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princessfluffybritches
Dec. 25, 2010, 08:46 AM
I was wondering which saddles had the shoulder or front gussets?
I think they might help one of my horses who's build kindof downhill and needs some elevation in front to balance the saddle.

jn4jenny
Dec. 25, 2010, 10:46 AM
County, Black Country, and Barnsby.

But as I have said on a number of other threads, I honestly think the wither gusset thing is overrated. For MOST horses, you can achieve the same effect with a shimmable correction pad and a pair of scissors to cut the shim to the appropriate shape. That's one helluva lot cheaper than a new saddle.

I also think a lot of people THINK they need wither gussets when in fact they'd be better off with a custom panel. Wither gussets are pretty minor in effect--they are quite literally for a horse who JUST needs the saddle lifted off the wither area to achieve clearance. If you have a horse who also has dips behind the wither or a very large laid-back shoulder, then a custom-cut panel like County's Skid Row panel or Black Country's K Panel or Dropped Panel might suit better. And--surprise surprise--those are panel shapes that you can again simulate pretty well with a shimmable correction pad.

Have I met horses who genuinely needed a custom saddle with wither gussets and a specialty panel, and no amount of shimmable padding was going to achieve the same effect? Yes, of course. But for every one of those I've seen, I've met 10 who could have gotten along fine with the correctional padding. And about half of those horses soon grew out of their need for the correctional padding.

In short, don't go dropping $2K+ for a saddle until you're convinced that a $150 correction pad can't fix your problem.

princessfluffybritches
Dec. 25, 2010, 09:25 PM
Thanks, Jenny.I'm having a problem as the only saddle that fits her so far is an old Hopfner. But it is too small for me.

The problem is that she is built low withers and a bit downhill, and the saddles slide forward. But on the Hopfner, the panel is not gusseted, just thicker, chunkier, and makes up for her back getting higher towards the hip. The other saddles I've tried sit too low in the front, and throw the balance of the seat too far forward.

I'd go with a pad but I don't think it will help. Wouldn't the saddle just slide past the pad?

jn4jenny
Dec. 25, 2010, 09:55 PM
The problem is that she is built low withers and a bit downhill, and the saddles slide forward. But on the Hopfner, the panel is not gusseted, just thicker, chunkier, and makes up for her back getting higher towards the hip.

The Hopfner panel is, for all intents and purposes, what the more expensive brands are calling a Skid Row panel or K panel. Compare it to the Black Country Drop Panel that you see here, and you'll see what I mean:
http://www.trumbullmtn.com/store/new-saddles-3/dressage/black-country/eden-with-k-panel-or-drop-panel/

And here's a County Skid Row panel:
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.trumbullmtn.com/wp-content/uploads/DSCN1099_2275_edited-1-696x1024.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.trumbullmtn.com/store/demo-and-used-saddles/jump-saddles/seat-size-17-5/county-stabilizer-17-5-n/&usg=__Rt4_w6UZJivxXEw7ORYlpK8q9sI=&h=1024&w=696&sz=110&hl=en&start=7&zoom=1&tbnid=XUpL45L_BXOAJM:&tbnh=150&tbnw=102&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dcounty%2Bskid%2Brow%2Bpanel%26um%3D1% 26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Dcom. yahoo:en-US:official%26biw%3D1296%26bih%3D662%26tbs%3Disch: 10%2C1&um=1&itbs=1&biw=1296&bih=662

As for whether such a panel would be the ONLY solution for this particular horse, it's impossible to say without pictures--and especially without seeing how the horse moves. Fitting a downhill horse is all about finding a saddle that won't be pushed forward more than gravity pushes it, then figuring out how to lift up the front enough to keep the whole business on an even keel. On some horses you can absolutely do it with a shimmable correction pad. On other horses who ABSOLUTELY need a panel that is quite deep and quite long--as you see on the Hopfner. The trouble is that without seeing the horse, we're just guessing about whether your horse is an "absolutely must have the specialty panel" horse or a "happens to be fine in the specialty panel but could probably get away with one of the cheaper solutions we're discussing."

Any reason you can't just find another Hopfner? It's always easiest to skin the saddle-fitting cat by sticking with the same brand if it's not objectionable to the rider.


I'd go with a pad but I don't think it will help. Wouldn't the saddle just slide past the pad?

Not if it's the right solution with the right padding and the right saddle with the right tree, etc. Again, it would be impossible to advise without talking about a specific horse's back (i.e. having seen the horse or a LOT of pictures) and a specific saddle. But generally speaking, there's this wonderful thing called "a roll of sheepskin" on the front of a sheepskin pad. It makes it awfully hard for the saddle to slide past the pad. Assuming you had truly created a padding situation where the saddle was sitting even on the back and wasn't being pushed forward unnecessarily by the horse's loins/back, you'd be fine.

princessfluffybritches
Dec. 25, 2010, 10:23 PM
Jenny, you hit the nail on the head! That first link about the K-panel--it sounded like just what my mare is!

I am searching for another Hopfner, in a wide with a 17-17.5 seat. I have one lead, I'm waiting for a reply.

Right now I'm trying a Mansion House, and it seems to be balanced, deepest in the middle. It does creep forward. The rolled sheepskin pad sounds like it would work, since the saddle is high enough in the front. I guess I will be shopping!

I appreciate the info , I never knew what k or drop panels were for. I guess I'm not alone! Thankyou!

jn4jenny
Dec. 25, 2010, 10:56 PM
You might call about this one at Rick's. It is ridiculously overpriced at $1700, to the point that I wonder if someone's finger slipped and they meant to enter $700. Couldn't hurt to ask...
http://www.saddlesource.com/proddetail.asp?prod=CONS00000263

princessfluffybritches
Dec. 25, 2010, 11:31 PM
Thanks, I've looked at it too and thought it was overpriced, maybe a finger did slip, I will inquire!