I measured my horse with the "gullet measurer" from Wintec (I have a Pro Dressage). He was last measured and fit in November when the saddle fitter came out. The current gullet is the green - medium narrow. I was also using a Mattes correction pad over my regular pad to fill in for deep dips behind withers and lack of topline.
I followed instructions to a "T" and was completely SHOCKED to see he is now right between wide and extra wide! I did it several times, and even if I move the tool up or back 1/2 inch or so, it's still truly on extra wide, bordering wide. I have noticed in the last month since moving barns (better feed, grass, hay - alfalfa specifically) that he has gained and filled out and I'm sure he gained in spring at the old place some...but wowee! His back is definitely broader and flatter.
My question is, can a horse "outgrow" or not even fit a Wintec at some point? I am looking for a new saddle anyway but gosh, I feel bad that this gullet may be pinching and making pressure points. I rode today (before it got too hot, and before I measured/switched gullets) and noticed on my saddle pad, that the really dark, wet, sweaty area was the front sides of the saddle (where gullet is).
That gullet guage can be tricky to use accurately. You might just set the gullet plate itself on his back in about the same position it is in the saddle, and see how well the branches of the plate parallel the sides of his back. You might have a little peak at the top that doesn't touch his back, but I get the best fit if the branches of the plate lie flat along his back, or perhaps just a teensy bit tight.
Honestly, I don't know how any horse could really use the green or yellow plates. Even my semi-rescue was at his worst a medium (black). Though I suppose some TBs, maybe recently off the track and young, might be pretty narrow.
On the other end, my big QH gelding has shoulders almost too wide for even a full QH bar western saddle, and he works well in the extra-wide (white) plate (he's actually wider than my 17.2h TB/Percheron was). So, unless your horse was in very poor condition when first fitted, I doubt he'll outgrow your Wintec, although it is possible that the Wintec won't fit as well for him at one extreme as it did at the other (in other words, if it fits well when narrow, its possible it may not fit as well when wide).
(ETA--it is certainly possible for a horse to be too wide for a Wintec, but I doubt one that comfortably wore a green or yellow at any point in its life, unless starved, will outgrow the whole set unless it becomes grossly obese)
Last edited by monstrpony; Aug. 14, 2009 at 02:25 PM.
"One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine
I have a QH/Paint mare. Wintecs - even with the extra wide gullet plate - sat perched on her. She has mutton withers and a broad, flat back. So, yes, I suppose a horse can outgrow a Wintec. I certainly could never get one to fit my mare.
When he was fitted for the green (by very good saddle fitter), he definitely lacked topline and muscle. He had a sloped back, deep dips behind withers. Soon after, we started having vague lameness issues - I lost some riding time, and low and behold, tried having him shod in March 09 and he FINALLY started moving correctly and the lameness went away (still has partially locking stifle but works itself out with lots of exercise). I also believe his feet issues made his hock arthritis worse (very thin soles, making him stride incorrectly and short...) To give you an idea of what his back was like, I used to try to ride bareback but couldn't - his spine jutted up and it was very uncomfortable for me, and it had to be uncomfy for him too. So although he didn't look like a rescue - he definitely could have used more weight and muscle, but ribs could not be seen or felt unless you really pressed. He was definitely lacking muscle in hind, tail dock area, shoulders and back.
After he was shod, life improved and we started riding and trail riding alot more. He was a very happy boy, but still at "old" barn with big herd, poor and hard footing in ring, not so great hay or grass both quantity and quality. I now believe his 'hard keeper' issues were due to our old barn situation more than a condition of his. Now that he is getting ample hay (it's kept full in his stall, etc), has grass vs. mostly tall weeds(!), I'm not surprised he is gaining.
I moved him a month ago to this wonderful, smaller private barn. Huge improvement in his quality of life - he's out with 1 other horse, not getting pushed around. Less stress. Wonderful grass, great quality alfalfa hay, and nice trails immediately behind property. We end every ride with at least a 15 min. hack on the trails, started walking/trotting a nice hill and I changed instructors a few months ago and believe my riding position has helped him.
His spine no longer juts out - his back is flattening and broadening and although I haven't weight-taped him, I believe the alfalfa and great grass is agreeing with him. His girth is noticeably tight on less holes. New barn owner and I have noticed him gaining nicely.
So I do think he was definitely a med. narrow gullet and isn't anymore! I am very happy about his condition and muscle.
Hope that explains a bit why he has probably changed so much.