I'm thinking about using the winter to get my horse used to a crupper, but I'm wondering if my saddle has the correct ring to attach it.
I have a Thorowgood (synthetic) endurance saddle, which has 3 D-rings sewn on the back - one on each side for a pack and one at the center back. I'm thinking it's maybe not safe to use the sewn-on D-ring to attach the crupper? That I should have something attached directly to the tree? But then I look at descriptions of western saddles and see lots of sewn-on rings referred to as "crupper dees." Could the sewn-on rings break? Or since my saddle is synthetic and not leather, am I worrying about nothing?
I know I could also get one of those T-shaped attachments and shove it up the gullet, but they're such a PITA...
You can get a V-shaped crupper and attach it to the D-rings on either side at the back of your saddle. This way you distribute the stress more and it's unlikely you'll pull out a ring.
Or you can get a regular crupper and attach it to the D-ring in the center. If indeed your saddle moves so far forward as to put a lot of strain on that D-ring or even rip it out, you really need to check your saddle fit. (At this point, your horse may have told you his/her opinion about cruppers already ;))
Ideally, the saddle should not come forward very much, if at all, when you're going downhill. But depending on your horse's shape, you may indeed need a crupper if you're doing lots of hill work. I don't use one but my training partner does and it took her a while to rig it up so it didn't rub or bother her horse. Now it works well for them but in general, less is more, especially when you're doing many miles.
Here's a link to some good tack: http://www.hought.com/endcrup.html
My saddle does not slide forward very much, but my horse is so darn sensitive that he gets pressure points if it moves even a little bit. He has high withers, a slight swayback, AND a pronounced, forward girth groove, so saddle fitting has been a challenge, to say the least. The saddle has been professionally fitted, and when it's in the right place fits him perfectly. I'm using a non-slip pad and a montana cincha all-mohair endurance girth (with the roper-style wide part underneath). Before I started using them, the girth would pull my saddle forward just a little bit, an inch or less, and put pressure on his withers.
The pad and girth work perfectly for the rolling hunt country I usually ride on. The problem is that I want to do some mountainous rides next year, and I'm worried that my current solutions aren't going to be enough for steeper downhills.
I've used one over the years, for 15 years when I did CTR and now I'm doing some eventing and my mare is really downhill.
Why is the T attachment a PIA? They slide right in or should. With a T you don't have to ever worry about it popping out. I also used some sheep skin wool cover for my first horse, but if it fits you really don't need it.