Taking off Sam's pads today after our lesson, there were matching dry spots below and behind the withers. ): I think as he's muscled out and gotten in shape, he might have outgrown his saddle... I'm assuming that dry spots there mean that the saddle is pinching or too-tight in front?
His current saddle is a Stubben Rex, made for fat ponies. I don't know where I can find a wider saddle than that, but apparently I'm going to have to. Does anyone have recommendations for close-contact saddles that seem to fit QHs well? He's got that tall wither/broad shoulders combination that makes him a pain in the arse to fit...
Lynn Palm Alliance saddles are made just for Quarters, they are wider through the whithers, and very comfy. I'd check them out but thats the only one that I know that is made just for our broad shoulder'd guys, I have the same problem with my paint and I'm working on buying a different saddle for him.
I have the same problem with my appendix (built like a qh) and my pessoa stadium saddle that i bought when i bought the horse. he gained muscle, and now the saddle doesn't fit! i tried all the pessoas i could because i normally like them and they aren't expensive, but the new ones are crap! and none of them fit him, even the wide ones, so I'd say stay away from pessoas!
I had the same problem - I just got a wide dover circuit elite..it fit better than the other QH saddles -it's all trial and error - but I did try some pretty expensive saddles and they didn't fit! Good luck!
I bought an M Toullouse for my QH, and like magic, all the dry spots disappeared! It is also really comfortable to ride in and I am now a fan of them! I purchased one with the upgraded leather and such, and It was still very reasonable.
I got my appendix who has pretty broad shoulders a Prestige Eventing with a 34cm tree. Love it! The ability to have the tree adjusted somewhat by VTO, Dover, or a local Prestige rep is also great in case he continues to muscle out, but that doesn't cure all fit problems of course (I have a friend who moved her Prestige dressage up to a 36cm from a 34cm for her draft x mare but it just never really fit right after she muscled out, but some of that was the horse had changed quite a bit). They are expensive saddles, but I found mine used and that helped a bit.
I can't spend more than a thousand and really $800 or so is pushing the limit... I'd like to find a nice quality used saddle, which is a bit difficult, because my widest selection is usually online and then I have the trouble of reselling if it doesn't fit... I loved my PDN because it was flat and not padded and made me work. My Stubben has a bit more padding, which makes it wonderfully comfortable for me, but I feel like I'm cheating. d;
My other dilemma is that all of my accessories... girth, bridle, and the Gary Mundy leathers I just ordered before the dry spots appeared... are all chestnut, to match the reddish Stubben, so it'd be nice to find something that would match. (Especially the leathers. I am so excited about them.) But that's cosmetic compared to finding something that fits. Maybe I should just take up reining, all the western saddles are built to fit QHs! (:
another thing to consider is, what is your build? I used to feel the same way about my Crosby Hunterdon as you do about your pdn- I loved how it made me really ride and do everything myself and preferred the lack of structure. However, it turned out that the reason I always liked my hunterdon was more related to the fact that the discomfort I felt when in more padded saddles was because my legs are so long the padding was always in the wrong places. So now that I have a saddle that fits me and my horse, we are both very happy, even though it is not the saddle I had first imagined myself in. I also find I ride far better now that I have a saddle that supports me correctly and can still use the skills I learned riding in my old pancake saddle.
Also, I found that saving longer and borrowing saddles that worked until I had the money to get what fit my horse and I has been well worth the trouble of not having a saddle that fit my horse for a few months+. It wasn't fun to always be borrowing saddles, but it gave me an idea of what worked and what didn't without having to pay for trials and it gave me time to get a saddle that was what I really wanted and needed so I don't need a new one in a year or two. (So I should, theoretically, save money in the long run). I also have avery limited budget as a general rule.
dry spots around the wither area don't always mean that the saddle's tree is too narrow. What are his withers like? Are they high? Does he have a bit of a sunken shoulder? Does he have a very round back (hardly any wither)? What are the muscles like in that area? Do you use any special saddle pads? It may be as simple as getting the flocking arranged in one of your current saddles which can cost less than $100 depending on where a saddle fitter travels from.
Hunters should be galloping - George Morris
If I'm not mistaken the Crosby - Lynn Palm editions are made for QH types. You can usually find them for around $350-650 used. Most I've seen have plain flaps though.
I just sold and Ainsley Leciester that fit every QH I ever sat it on. (TBs, not so much.) They can be hard to find but they are beautiful saddles and I have seen some used for around $400.
Next time he's at Chrissy's (or is he there now?) see if she will let you try some of the saddles in her tack room. Just keep tossing stuff on him so you can see how different things fit. Bit-n-Blanket in Elma usually has 15-20 new and used saddles available also.
We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.