My Courbette Arosa with the E-Motion tree fits my OTTB nicely. It's not top of the line, and I hope to upgrade to a nicer saddle one day (poor college student). However, if your horse it still growing, the flexible tree makes life a little easier because you don't have to buy a new saddle! Good luck on your search.
Except, my OTTB has No topline, was thin when we got her, and has been off-the-track for 4-6 years! She failed as a broodmare (issues foaling), only raced twice (won once), and has been in a pasture for a year, losing muscle and weight. Keeping her broodmare belly from the 1 successful foaling (which she almost lost the foal and they almost lost her in, the owner then retired her from that occupation as she had already lost a foal). So, I have an 11 year old bay OTTB mare that is very sweet, has no topline, is gaining weight, but was ridden only once a year or two before I got her. So, after riding her 6 times, 3 of them having been a case of, jump on, realize she was uncomfortable and unhappy (normally not her!), and get off before she tries something stupid (like, oh, throw it in reverse in the middle of a pasture with uneven footing behind her)
I'm just about at the panic mode. I have a random foam pad (not wither relief or riser, I can't explain it, think foam filler type pad) that I got at a tack shop very used for $2 hoping that it would work, that even without any other saddle pad, is too big for her and makes the saddle sit 4" above her back. I also have a half pad, square pad, and countless fleece pads... I have tried every possible combination to get a good fit on her, nada. The only one that seemed to maybe work was (brace yourself, please note I'm desperate to start riding her and building muscle and training) a square pad, with a fleece pad, and then a half pad. and that worked once, a week later (I am confined to riding with my trainer who is very busy, and only has time on the odd weekday and weekends. I don't live in a horsey area so she's my only choice, well that and I'm not filthy rich.) it made the saddle sit high again.
AHH!! I normally wouldn't fret it, and would leave her in the hilly pasture for a few weeks, but I really need to start riding this mare asap, as I am in a critical point in my riding life, and the horse I've been riding is about to have her lease ended, and the only other option is a few older/retired horses that are either green, really bouncy and uncomfortable to ride anyway but bareback, or insane.
So, my question is this: I love my mare, and have had her for about a month, and really need to start riding her regularly soon, however the saddle I have (Bates Elevation DS, I LOVE IT!!! PERFECT SADDLE FOR ME!!!) has an adjustable tree, and I'm going to try a smaller/narrower tree, however she has a nice barrel (not classic slab-sided TB) just no topline, and is very sensitive about her back. the traditional square pad+half pad doesn't work with her, so what do you recommend? I really don't have the $ for a new saddle, and I love mine, as I am a hard to fit rider, as my hip-to-knee length is very long (which leads to its own difficulties such as I have issues with my heels if the horse doesn't have a nice barrel), and I really love it. So, what do you recommend as far as saddle pads/correctional pads?
I am having the vet look at her back, and may have the chiropractor out as I've noticed her hips are a bit out, and I'm probably having her teeth floated, as she just needs the basic vet costs. you know, you get a horse that was a pasture pet, and you have to update on basically all of the below:
Chiropractor if they've had anything knock their back out.
That seems to be my luck.... anyway... recommendations anyone??
So sorry for the essay above! Her story is a lot longer, trust me.
~Buy an OTTB, Save a Life, Gain a Forever Bond.~
Let's say NO to Kill Buyers
There are several specific panel modifications that can help deal with Tb conformation ... depending on what the issues are, of course! If your horse has a big wither and/or hollows behind it, a trapezius or K/"skidrow" panel can be a help. Sometimes a deeper rear gusset is a help in balancing the saddle so it doesn't sit low behind, and a full front or wither gusset can help with panel contact and wither clearance. If your horse's shoulder is big and laid-back, a shorter tree point (common on most UK-made saddles) can be a help as well. Kate Wilson at Dutchess Bridle and Saddle (www.dutchessbridleandsaddle.com) covers the NY/NJ area, and I believe David Boot and Lucy Batchelor at Brennan's Bit and Bridle (www.brennansbitandbridle.com) on Long Island covers that area as well.
.There's a local trainer here whose client base is mostly TBs. We also joke that she must be on commission from Bates because all her kids ride in them.....and I have yet to see a horse that looks happy. I know the Bates (and pessoa) I tried for my TBs during *the great saddle hunt* (ended up trying 11 saddles) were much to flat if a tree. Anyway...what eventually worked for both of us was a Tad Coffin. Both of my horses have MASSIVE shoulders and the shorter tree points worked fort them.
I found an OLDER beat up Devocoux that fit my horse...and get this... I ride him in NO other pad other than a back on track pad. He loves it. Tb hunter jumper...why not work your mare on the longe to build muscle the. See if your saddle fits...is it too wide? Is there a saddle fitter in your area who can come out and help?
County saddles are great. They are wool flocked so can be adjusted as your horse changes shape. If he changes a lot, you can always have the tree replaced with a wider tree - a friend had this done for less than $500. I love my County saddle and they have a variety of saddles to fit a variety of horse shapes and then can customize to fit the rider as wel.
Prices go up Feb. 1 so contact your local County rep now or go to www.saddles.com and request a free fitting.
Just a quick clarification here: Countys are built on spring trees, and can be widened/narrowed up to about one tree width (roughly 3/4" or 2 cm.). They can be re-treed if necessary (for example, if the tree is broken, or if it's been adjusted previously and the tree won't take the stress of being adjusted again), but only with the same sort of tree on which it was initially built. The leather for each saddle is cut particular to the tree on which it's being built, so you can't change a very flat tree for a much more curved, dippy tree, or vice-versa.