View Full Version : Saddle fit technical question

Jun. 4, 2011, 12:25 PM
One more saddle fit thread.......

I am trying to educate myself on the technical aspects of saddle fitting. I *think* I understand the affect of the the gullet width on the spine and where the panels should be on the back. I understand the theory behind bridging and curvy panels vs flat panels.

I just can't figure out the wither and shoulder fit piece. What affects how low the saddle sits on the withers, what affects shoulder movement, and must the girth fall into the heartgirth (the area behind the elbow) in order to be considered a proper fit?

I have a large (17.2) appendix with very prominent withers and a looooong shoulder. I am fed up with saddle fit, and before I start the process again, I want to have a good understanding of the technical bits and pieces. :confused:

Thanks in advance

Jun. 4, 2011, 12:42 PM
I just posted on this topic and posted a video that helps explain how the shoulder moves in relation to the saddle.


Jun. 4, 2011, 09:37 PM
Thanks! The video was informative and answered some questions I had had about my own horse's behaviors.

Now, what I need to know is if gullet width controls the placement of the panels and the clearance of the spine, what is it about the saddle that controls shoulder and wither fit.

Is it the tree or panels in the front?

Jun. 6, 2011, 08:54 AM
what is it about the saddle that controls shoulder and wither fit.

Is it the tree or panels in the front?

It's both. The width of the tree points, and the angle, determine how well or poorly the saddle fits around the shoulders.

Points that start out wider at top and continue along X angle is a different shape than points that start out closer together but end up at the same distance apart at the tips. So for the bigger-shouldered horse, all around, it doesn't matter how wide apart those points end up if the top of them is too narrow, as it won't match the angle of the shoulder.

As for withers, there are multiple factors that go into making a saddle fit them or not. One is the actual rise of the pommel itself, the part of the physical tree. Some are quite flat, some very "cathedral", some in between.

But also, how far up the shoulder panels rise, how much padding there is in them, as well as how much padding there is in the back panels, all serve to translate into height. This is why true close contact saddles typically don't fit higher withered horses - the panels are all designed to put the tree much closer to the horse's body.