command and essentially lost the pace she'd developed from being pinched. So, WoooooHoooo!