I have a small Andalusian that has very low withers, is slightly croup-high, and takes a wide tree. As far as I know the saddle does not cause any discomfort, but it does tend to slip forward as we ride. According to the saddle fitter (was reflocked) the saddle fits her very well. However, this problem is still occurring. Obviously, if the case is that I need a new saddle so be it, but I was hoping someone would have some tips when it comes to dealing with a horse with tricky conformation such as hers. Thanks in advance!
p.s. I do ride her with a Mattes half pad.
It could be the half pad which will narrow the saddle's fit. A half pad should only be used with a saddle that is too wide for the horse, or so I've been told by master saddlers.
Have you ridden the saddle without the half pad? Did your saddle view the saddle with the halfpad?
I had this problem with a saddle on my Andi. It was a Bates and the gullet was too wide. The saddle was also too long for the horse which pushed the saddle forward and onto his shoulders. So check that the saddle isn't too long.
There is also the possibility that the tree isn't the proper shape (V vs. U shape).
If your saddler can't fix the problem, I'd look for a new saddler.
This might be sacrilege for you DQs , but over in jumping and race horse land we use no slip pads, the gels are especially nice and don't change the fit. Don't bite my head off for suggesting that, it does work for what it is.
Thanks for all the advice! It is possible the half-pad is narrowing the fit of the saddle, so I am going to try to ride without the half-pad and see if the slipping continues, although if I recall, I think the slipping was worse without. I am also going to experiment with some different types of pads to see if it's simply the type of pad I am using. If nothing works, I will have to have the saddle fitter come out again and reassess the situation. I'm definitely open to any and all suggestions; I don't get offended
An alternative might be a Nunn Finer neoprene pad. I have used this pad, cut to the contour of my saddle, to prevent the saddle from moving up the pad on a horse with a similar build as yours. It is fairly cheap and thin and did not change the fit of the saddle. They are great for this purpose.
Working hard to keep the horse moving uphill also helps. Your horse may be croup high but many baroque horses have an ability to really step under with those legs and carry. Try to develop that habit in your horse if you aren't already.
I had a saddle fitter come out recently to help address the same issue and she stressed that I use a no-elastic girth. The elastic is stretching when they breathe in and out, which allows the girth & saddle to slip. The girth should be a hands width away from the elbow and you may feel uncertain about tightening it more than you are used to but that has really helped me. I got a shaped Prestige girth w/o elastic and have not noticed any slipping recently!
A common problem with the wide backed horses is that thier girth pocket is also very far forward. So if you look from the side, is the "dip" where the girth is going to want to sit in line with the billets or is it in front of them? Certain saddles will have a more forward billet position which helps, but you can also get a contoured gurth like this one: http://www.doversaddlery.com/ovation...-02199/cn/100/
that will let the girth sit more forward on the belly without puling the billets forward (and thus the saddle).
A cheap way to help it is to get a foregirth saddle pad. It is just a normal cotton saddle pad with rubber bumpers on the front to keep it from slipping forward. The more expensive way is to get a better fitting saddle. Adding a thicker panel on the front may help this problem if you want to work with your current saddle.
I had this exact same problem with my mare - a very baroque looking WB. The Barnsby Grip Pad worked very well as a temporary fix. After trying many, many saddles, we ended up getting the Steffan Peters Advantage by Custom Saddlery - no slipping, and my VERY picky mare loves it.
We did try various foregirth options, but nothing worked.
BTW, my mare is very uphill in her movement and really reaches under herself - her big shoulder movement just made things worse.