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jlc102482
Oct. 15, 2010, 10:16 AM
I am currently languishing in saddle fitting hell, and am hoping someone can offer some advice. Let me start out by saying that I sadly do not have the cash for a custom saddle, nor am I going to be able to afford anything much over, say, $700 or $800.

The unfittable-thus-far horse in question is my 14.3 hh, 1100 lb Quarter Horse. She's stocky, but not overly so:

http://images2e.snapfish.com/232323232%7Ffp53832%3Enu%3D3364%3E633%3E96%3B%3EWS NRCG%3D34%3C5336%3B45336nu0mrj

Saddles never seem to fit her shoulder area. It seems like her anatomy just can't accommodate the saddle's panels having much padding in that area. Right now I have her in an adjustable gullet Wintec (wide gullet) and while it's usable, it is still too snug in the shoulder area. The saddle seems to fit okay everywhere else.

I don't know if these photos will help at all, but just in case...
Here's her back:

http://images5a.snapfish.com/232323232%7Ffp63386%3Enu%3D3364%3E633%3E96%3B%3EWS NRCG%3D3562827635336nu0mrj

Here's my best attempt at trying to show her shoulder/back area:

http://images5a.snapfish.com/232323232%7Ffp633%3B2%3Enu%3D3364%3E633%3E96%3B%3E WSNRCG%3D3562827634336nu0mrj

She doesn't look like she'd be particularly hard to fit, but she is. :no:

Does anyone have any recommendations for a saddle that might fit a horse built like this? I would prefer a dressage saddle but at this point, ANY English saddle that fits properly sounds good to me!

AnotherRound
Oct. 15, 2010, 10:19 AM
Oh, man, I don't have recommendation, but I can't wait to follow this thread. I am having the same problem with my horse, shoulder wise and haven't come across anyone else with the problem! Mine is not a QH, but a TB/Hanovarian cross gotta go, back later.

jlc102482
Oct. 15, 2010, 10:24 AM
Well, it's nice to know I'm not alone! :lol:

GilbertsCreeksideAcres
Oct. 15, 2010, 11:14 AM
I'm crazy about my Thornhill Berlin. I got it in XW for my draft X and it's the first one that gives her enough room in the shoulders.

The Duett was close, too, so worth looking at.

AKB
Oct. 15, 2010, 11:17 AM
County makes nice saddles for wide horses. Try to find one used.

alibi_18
Oct. 15, 2010, 11:26 AM
Hum...

First; have a fitter do tracing of your horse. That doesn't cost much.
And make yourself copies in cardboard. You should get 3 forms out of your tracing. You'll be able to take those to tack shops and see what could match. You can also have a little chat with the fitter see what he/she think about what you should get...and if ever he/she would know someone who has something you could try...fitters go to a lot of places and knows about saddles (usually!)

Second: Check for used leather saddle only. At the money you wanna spend, I don't think you can get a good new saddle...sorry but I'm quite agaisn't the 'cheap all included package deal indian leather' saddle.

Third: Good luck! :D

jlc102482
Oct. 15, 2010, 11:28 AM
How is the twist on your Thornhill, Gilberts? I'm a fan of narrow, but I'm wondering if narrow twists are even possible on a xwide saddle!

GilbertsCreeksideAcres
Oct. 15, 2010, 11:52 AM
How is the twist on your Thornhill, Gilberts? I'm a fan of narrow, but I'm wondering if narrow twists are even possible on a xwide saddle!

It felt a little wide under me the first couple of rides, but about 15 rides and a hunter pace later, I love it!

It fits my mare better than the Countys that I tried and also better than the XW Duett (but many people love the Duetts and I loved riding in it -- just pinched her back behind the shoulder). It is an inexpensive saddle, which is the icing on the cake, because it definitely gives us both a great experience.

Spyder
Oct. 15, 2010, 12:00 PM
How is the twist on your Thornhill, Gilberts? I'm a fan of narrow, but I'm wondering if narrow twists are even possible on a xwide saddle!

I tried the Wintec Wide GP saddle and it fit my Friesians (XXW) but I sold it because the twist was too narrow. The gullets go from XXW to fit-your-dining-room-table wide.

jlc102482
Oct. 15, 2010, 12:24 PM
Spyder, how did you like the CAIR panels on your Wintec Wide? I know some people love them and some people hate them. I have them on my current Wintec and I'm not sure how I feel about them. It's hard to form an opinion on them since the saddle they're on doesn't fit right in the first place. ;)

AnotherRound
Oct. 15, 2010, 12:33 PM
I too love a narrow twist.

When looking at your boy's pics, he reminded me of something a saddle fitter said to me about my horse - his muscle (forget the name, might be trapezius) is really far back behind the shoulder - you can see it a bit right where the flap of a hunt seat saddle would lie. Then, his trapezius ties in low onto his wither. Like mine; it makes for a bit (or a lot) of a "shark fin" wither.

Because of this, there is a hollow just over his scapula, and a saddle has to be built up to sit well above his wither. Yet, the panels cannot be so wide as to reach OVER this hollow, so as to accomodate the width of the lower shoulder. The panels just beneath the pommell must be built up to keep the saddle from falling onto his back/wither.

Then, the front of the 'flap' must come back, or, say, straight down, so as not to sit on top of his shoulder muscle, right there about where your knee might be.

Its tricky, and one thing I found, as my horse has these same features, is that a saddle either must not have (don't know what it is called, but part of a panel, I think) the front, banang, wing piece running along the front of the flap, which you might notice in some saddles can be really looong, and in others, really short. Either he needs that panel part to be short, and not come down over his shoulder muscles which sit so far back, or, and this might be the answer, he needs a monoflap type of saddle. These have a different sort of padding, and I haven't quite yet investigated the difference, but you have to watch that a saddle's panel does not reach forward over his shoulder muscles.

Also, he might not need as wide a saddle asyou are thinking. If the saddle sits back far enough to keep from pinching his long shoulder, it might not need to be wide.

I would suggest trying some medium saddles, but here is the key:

Make sure you are not putting the saddle too far forward. You might really need to put his saddle further back. I know I was putting my saddles too far forward, having come from hunter/jumper, where we rode up on the horse's shoulders, unwittingly.

Hope this helps. I think if you are needing such a wide saddle (as a wide or xtra wide) you are putting yoru saddle too far forward on him.

Look for straighter flaps.

Look for padding up near the pommel, which is less or not much at all, as it drops down along the front of the flap.

Make sure the padding is enough to keep the saddle up in front, off his wither.

The tree might need to be medium to accomodate his wither and shoulder. I don't know, though, a saddle fitter can tell you.

Talk to several different saddle fitters. Listen, and spend time re-evaluating waht they say for your self.

You'll figure it out soon, then you will need to find out what saddles will do what you want one to do.

I still don't know, yet, except to have one made, and I dont' have that kind of bucks, either.

Just don't automatically go for "wide". That's NOT the answer to your guy's anatomical issues with his shoulder.

Catmando
Oct. 15, 2010, 12:44 PM
You might try a Duett...maybe in a 34cm.

AnotherRound
Oct. 15, 2010, 12:46 PM
Here's a link to a source for Thornhills. From what I've read, I might try a Germania Klasse. http://www.saddlefitter.com/thornhill_dressage.htm

I am not sure I like all that padding, however, its supposed to possibly fit a horse with tall withers?

I dunno.

I am glad someone brought up Thornhills, though, I hear people are pleased, and they sure aren't an arm and a leg.

AnotherRound
Oct. 15, 2010, 12:51 PM
Maybe the Vienna II would be right. I will try to find one to try. OP - what do you think of this saddle?

http://www.saddlefitter.com/vienna_ii.htm

jlc102482
Oct. 15, 2010, 12:53 PM
AnotherRound, that was a lot of great information that I hadn't been previously aware of - thank you! :) I am not sure about saddle placement on my horse - it's been confusing to me. My instructor and my equine chiropractor both insist on the saddle being where I think is a bit far up there. However, when I put it where they tell me to, the billets and girth do end up being vertical and not perpendicular, and go right behind her elbow. When I put the saddle back a bit where I think it's supposed to go, the billets and girth are perpendicular and are several inches away from being vertical and from being right behind the elbow. I defer to my instructor (who is more knowledgeable than I am! ;) ) and ride with it "way up there".

I don't know if this photo is of any use (no flash, weird shadow) but this is where I have been told to put the saddle. This is the saddle I'm currently using - adjustable gullet Wintec with the "wide" plate in.

http://images5a.snapfish.com/232323232%7Ffp6339%3B%3Enu%3D3364%3E633%3E96%3B%3E WSNRCG%3D35628275%3C%3A336nu0mrj

jlc102482
Oct. 15, 2010, 12:54 PM
Maybe the Vienna II would be right. I will try to find one to try. OP - what do you think of this saddle?

http://www.saddlefitter.com/vienna_ii.htm

Oh, MY. I wish there was a drooling smiley face icon.... I love it!

MelanieC
Oct. 15, 2010, 01:03 PM
Tracings are not hard to do yourself. I have been attempting to fit my interestingly-shaped Arab, so I did some and sent them off to various saddleries and have gotten a number of good recommendations. The website that has already been mentioned includes instructions on how to do tracings, as do a number of others (Trumbull Mountain, Pelham, etc.).

http://saddlefitter.com/wither_back_tracings.htm

The instructions vary by source (depending on what the saddler wants to see) but if you take a photo showing where you took the tracings (chalk on horse works well) and measure the distances between them you will be able to use the same set of tracings for a number of different saddlers.

The only "special" piece of equipment you need is a $10 flexible curve from an artists' supply store. I used a manila file folder to do my tracings.

AnotherRound
Oct. 15, 2010, 01:38 PM
Very practical advice, Melanie; I wondered just how to go about using tracings to sort out long distance saddle advice. Thanks.

kris0227
Oct. 15, 2010, 01:39 PM
How is the twist on your Thornhill, Gilberts? I'm a fan of narrow, but I'm wondering if narrow twists are even possible on a xwide saddle!

Look at a Duett Fidelio. I like a narrower twist as well, but my Friesian X has big shoulders. The fidelio fits her like a glove and doesn't feel like I'm riding a barrel. I second the comment on doing tracings though so you can find an appropriate fit.

baymare
Oct. 15, 2010, 01:43 PM
I just got a used Duett Rondo to use in my riding school, which seems to consist almost entirely of "witherless wonders". I own a Wintec Wide which is ok but not great. It is wide enough but I hate the instability of the cair panels.

I had tried a Duett before and it was a near miss. What I discovered on the second try is that I just hadn't been thinking wide enough. The one I bought is a 38, which seems like it should be for percherons, but actually does quite well on two pony-sized qh's and a morab. They definitely run small in seat size-- the 18" I got is more like a 17"-- so maybe that translates into tree size as well, so that a 38 is more like a 34. Whatever. If you get one to fit, they are a very decent little saddle at an extremely reasonable price. I got this very lightly used one from Trumbull Mtn. for $750.

baymare
Oct. 15, 2010, 01:45 PM
One more thing...

To paraphrase our local saddlefitter: If you ride a wide horse, don't expect to ride in a narrow twist saddle.

kris0227
Oct. 15, 2010, 01:50 PM
I just got a used Duett Rondo to use in my riding school, which seems to consist almost entirely of "witherless wonders". I own a Wintec Wide which is ok but not great. It is wide enough but I hate the instability of the cair panels.

I had tried a Duett before and it was a near miss. What I discovered on the second try is that I just hadn't been thinking wide enough. The one I bought is a 38, which seems like it should be for percherons, but actually does quite well on two pony-sized qh's and a morab. They definitely run small in seat size-- the 18" I got is more like a 17"-- so maybe that translates into tree size as well, so that a 38 is more like a 34. Whatever. If you get one to fit, they are a very decent little saddle at an extremely reasonable price. I got this very lightly used one from Trumbull Mtn. for $750.

Actually, when I was measuring my mare to find the approximate tree size, I found the Duett's were true to size on the trees... The Rondo does have a wider twist than the Fidelio, and the Fidelio is built to accomodate higher withered horses. They also have the Encore model. It would probably be best to either talk to TrumbullMtn or the owner of Duett Saddles herself to find one that fits your horse properly and they will all happily accept wither tracings.

goodpony
Oct. 15, 2010, 07:57 PM
I have had success with both Schleese and Devoucoux saddles on my very broad shouldered, wide backed pony.

MidlifeCrisis
Oct. 15, 2010, 08:27 PM
I've got a QH gelding built like that except with less of an indentation below the withers. I sent his wither tracings to Trumbull Mountain and they recommended the Black Country Eloquence. The only question was whether he needed the wither gusset to fill in that pocket behind the shoulders and below the withers. The saddle that they sent me to try fit him like a glove. I had tried a Duett but I couldn't get it to fit as well as the BC. I think the panels were not the correct shape.

Antaeus
Oct. 15, 2010, 09:59 PM
I just got a Duett Fidelio - my horse and I love it! It's an 18' seat, 38 cm. Woodrow is a short, stocky Mustang. His previous saddle was the old style Wintec Pro. I had to widen the xtra-wide gullet with a vise so it would fit him tolerably til I could afford another saddle. TMT recommended the BC Eloquence as the first choice, but even used it was over my budget...

princessfluffybritches
Oct. 15, 2010, 10:42 PM
AnotherRound, that was a lot of great information that I hadn't been previously aware of - thank you! :) I am not sure about saddle placement on my horse - it's been confusing to me. My instructor and my equine chiropractor both insist on the saddle being where I think is a bit far up there. However, when I put it where they tell me to, the billets and girth do end up being vertical and not perpendicular, and go right behind her elbow. When I put the saddle back a bit where I think it's supposed to go, the billets and girth are perpendicular and are several inches away from being vertical and from being right behind the elbow. I defer to my instructor (who is more knowledgeable than I am! ;) ) and ride with it "way up there".

I don't know if this photo is of any use (no flash, weird shadow) but this is where I have been told to put the saddle. This is the saddle I'm currently using - adjustable gullet Wintec with the "wide" plate in.

http://images5a.snapfish.com/232323232%7Ffp6339%3B%3Enu%3D3364%3E633%3E96%3B%3E WSNRCG%3D35628275%3C%3A336nu0mrj


Hi, you are probably more right than they are. I still can't figure out what shoulders have to do with it, since the saddle sits behind the shoulder, and should not interfere. Your horse has a nice pocket behind the shoulder under the withers and that is where your saddle should "sit" itself into the pocket.

My girth has never been totally vertical on any of my horses. I think it has more to do with the withers and how far they come back.
Looking at your horse's confirmation, a wide saddle may be too wide. Your best bet is going by a tracing.

AnotherRound
Oct. 16, 2010, 10:38 AM
AnotherRound, that was a lot of great information that I hadn't been previously aware of - thank you! :) I am not sure about saddle placement on my horse - it's been confusing to me. My instructor and my equine chiropractor both insist on the saddle being where I think is a bit far up there. However, when I put it where they tell me to, the billets and girth do end up being vertical and not perpendicular, and go right behind her elbow. When I put the saddle back a bit where I think it's supposed to go, the billets and girth are perpendicular and are several inches away from being vertical and from being right behind the elbow. I defer to my instructor (who is more knowledgeable than I am! ;) ) and ride with it "way up there".

I don't know if this photo is of any use (no flash, weird shadow) but this is where I have been told to put the saddle. This is the saddle I'm currently using - adjustable gullet Wintec with the "wide" plate in.

http://images5a.snapfish.com/232323232%7Ffp6339%3B%3Enu%3D3364%3E633%3E96%3B%3E WSNRCG%3D35628275%3C%3A336nu0mrj

Yah, well, I would consider that way too far forward. You want the center of your body to be right in the center of his body/balance. Also, that saddle is sitting up on his shoulder. You can't expect a horse to use his shoulders if you're sitting on them.

I would certainly try riding him with the saddle placed correctly before you continue to evaluate saddles. this one might be fine, but any saddle will fit wrong if its that far forward on any horse.

Maybe as you consult with more saddle fitters - ie, have them come out to the barn - you will begin to get the idea of where you should correctly be placing your saddle. His girth SHOULD be several, 4 or maybe more, depending on the saddle, inches from his elbow. take a look at this picture of Gal and Tortilla (http://www.chronofhorse.com/sites/default/files/FreestyleGalTotilas2.1_0.jpg)and really look at where he is sitting on the horse's back, where the saddle is placed on the horse compared to his shoulders, and look at the girth. then look at your photo again. It might help you re-adjust your view of saddle and placement. Also, look at the straightness of the flap on Gal's saddle, then look at the round curving forward flap of yours, and imagine how the two affect the shoulder, and you can get an idea of how a saddle you want on your horse ought to be.

I don't even ride huntseat or close contact saddles that far up on a horse's shoulder, myself. Just my thoughts, dunno about others!

see u at x
Oct. 16, 2010, 11:51 AM
I have a 15h QH who has a much bigger shoulder than I ever thought she would. When I had her dressage saddle fitted to her, she fit just fine in a Sommer Magnus, 31.5cm tree. But over the last couple of years, her body has changed. For a long time, I barely rode in her dressage saddle and mostly rode in a close contact since I was showing at hunter shows. When I started up dressage lessons again in June, her dressage saddle didn't fit! So now, she goes in a Kieffer Athen Olympic XW tree that my friend bought her for her 16+h draftX mare! It blows my mind that this saddle fits her, but it does. When my friend watched us ride in it, she said she could immediately tell the difference in how well my mare's shoulder was moving. So, now I'm on the hunt for my own Athen Olympic, but at least I have this one to ride in in the interim.

Not sure if it helps any or not, but this is what my mare looked like a year ago, out of shape. She didn't look much different than this when I started her back into full-time dressage work in June and already looks a million times better not quite 4 months later:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs210.snc1/7721_1223256855750_1058848026_698983_7494383_n.jpg

besthorsever
Oct. 17, 2010, 02:02 AM
I have a med/wide Theo Sommer Egon von Neindorf that fits my horse with a similiar shaped back. It also worked in combination with the thinline sheepskin pad for another horse with big shoulders and a bit different back. It does allow alot of shoulder freedom. It's a monoflap. Not sure about the twist. Usually around $800 give or take, used...so definitely reasonably priced. If you come across one that you can trial, it might be worth a try.

graustarkian
Oct. 17, 2010, 08:03 AM
I agree with the previous posters who've recommended doing tracings. I discovered my "little" Arabian mare was needing a 36cm saddle when I measured her, and lucked out by finding a used Duett Rondo and Encore. She is sooooo much more comfortable, now, and I am very happy with the quality of both saddles.

lecoeurtriste
Oct. 18, 2010, 06:45 PM
I use an Amerigo Vega dressage monoflap in XW with the short panels on my 17hh, 1200lb, 1/2 percheron, and love it. It completely frees his shoulders, while remaining wide enough across the withers and spine so as not to pinch or perch. I lucked out and found one new that had been special ordered for a tack store client (X-Wide, X-long, 18" seat) who bailed on the payments--yes, I'm a big girl on a big pony!

Good luck on your search!

buck22
Oct. 18, 2010, 07:17 PM
on a budget, look for a crosby in a wide tree, a prix st george would work best imho, and you'll like it too

here is what my mw crosby looked like, awesome saddle for wide shoulders, moderately tall withers, and somewhat curvy backs:

http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c54/buck1173/crosby%20freestyle/3762.jpg

Hampton Bay
Oct. 18, 2010, 08:06 PM
Definitely scoot that saddle back, and if it's still tight, try the XW gullet in it before you decide that one is just too narrow.

What I have found to work best for the horses with huge shoulders is to get a saddle that's a bit too wide according to most people, and then shim the front of it a bit. That extra padding will give the shoulders a bit more freedom in the canter so that they are not hitting the points of the tree.

goodpony
Oct. 18, 2010, 10:58 PM
One more thing...

To paraphrase our local saddlefitter: If you ride a wide horse, don't expect to ride in a narrow twist saddle.

I just received my new Devoucoux Makila (monoflap) in a wide tree this week--I was thrilled to find that the twist in the wide tree was not noticeably different than the medium treed Demo I'd been using. Definitely a super match for both me and my very wide shouldered/broad backed Connemara. Extremely happy to be done saddle shopping!

pharmgirl
Oct. 19, 2010, 09:19 AM
I suggest trying Black Country saddles, but models with the Freedom Tree. I can't remember details (am trying to find a website that explains is), but it's more of a U shape than a V shape and was just the ticket for my 17.2 draft cross with withers and huge shoulders.

You can find some used (Trumbull Mountain is a good site to check, and for info), or go new and fully custom for around $2500 or so (depending on the saddle you get).

My horse was a huge challenge to saddle fit! We would try a wider tree, but sometimes we would not be able to get it wide enough in his shoulders before we would be getting too close to his withers. Or, it would look okay, but after a couple of weeks he would start dropping his back, hollowing out, and get back sore. We finally talked at length with Nikki at Black Country and she suggested the Freedom Tree. Voila!! Now I have saddles that fit and a horse that's not changing shape every couple of weeks b/c of pressure points.

qhfan2
Oct. 19, 2010, 06:27 PM
This interactive guide from Barnsby really helped me fit my horse. I also had my trainer and a saddle fitter's help and ended up with a used Schleese. It took me some time but watching this video really educated me. I hope it helps you.

http://www.barnsbysaddles.com/saddle-fitting-presentation/

MelanieC
Oct. 19, 2010, 07:58 PM
There's also a really good nine-part guide on YouTube with Jochen Schleese. Don't have the URL handy right now but it's easy to find.

Perfect Pony
Oct. 19, 2010, 08:09 PM
One more thing...

To paraphrase our local saddlefitter: If you ride a wide horse, don't expect to ride in a narrow twist saddle.

Your local saddle fitter must not work with any Trilogy saddles then. My Trilogy Verago Elite was an Extra Wide tree, and had the narrowest twist of any saddle I have ever ridden in regardless of the tree size. My mare it was made for had the widest shoulders of just about any horse out there. The saddle is absolute magic.

Unfortunately it is not a saddle for someone on a budget. But for someone like me who needs a very narrow twist but wants a saddle that allows freedom for a horse's shoulders and topline, there really is no other option.

mdischler
Oct. 20, 2010, 11:06 AM
I used to have a very wide horse and I used an XWide County Competitor on him. You should be able to find a used one in your price range.

Skeezix
Oct. 20, 2010, 01:45 PM
Had the same problem with both my paint and my QH. I finally found that Reactor Panel worked best for me.

arabiansrock
Oct. 20, 2010, 03:36 PM
PP
I asked a saddle fitter how trilogy fits a wide horse with a saddle with a narrow twist, and the answer was that they build the seat up so that there is room to carve out the narrow twist. the trilogy is not a close contact style saddle. if you want a close contact type saddle on a wide horse you are stuck with a wide twist. some people are comfortable with the built up feeling and some just aren't. glad you found one that worked for both you and your horse.

Dressagelvr
Oct. 20, 2010, 04:38 PM
www.enlightenedequitation.com

Check out the Vogue Mark II

Perfect Pony
Oct. 20, 2010, 06:22 PM
PP
I asked a saddle fitter how trilogy fits a wide horse with a saddle with a narrow twist, and the answer was that they build the seat up so that there is room to carve out the narrow twist. the trilogy is not a close contact style saddle. if you want a close contact type saddle on a wide horse you are stuck with a wide twist. some people are comfortable with the built up feeling and some just aren't. glad you found one that worked for both you and your horse.

I don't really know what you are talking about with "a built up feeling". The wonderful feeling of having a horse with true freedom through the shoulder and back, along with the ability for me to actually hang my legs down long underneath me and sit correctly, far outweighed some sort of "built up feeling".

I have ridden in at least 10+ different dressage saddle models and I can assure you the most important thing is that the saddle fit both the horse and rider correctly - that "feeling" trumps all others no matter what one thinks their preference is.

arabiansrock
Oct. 20, 2010, 07:16 PM
PP
I am sorry if you interpreted me as being judgemental in some way. I was simply responding to a previous comment in this thread about wide horse saddles always having wide twists, and I just happened tohave spoken to an sms fitter yesterday and asked this very question. I was attempting to quote her response as accurately as possible. she even stated that some manufacturers do exactly as Trilogy does to make a saddle that will suit riders who needs that seat/twist shape but are mounted on wide horses.l

I personally bought a wide horse saddle with a wide twist, much to my trainers chagrin. She much prefers a saddle more of the Trilogy type. like you said both horse and rider must be comfortable.

3s
Oct. 21, 2010, 11:15 AM
One more thing...

To paraphrase our local saddlefitter: If you ride a wide horse, don't expect to ride in a narrow twist saddle.

That's not really true - how the tree is built to accommodate a narrow twist has nothing to do with how wide the gullet is and how much shoulder relief your horse needs in the panel. The twist is what you feel between your thighs, and can actually be extremely narrow for even a very wide horse. If your saddle fitter is telling you that, he/she is obviously not familiar with how saddles are actually made.

3s
Oct. 21, 2010, 11:18 AM
[QUOTE=AnotherRound;5161437]your saddle. His girth SHOULD be several, 4 or maybe more, depending on the saddle, inches from his elbow. QUOTE]

The girth position will be dependent on your saddle's billets and will slide to the narrowest part (under the elbow) just because of physics - which will pull your saddle forward during the motion of the horse. You could try crossing your billets, but if they're in the wrong position to begin with, your saddle will not stay where you put it when the horse is standing still.

wildlifer
Oct. 21, 2010, 12:19 PM
I have a similar build on my Appendix. Check out Black Country and their wither gussets and drop panels. I just got one and it is oh so awesome to have a saddle FINALLY sit on my horse right.

AnotherRound
Oct. 21, 2010, 12:28 PM
Which black county, Wildi? Their website is intriguing.

3s, you are absolutely correct, and I have experienced frustration with billet placement. I think I was trying to address one of the earlier comments the OP made about expecting the girth to sit right behind the elbow. Considering how far forward her saddle was being placed, I thought introducing the idea that the girth on a correctly placed saddle is rarely that far forward and still 'correct' was was my idea.

aktill
Oct. 21, 2010, 11:26 PM
If your back tracing comes out anything like this:
http://www.easphotography.com/Tindur/Tindur%20Back%20Profile%20Dec%2009.jpg

...and you can find a Tudor, then that worked for us.

Horse/pony in question is 14hh, bit shorter in the back, and flat as a table with big shoulders. The wither relief in the front of the saddle looks silly, but the saddle fits poifectly. Paid $900 cdn and the saddle was pretty much immaculate.

http://www.easphotography.com/Tindur/SpottyTindur.jpg
http://www.easphotography.com/Tindur/Tindur_Tudor.jpg

Helen of NC
Oct. 22, 2010, 02:18 PM
I lucked into a used County Connection, in extra-wide, for my 15.1 1/2 h., 1000-pound registered Paint, breeding stock mare--with a very difficult-to-accommodate shoulder. It fits her beautifully, and is very comfortable and balanced for me as well... although if I have my stirrups just one notch too high, my lengthy femur can make my knee stick out the front:

http://pets.webshots.com/photo/2999793810072594291ANLCST

The funny thing is, the twist on this saddle is narrow enough not to make me feel that uncomfortable "split apart" feeling, although the County close-contact or eventing style saddles I tried in extra-wide were far too uncomfortable for me to bear--even though they fit my girl very well. I had to go with an extra-wide Black Country Ricochet close-contact saddle--also used--that fit me and her perfectly. My saddle fitter explained that it's much harder to find an extra-wide close-contact saddle with a comfortable twist than it is to find the same thing in a dressage saddle. And while the extra-wide Black Country Quantum fit me just as well as the Ricochet, it was too tight for her shoulder to move freely. So... even among the same manufacturer's saddles, fit varies considerably with different styles.

I'm very pleased with the quality of both my County and my Black Country saddles; but affording either of them new was out of the question.

Good luck to you! Once again, I was very, very lucky to find what I needed from tack shops in North Carolina--used--and with the help of a really gifted saddle fitter, was able to narrow down the choices. And when you try almost 10 saddles in a row--walk, trot, canter both directions in each--you definitely want someone on the ground to help you assess your horse's movement in each. A good saddle fitter is worth his or her weight in gold!

And just be happy that your dressage horse hasn't suddenly decided--at age 12--that she really, really likes to jump!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3knad5MHRBQ

ms raven
Oct. 22, 2010, 05:49 PM
My mare is a tough fit fairly similar in build to yours. She has forward placed girth grove, very broad/wide wither and prominent shoulder. Most all saddles I tried with her either jump or put pressure on her scapula or pinch her wither.

I had some success with a Passier PS Baum early. Had the girthing system revised from regular to Y-billeting which did help to stop the saddle from slipping forward. Was very happy with that for quite a while.

She eventually outgrew that and we found an older style collegiate that fit fairly well. It was a little too wide in front but functioned okay when balanced. Ultimately we (myself and her chiropractor/vet) determined her wither was just too wide and the bars of the tree contacted her wither too high and pinched. She would tolerate but she would get sore at times.

Now we have another Collegiate (a Jessica model) which would definitely be within your price range. It is a wide tree, very lovely saddle I think! It's been perfect! Never slips forward, has never pinched, did not even need an adjustment from the saddler and the chiropractor has been very happy with the results. If you find one of these, give her a go!

Oh, also I prefer a more narrow twist (if that's what you are looking for) also. I liked and like the fit of all the above saddles for myself also.

LarkspurCO
Oct. 22, 2010, 08:40 PM
That's not really true - how the tree is built to accommodate a narrow twist has nothing to do with how wide the gullet is and how much shoulder relief your horse needs in the panel. The twist is what you feel between your thighs, and can actually be extremely narrow for even a very wide horse. If your saddle fitter is telling you that, he/she is obviously not familiar with how saddles are actually made.

This comment puzzles me and contradicts what at least a dozen saddle fitters and saddle makers have told me (unless you are talking about something other than a wooden tree).

Take a look at these Barnsby trees up close. You can easily see that the wider the gullet plate is, the wider the rails will flare -- it is all one peice of wood. (Rails are connecting the head to the cantle on each side.)

The wider the saddle, the wider the twist. See for yourself:

http://www.barnsby.com/about-us/barnsby-beebee-trees/default.asp