I just got my OTTB a month ago and now that he has been in work and started to muscle up, my OLD OLD OLD Butet does not fit him. I noticed it after I had 1 great week of rides then the next week he was tense and fast (which he has NEVER been since i got him). I watched him on the longe (in the offending saddle) and he seemed ok. But once i got on him, he seemed tense and uncomfortable. Got off, checked saddle and yep, seemed to be pinching him.
He has a HUGE shoulder and it slopes so much more than I am used to in the WBs I usually ride. The top of he shoulder blade actually sits under the saddle (and no, the saddle isn't too far forward!) I've taken to riding him in my friend's dressage saddle, which makes him SO much more comfortable (and he MOVES EVEN BETTER in it!) I have a call in to a saddle fitter but was wondering if anyone else had trouble fitting a saddle to your OTTB and if you did, what saddle did you finally get to fit?
Last edited by myalter1; Nov. 24, 2010 at 02:10 PM.
Saddle fitter recommended an Equipe Expression for my OTTB. Mine had the last thing from a "Hunter" build though, and he ran for a lot longer than most.
The saddle fitter noted that the Expression accomodated the high wither and slight dip behind it that my guy demonstrated, and while being available in the Medium (fit more like medium-narrow) tree it didn't pinch his shoulder and kept him moving fairly freely. We had to stay away from a lot of the really popular brands (she REALLY wanted to sell me an Antares) because they were just too flat and crunched in front if the gullet was narrow enough.
The saddle also fit me quite well, at 5'10" (more leg than body)
Regarding fit, I now have a young 16.3hh warmblood, and this saddle is too wide in the shoulder and falls forward on him without a riser, but we feel that's temporary as we build his topline muscle.
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I LOVE my old butet and am sad that it doesn't fit him. I rode (a different horse) in my friend's CWD. (YUK, i HATED it!) Luckily, my husband is great (he loves my OTTB) and says buy whatever saddle fits him! He doesn't have a HUGE wither, but his shoulder is amazingly big. I didn't notice it a month and 1/2 ago, but now he has been in consistent work and is losing his racing build...he's getting HUGE (all over!) I am getting used to riding in the dressage saddle...but it's just not my thing! LOL
My 2 OTTBs are built about as opposite as you can get so... I don't think it's so much about a saddle for an OTTB as it is for your horse with "x" conformation.
My HDR fit the little one well for a long time. Now he goes in my old Beval Stanford, which isn't a perfect fit but he's also semi-retired, only lightweight people with good balance can ride him, and I use a wool half-pad to help with fit/comfort. If I had someone who wanted to ride him more than once or twice a week, though, I'd invest in a better-fitting saddle if they didn't have their own/it didnt' fit well.
When I bought my big guy, I also bought the Beval because it fit. As he grew, it didn't fit. So now he's in a Black Country Wexford. And we are both vurry happee with it
I just joined COTH recently and haven't posted much, but I feel your pain. My OTTB has been giving me little signs over the past few weeks that she's not totally comfortable and so I had my saddle fitter out this weekend. My saddle fits so poorly I'm not allowed to ride her in it! It's got foam panels, so my two options were a) pay $300 to get it flocked with wool or b) get rid of it! It's a Toulouse Premia so not really a saddle I want to pump another $300 into, so I am on the hunt for something different. My saddle fitter advised me to look at the older Pessoa's, the ones made in England and France. He said wider panels are best because the issue with the Toulouse was that the panels were only making contact with my mares back on the bottom edges of them. The reason this issue didn't show up until recently was that she has just started really building up her topline. When I got her she was very thin and had zero muscle, so the narrower panels didn't bother her. The tree (medium) is fine but that's about it. The saddle fitter I used is a Duett dealer so of course recommended one of those, but only had new ones on his truck that were out of my price range. I could see the difference in the build between the one he showed me and my Toulouse, though. The Toulouse has a narrower channel between the two panels, and the panels themselves are small. The Duett had a nice wide channel and the panels were a good 2-3 inches wider than the Toulouse's.
When I got my current OTTB, one of the first things I did was have a saddle fitter come out and fit him - I told her I wanted something cheap that would fit him while we got to know eachother and he got in riding shape (since his fit might be different then). I plan on getting a nicer saddle when he's in shape, but she found me a $300 saddle that fits for now - which was the most important thing. Not much to look at, but it will do for a bit!
My OTTB "problem child" came to me as a confirmed bucker with back issues. The root of his problems was a poorly fitting Butet. He's now totally fine.
Mine goes well in a Delgrange PJ and a Smith Worthington. The Butet pinched the crap out of him and made him miserable. I had a Crosby that looked OK from the outside but still bothered him. But YMMV -- each back is different. Buy used and do a trial period from somewhere like Middeburg Tack Exchange that will give you a week or two to test it out and see what he thinks. That's where I bought my PJ and I needed the time to see if it would work before plunking down serious $$, much more than the horse cost.
Fordtraktor...i've had my Butet for many years now, and many people have told me they have caused back problems. I've been lucky (until now.) My biggest concern is that my guy is still young (6), still sort of race fit (not fat and huntery like i hope to get him) and what IF i try a saddle, it fits now, but in a year or two it doesn't (ugh.) resale will not be what i paid for it, and my Butet isn't worth that much (it's old!) So, i don't want to plunk down several thousand on a saddle only to have to replace it in a year or two b/c my poor guy's confirmation has changed...
I will see what the saddle fitter says. glad to have all of these feedback though...
I ended up with a Bruno Delgrange for my OTTB (off the track MANY years before I bought him, though).
Most stock saddles don't fit ME, even if I could find one to fit the horse. I tried Pessoas, Antares, CWD, Tad Coffin on him (although for Antares and CWD it was only models we had available in the barn, not a full fitting).
The Tad came closest to being what I wanted (flat seat, not overly padded, smaller knee rolls, etc). It was too wide for the horse, though.
The Bruno Delgrange is just lovely. It fits horse very well and it's pretty perfect for me. My barnmates are getting tired of hearing me say how much I love it. I've only had it since June, but if I can swing it, I will never ride in anything but a Delgrange again.
Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"
It doesn't matter what brand the saddle is. It depends on how it fits the horse. The best saddle is the one that fits.
Can this saddle be girthed up with the front 2 billets?
The saddle should not be sitting on the shoulder blades at all. The points of the tree should be behind the shoulder blades.
Try out several saddles until you find the right one that fits you and the horse. A good saddle fitter should be able to help you find the right saddle.
Most of the problems I have found with horses have been bad fitting saddles.
Once they get a saddle that fits well they feel better and the problems cease.
I've had 2 thoroughbreds with those huge TB shoulders - especially my current one who has been a nightmare to fit! I think a saddle fitter is a great idea, but here is some that worked for me.
The BdH from Dover - I bought one about 3 years ago and I still love it for my current OTTB. It fits him like it was made for him.
The Beval Stamford worked - I wasn't crazy about the leather quality, but for its price range, it was a decent saddle and fit my TB well.
Old school Crosby saddles fit my big shoulder TBs. The PDN and Hunterdon are what I had.
I have heard a lot of good things about Ashland saddles fitting TBs well. That was going to be my next trial, but I found the BdH first. You can usually find them used or on Ebay for a good deal (as cheap as $400). I think they are about $1000 - $1200 new.
I have a County Innovation on my OTTB (big massive shoulder and prominent withers) that has been great since it's been flocked to his shape at each stage of his progression (and his shape has changed A LOT from when he got the saddle while we were playing around the 3' jumpers to the point of going consistently in the 1.40m jumpers). I rode him in my old Clinton Northrup when he was still "just another prospect" to sell, and that also fit him well with a saddleright pad underneath. But my Innovation is hands down the best fit and nicest saddle I own. It also keeps me in a good position over the big jumps (which feel even bigger when he opts to jump the odd fence with minimal bend-age of his legs).
My County Stabilizer also fits him well (which kind of goes without saying since it's the same brand and close to the same shape as the Innovation). My Courbette Stylists saddles didn't fit him well (too narrow through the gullet despite being the correct tree width), my Devoucoux Biarritz didn't fit at all (too "banana" shaped), and the other Devoucoux (can't recall the name off hand....maybe Socoa? Definitely less banana-tree shaped than my Biarritz) also didn't fit him at all. But all of that isn't saying much beyond the fact that those saddles didn't fit my uniquely put together horse. I've seen horses that look completely different require the same fit (my sausage shaped WB mare and my OTTB use the exact same saddle/tree shape while my other TB who looks the same as my OTTB requires a completely different saddle).
I'm surprised you haven't gotten more suggestions for County and Antares......those seem to be the saddles most frequently recommended on this board. Do a search on either and you should pull up a lot of relevant threads.
I had a lot of trial and error saddle shopping with my OTTB over the summer. I originally started with him in a Bates Elevation, then he muscled into my old as dirt (and much beloved) Crosby Softride, and now he's muscled into a Stubben. I think my model is a Siegfried VSSG (or at least that's what it looks like on the flap). My guy has big shoulders (measured a wide in the Bates and that's with 18 months of doing nothing) but a relatively flat back and long wither. I knew it was bad when the chiro commented on what a weird shape his back was.
I agree with the poster who said it isn't an OTTB thing, it is a conformation thing.
My last two OTTBs went in my Prestige Meredith. The reason I got the Prestige Meredith was because I could order a flap configuration for me (x, xlong; x-forward) and the tree was adjustable. I have now had it adjusted 2x (recommend VTO Saddlery) to go wider.
The saddle was perfect on one, ok on the second (a bit big, but good with a fleece half-pad) and now (made wide) works on my non-TB horse as well.
Would it be the saddle I would have bought if I knew I had my forever horse? No, because I prefer wool flocking for one thing. However, it has worked well for me on a variety of different animals.