If a saddle is pitching the rider forward, does that mean it needs to be built up in front or behind?
The front would make sense to me, so the saddle is more level, but someone (who seemingly should know), suggested it should be built up in the back more so the rider leans back, making them actually sit straight?
The saddle looks level, (the seat and depth of seat), when you put it on.
I also argued that it could just be that the rider is leaning forward, but someone else got on and said that yes, it made them feel like they should lean forward slightly, too.
Horse is back in training after a long lay off, so short of having the saddle re-flocked right away, what would you do? Saddle doesn't seem to bother the horse in any way...no dry spots, goes just the same in it as in other saddles.
What about the legs? Does it put the rider in a chair seat position or are the legs being pulled back?
If it gives a chair seat position (and the rider feels the need to tilt is body forward) then you must built up the back of the saddle.
If the legs are being pulled back and the whole body is thrown forward then you need to built up the front.
I would say it is more chair seat, but slight. Thanks for pointing that out.
So, in effect, the rider is fighting the backwards/downwards pull of the back of the saddle by leaning forward? Does that make sense?
I find this whole thing counter-intuitive.
If the saddle is tipping the rider forward, it is probably too wide in front. If the saddle is too narrow in front, it will put the rider behind the motion.
Imagine a pencil being placed on the deep part of the seat. Does it roll forward? or backward?
Be very careful when padding up a saddle that you don't create new pressure points.
Yes, you would pad the front. However, it may just not fit the rider. Adding front padding to a balanced saddle to make it fit the rider may throw off the fit for the horse.
I would also agree with adding a shim to the front(withers), however this will change the whole balance of the saddle and it may just not fit the rider. I just went through that with a student!
You mentioned that the horse has been laid off for a long time, so it is safe to assume that he lost all top line muscles. As he gets back to work, as long as he is worked over his back properly, some of this should build back up naturally and you might be able to remove shims again at that point.
Yes, that's what I was thinking.
It could be that the saddle needs to be lifted in front - it's common for the rider to be pitched forward if the saddle's sitting pommel-low. However, there are other issues that can cause a rider to pitch forward, such as too high a cantle/too small a seat, too narrow a twist or the stirrup bars being set too far back. As joiedevie99 pointed out, arbitrarily shimming the front may throw off fit for the horse. Do you have a local fitter who could come out and take a look?
if the rider has lost weight, they can fall behind the motion and into a chair seat
the saddle is too big for the rider in that case