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View Full Version : Swaybacked mare. Crosspost since you guys probably know more about Arabs ;)



IrishWillow
Apr. 6, 2010, 07:32 PM
I'm about to take a friend of mine's mare for a few months of legging up after a year + off. Mare is a National Show Horse .. therefore a Saddlebred/Arab cross. She is super cute... but being in ZERO work for almost 2 years, she is insanely chubby and very swaybacked. Some of it is lack of fitness and some it is breeding/conformation.

So, I'm having a HECK of a time finding a saddle to recommend the owner buy. Mare is pretty big moving and has ENORMOUS shoulders, and with the chubbiness factor, she has completely covered her withers in flubb and is SO broad backed.

My instinct is some super wide saddle with a back riser.. but I dont want to pinch her shoulders.

Here is the mare: http://www.spirittxarabians.com/angel.html

Obviously, that was a long time ago, so I'm fighting age, long weak back, breeding, lack of fitness, etc. She's fabulous to ride, so I dont think the swayback really gets in her way. But if I'm going to ride her everyday, just an "okay" saddle fit isnt going to do it. Plus, the owner needs to buy a saddle for her either way.

Ideas??
Open to saddles, saddle pads, or a combination..

SharonA
Apr. 6, 2010, 08:11 PM
I'm riding my Arab mare, who has a long dippy back (and I thought having two kids did a number on MY back!), in a Stuebben. It was the best I found for her at the best price, though Black Country had a few saddles that might have fit both of us just as well or perhaps a shade better (but there was a big break on the Stuebben's price). She has a huge shoulder, but she's nowhere near as wide as your girl.

Good luck! Lovely horse.

IrishWillow
Apr. 6, 2010, 08:23 PM
I think we might have to go with the Wintec Wide series all purpose, since she is so broad backed. But, the owner would really like an Aussie type saddle or a 'light' endurance saddle (something with a narrower twist than you're average endurance saddle), so I thought Id see if you guys had any ideas. Ideally, I'd like to see them in a dressage saddle or a deep seated all purpose, since she is interested in working on equitation and taking riding lessons.

Kris26
Apr. 6, 2010, 08:27 PM
You can always go with a treeless... that way there is no chance of pinching her shoulder and when she gets back into work and you get more muscle tone and less chubb on her you wont have to go through saddle fit all over again..
*Shrug* I use one for my trainers horses..of course I have an old crosby just waiting for my perfect horse *sigh* but until then it's treeless for me.

Renae
Apr. 6, 2010, 08:27 PM
Find a saddle that has a decent amount of "rocker" to the bars of the tree, versus a flat tree. Get the appropriate width, don't go wider than you need otherwise the gullet of the saddle will sit on the horse's spine at the cantle and make a sore. Make sure you are putting the saddle in the correct spot, not too far forward where it would interfere with the shoulders. The Low Back Pad here http://www.nationalbridle.com/english-pads-s/76.htm is pretty standard for low back horses, it slips into the gullet of the sadlde with the flaps on it and stays in place well. Then if needed the fit can be augmented with a Cashel pad depending on exactly what the horse needs, or if the low back pad takes care of it just use a decently padded regular saddle pad with it (again watch the gullet at the cantle, a lot of low backed horses get saddle sores there). Low backed horses can be comfortably ridden for years if you are very diligent about saddle fit, use pads well and adjust the pads as the horse's condition changes.

Leather
Apr. 6, 2010, 08:53 PM
What about one of Hillview Farms saddles?

http://www.american-flex.com/system%20discription.htm

trailpal
Apr. 6, 2010, 11:38 PM
Duett saddles come in a few different styles, I think they are all english trees but some are for dressage and some for trail, ap, etc. They are designed for the very wide-backed horse. Not sure about the degree of sway back, but using some shims/pads while she re-builds muscle would make sense, as Renae suggested.

I have had some good success with the "Little Joe", it's basically a bareback pad but somehow it does not slip (well, it could, but I have had saddles slip too). It uses a regular english girth (or dressage length) and is constructed so that it will support stirrups. Put it over a good pad like an Equipedic or a Skito, and you distribute the weight pretty nicely. http://www.better-horsetack.com/lj/

I once had a really chubby horse to leg up and slim down, and the owner had no saddle that remotely fit, so I rode her in just a regular bareback pad. Between diet and exercise we were able to get her in good shape and lo and behold, her saddle fit again!

Just a few thoughts, good luck and have fun, she looks like a nice mare.

IrishWillow
Apr. 6, 2010, 11:46 PM
Just looked up the Duetts.. those are cool!
And thanks for the suggestion on the "low back" pad...

chicamuxen1
Apr. 7, 2010, 07:04 AM
I would suggest a Skito pad. Well, personally, I'd suggest a Sensation Treeless saddle AND a Skito pad with the bridge inserts. the Sensations have a pretty decent twist to them, super comfy, numerous models and the Skito pads have memory foam inserts which can have thinner bridge shims added to them to fill that dip.

Wintec saddles are notoriously flat treed. A friend who had a dippy backed older Andalusian kept trying Wintecs, with Cair and the horse's back was hurting so badly. I took a couple of treeless saddles over and she ended up buying a Barefoot. Not my prefernce as it's awfully wide and flat seated for the rider but was in her budget.

Sensation makes english model saddles that can be used for showing. and various trail and western models.

I think they are great for trainers as it allows you to have a saddle that you can put on horse after horse without having fit issues. Must be used with an appropriate pad.

Bonnie S.

Noplainjane
Apr. 7, 2010, 07:12 AM
The low back pad someone posted above is great for low/sway backed horses.

cloudy18
Apr. 7, 2010, 03:30 PM
Well, if she's intersted in an Aussie, mine works well on my wide dippy backed 22 yr old Morab mare. Have to get the serge panels. Not the best for working on equitation though.

Auventera Two
Apr. 7, 2010, 03:55 PM
I don't have a swayback horse, but I have a buckskin propane barrel who runs 3 inches downhill. I use a Cashel swayback pad and a treeless saddle (Bob Marshall) for her http://www.cashelcompany.com/ProductDetails.aspx?C=2&SC=107&ProductID=10608#

http://www.hphoofcare.com/M%20(3).jpg

There is not a treed saddle on planet earth that fit that mare. The closest I came was a wide treed Aussie, because they have such a rounded, banana shaped tree and stuffed panels. I have one of those that fits just "ok" for short rides. If you have a hard to fit horse, definitely take chicamuxen's advice and go treeles :) You will save yourself and your horse a boat load of misery, trust me!

mp
Apr. 7, 2010, 05:26 PM
Just looked up the Duetts.. those are cool!
And thanks for the suggestion on the "low back" pad...

I tried a 36 cm Duett for my Arab -- think whiskey barrel, but flat on top. It was wide enough through the gullet, but had too much rock for him, so one might work well for this horse. They're also nice saddles for the money.

You could try here Trumbull Mountain Tack (www.trumbullmtn.com) They have quite a selection of used saddles, including endurance and all-purpose. They're very helpful folks -- if you describe the horse's back or send them a tracing, they can recommend brands that might work. They also have a lenient trial policy.

Good luck.

PRS
Apr. 7, 2010, 05:27 PM
I would suggest a Skito pad. Well, personally, I'd suggest a Sensation Treeless saddle AND a Skito pad with the bridge inserts. the Sensations have a pretty decent twist to them, super comfy, numerous models and the Skito pads have memory foam inserts which can have thinner bridge shims added to them to fill that dip.

Wintec saddles are notoriously flat treed. A friend who had a dippy backed older Andalusian kept trying Wintecs, with Cair and the horse's back was hurting so badly. I took a couple of treeless saddles over and she ended up buying a Barefoot. Not my prefernce as it's awfully wide and flat seated for the rider but was in her budget.

Sensation makes english model saddles that can be used for showing. and various trail and western models.

I think they are great for trainers as it allows you to have a saddle that you can put on horse after horse without having fit issues. Must be used with an appropriate pad.

Bonnie S.

I agree 100% I have one of the Sensation saddles....specifically their G3 Hybrid and love it. It is comfy, secure, stable and beautiful. The thing that sets the Sensation saddles apart from other treeless saddles is that there are absolutely NO hard parts. The whole saddle is soft and squishy yet structured enough the disperse the weight of the rider...in conjuction with a proper treeless saddle pad. I demoed and purchased mine from Melissa at www.freedomtreeless.com

MunchkinsMom
Apr. 7, 2010, 06:05 PM
Looks like perhaps this could help:

http://www.cashelcompany.com/productdetails.aspx?C=2&SC=77&ProductID=10355

SharonA
Apr. 7, 2010, 09:07 PM
Duetts are comfy and well-made, but they are HEAVY and I could not feel my horse at all with a Duett dressage saddle. Absolutely zero communication coming from the horse to my seat. Also, aesthetically, it way overwhelmed a fine-boned 15hh Arab. Would reserve the Duetts for the really beefy beasts (just my opinion). With a beefy or big-moving horse, you might be able to feel something through the saddle.

katarine
Apr. 7, 2010, 10:22 PM
I had pie and ice cream moments ago, but that's not really relevant....

National Bridle has some low back pads, and Dave Genadek at About the Horse sells shims and shim pads. She can certainly wear a treed saddle- riding a treeless on her is going to truly sink your weight into the bottom of her already low back, I can't agree with that approach.

mp
Apr. 8, 2010, 11:26 AM
riding a treeless on her is going to truly sink your weight into the bottom of her already low back, I can't agree with that approach.

For a low-backed horse, it didn't make a whole lot sense to me either. I'm not bashing treeless saddles -- I've ridden my trainer's Ansur and liked it. And if it's the best solution for horse and rider, fine.

But I think some people go treeless because it's just easier than getting a treed saddle for a hard-to-fit horse.

mzm farm
Apr. 8, 2010, 11:52 AM
My swaybacked critter does best in a Thoroughgood?sp saddle, he is pretty dippy in the back and has a lot of shoulder movement. I actually take the front billet over the front of the saddle and use a County Logic girth. With this combo he does not get girth rubs, the saddle is very secure front/back/sideways without an overtight girth. He has been trail ridden (about 50miles over a weekend, I was tired, he thought it was great :)and also does dressage at the FEI level. The saddle is LOW maintenance, inexpensive.

Previously he went in a Karl Niedersuss and did well with it too. I just could not get rid of the girth rubs, but I also did not know about the County Logic girth then.

Even though the set up sounds awkward, it really works (for him and me at least) and looks normal.
You can see for yourself in his clip here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmC4_EcnWBY

BigHorseLittleHorse
Apr. 8, 2010, 12:28 PM
I also ride in a Thorowgood (the endurance model) -- I use a thinline half pad over a square cotton pad and put thinline bridging shims on top of the half pad. The adjustable gullet gives great wither clearance, and the movable billets allow you to customize girth placement so the saddle doesn't slide around.

PRS
Apr. 8, 2010, 01:25 PM
For a low-backed horse, it didn't make a whole lot sense to me either. I'm not bashing treeless saddles -- I've ridden my trainer's Ansur and liked it. And if it's the best solution for horse and rider, fine.

But I think some people go treeless because it's just easier than getting a treed saddle for a hard-to-fit horse.

And some of us go treeless because we feel it is better for our horses. The horses have more freedom of movement and closer communication between rider and horse. Not saying it is the right choice for everybody but it works for me. :cool:

Edited to add: And treeless is often the best choice for a hard to fit horse..whether that translates to easiest is up for debate. I belong to a group full of people who ended up in treeless saddles because they had tried multiple saddles in attempts to get a good fit, spending thousands of dollars in the process. Most people don't have unlimited funds to buy so many saddles. Even free demos can get expensive when you have to pay shipping 2x.

katarine
Apr. 8, 2010, 01:34 PM
And some of us ride in saddles with trees because we feel it is better for our horses. The horses have more adequate weight distribution of their burden, and clear, consistent communication between rider and horse. Not saying it is the right choice for everybody but it works for me.

mp
Apr. 9, 2010, 10:33 AM
I belong to a group full of people who ended up in treeless saddles because they had tried multiple saddles in attempts to get a good fit, spending thousands of dollars in the process. Most people don't have unlimited funds to buy so many saddles.

OK, I'll be more specific. I have seen people doing long rides in treeless saddles whose horses, IMO, would have been better off in a treed saddle. These were heavy riders and a well-fitting treed saddle would disperse their weight better. Treeless would have been fine for a short ride, but not so much for long ones. Again, JMO.

PRS
Apr. 13, 2010, 02:29 PM
OK, I'll be more specific. I have seen people doing long rides in treeless saddles whose horses, IMO, would have been better off in a treed saddle. These were heavy riders and a well-fitting treed saddle would disperse their weight better. Treeless would have been fine for a short ride, but not so much for long ones. Again, JMO.

I'll be the first to admit that treeless isn't the best choice for everybody but is a good choice for many people. Many endurance riders have moved to treeless saddles...some of them logging thousands and thousands of miles treeless...If endurance riders are having such good results I have to think that something is working. Endurance (and related sports) is the only equine event that I know of where the horses condition at the end of it is as important as the performance so you know the "right" saddle choice is important. JMO ;)