So i have a old type morgan- heavily built. Not much of a wither to speak of.
We just began our dressage saddle endeavors- and luckily (or so i thought) the new wintec pro trainer dressage on x-wide gullet fit him nicely. Overall the saddle, not just the gullet, is a nice fit for him, and he goes well in it.
however, it is awful for me - to wide of twist. I can deal with it because it fits him so well, but i'm wondering if there are other saddles out there that will go that wide (or potentially wider than the x-wide gullet) with a more narrow twist for the rider?
I know there is only so much I can do because I cannot change his shape- but perhaps there are saddles out there that will offer at least a bit of relief.
I have a morgan too, though I prefer a wider twist myself, I know what you mean. What you need to do is find a tree shape that suits him best. My morgan is wide, well sprung but has withers (albeit meaty). Check out County saddles, they manage to fit the quite wide without having a wide twist to go along with, like albion, duett or black country can.
I am currently having good luck with a Ludomar, has a medium twist, but my boy is now on the verge of out growing it.
eta: meupatdoes gives solid advice about the disparity of a wide horse with a rider that prefers a narrower twist, its not easily accomplished because it essentially requires two vastly different trees, but some do manage to do it, though its often not without its own special drawbacks iirc... there is a blog I read on this very subject, I think its on "advanced saddle fit" very interesting reading... also trumbull mtn has a great blog too worth reading, iirc this subject is also touched.
Because the width of the twist is directly a function of the tree, you can not put a really narrow twist on a wide horse. The tree can not be narrow for you and wide for the horse at the same time.
However, you can find saddles that have less bulk added to the tree in the twist area. Maybe a differently designed skirt flap, etc. That is basically trial and error.
Try giving Trumbull Mountain a call. They specialize in wider saddles and have some with less bulk at the twist. It is a good place with a couple different brands to choose from and knowledgable representatives so at the very least they can get you started.
The only way that it will happen is if you get a custom made saddle from a maker that makes each individual item: seat, panels, headplate and flaps. First Thought Equine in the UK does this. The tree is flexible with every step, and they specialize in saddles with different twists, seats, flaps, and even have a special seat and twist for women.
I had some luck with a Prestige saddle 2000D, that I had a saddle fitter do a total reflock of the panels so they were very soft. That improved the saddle fit tremendously and with the greater surface area contact with my horses's back the saddle had much less tendency to slip forward. I liked the Prestige because I really felt like I could get and keep my legs on my widebody girl. I think that County does a good job as well, but my personal experience was that the twists were too wide.
I have a big appy who is built like a bus, and an extra wide Trilogy Amadeo which fits him well--the twist is moderate, not so narrow I'm sittting on a 2 x 4, but as someone else said, there isn't a bunch of extra stuff under my thigh, so I'm very comfortably situated in it.
I also ride another horse in a wide Schleese with a really wide twist and what feels like a lot of "extra" under my thighs, which absolutely kills my hips.
However, it fits the owner of the horse (and the horse, who is narrower than my horse) beautifully, so it really is a matter of finding something that matches both of your conformations. Something I urge you to do, because it is SO hard to ride well in a saddle that is sufficiently uncomfortable for you that you are aware of it's presence as you ride.
Try an Albion. I have a very wide Mustang so he needs an extra wide and I'm under 5 foot so I need a narrow twist. I got an Albion and I love it!! Puts me in a great position, I can ride comfortably for hours in the saddle. And best yet, they will customize the flap length, etc without charge. Average cost of most of the saddles that I tried were 2,200 to 2,600.
I did try Trumbull Mtn who are wonderful, but actually did alot better when I got one to one with a saddle fitter.
you know, I completely forgot about my ainsley, wide enough to fit my wide morgan but has a fairly narrow twist. Haven't ridden it yet since it bridges on him, so completely forgot about that saddle. Nice saddle.
eta: ooh, forgot completely about tony slatter saddles, I haven't gotten my paws on one yet, but to my knowledge they fit the quite wide and have a fairly narrow twist.
Fits 2 of my horses including my very wide lower withered horse.... who like yours is also comfortable in the wintec pro with Xwide gullet which I have as a spare saddle ...so might be a good one to try.
PS Not all Albions have a narrow twist, but this one does.
The Wintec XW is really not that wide. It's more equivalent to a wide in other brands.
Passier tend to have a narrow twist, and the wide trees still fit wider horses. I would say that the Passier wide fits similarly to the Wintec XW.
Kieffer also tends to be narrow, though it will be hard to find one in anything other than the standard MW. You can have the tree altered, but I've not seen any who have had that done listed for sale. Their MW is not as wide at the Wintec XW.
You might also try the Wintec 500, in the 2009 model. The pommel is a bit higher and narrower than the older Pro or the Isabel. I cannot stand the Isabel especially because the twist is so wide and the pommel so low. The 500 was very comfy to sit in though, and the tree is very different from the previous models.
The wintec wide fits him now- not just the width but the whole saddle. But, he's out of shape- so if we keep up the work, who knows what I will be looking at 6 months from now.
I do have an enlightened equitation hip saver that goes on top of the saddle- which really does help a ton- but they aren't really pretty. Doesn't matter now because i have no plans to compete (in this moment, LOL)- but they are made of memory foam so in the winter they are like bricks of ice until your body warms them up!
The ideal situation is to do my research & trials to get something that is a better match for the both of us.
She most likely has some good information to impart, but her "everyone-else-is-stupid/thoughtless/uneducated/etc.-except-for-me" tone is as offputting as those who believe they are the only "classical riders" out there and everyone else is just clueless or abusive! Not my cup of tea.
Here's a saddler's blog, that has a much less condescending tone, but with deeply insightful information:
I second Trumbull Mtn. Sent them tracings and pics and they sent a few saddles, I found an x wide for my mare that also fit me well .
I came from a Jag which has a narrow twist.
Ended up with a Black Country , Vinici model. What a saddle so comfortable and my mare LOVES it. Being a monoflap, its made a huge difference in how easy I can feel everything under my seat.
All I had to do was sit a saddle on her back, not even girth it up and she would let me know if she liked it. ( pretended to want to bite or drop head and relax) Trumbull Mtn made the saddle fitting/ sale experience the easiest in 3 decades, what a pleasure!
I like my County Competitor on my wide stallion with no withers. The twist is narrower than that on my County Connection which is a medium to fit my gelding. The Connection was giving me fits, so I purchased a Euroriding Titan II for him. Much narrower twist.
Obviously there is no way around it, you have to try a bunch, such an expense in itself! But maybe the mucho dollars i have spent on shipping fees can give someone else one more perspective.
After a year of trialing and renting saddles (Passier, Albion, County, Windsor), I happily settled on a Prestige. Had rented a 2000D, loved it, and then found deal on ebay on a Prestige Genesis in same size. Mare and I are happy. Narrower twist, great leg position for me and quite surprisingly, the 34cm (mw) fits my generous 16h girl just great. LOVELY quality and adjustable tree--the latter being important given my anticipation of her perfectly muscled topline
Balance is the perfect state of still water (Confucius)