My Morgan dressage stallion has a saddle from JRD Saddles at www.jrd-tack.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. They have semi-custom and custom saddles and are amazingly beautiful, hand-made and reasonably priced and most importantly, they FIT! Highly encourage you to investigate them. Mehrdad is the name of the saddlemaker; his sons also make saddles.
I have a Schleese Link II for my shortbacked DutchArab cross. Ronnie at www.skylandssaddlery.com found it for me across the country used about 6 times so I got a really good discount. Ronnie fitted it for my horse and checks it regularly. She told me this was teh saddle for my horse at Devon and I resisted for almost 3 months before coughing up the dough. It has made a world of difference in how he uses his back, I also have the cut backs for shoulder relief and he can really enthusiastically move forward and lenghthen now.
Last edited by skykingismybaby1; Apr. 23, 2011 at 06:44 PM.
Reason: cant spell worth saliva
I have a 14.2h Arab. I have a Stubben Siegfried for trails/jumping/whatever and I'm buying an old Stubben Aramis for dressage. Any Stubben I've put on him has fit his short back. He's not one to tolerate anything too long - he'll buck like a bronc.
Well, after all this time of not riding due to poor saddle fit, I'm back because: I'm buying a County Perfection.
Should have listened to Buck22 way back when, but at the time, I didn't know of a County rep in my area. Found one through a local eventing barn during a clinic.
I tried the Competitor first, as Buck22 suggested, and it fit well. I did like it. But then I tried the Perfection (since that was the only trial saddle she had in a wide) and HOLY CRAP is it comfortable. Was able to comfortably ride a sitting trot. I got quite choked up.
I will be going with an Extra Wide, tho, since her back needs that extra 1/4" of clearance. A demo is on its way for me to try for five days before I write that -gulp check.
So to the OP and others still searching, just call a County rep and try one.
<>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- "When they try to tell you these are your Golden years, don't believe 'em.... It's rust."
My horse is a short backed, saddle fitting nightmare. Her back is broad, withers are not very high but wide (not muttony though), big shoulders and a short back. Combine that with a long femured 5'8" rider, and well...you get the picture. I've been riding her is a custom saddle built on a Passier tree that kind of works OK. I had an independent saddle rep out yesterday who also sell Schleese. She is, however, a fitter first, salesperson second. She looked at all 4 saddles I have and the two I have been using on this horse were the best fit. I picked the dressage saddle to get fitted since my young horse is my future dressage star. After watching me ride she explained why my saddle was not really great for my horse. Everything made sense. I tried 4 different Schleeses and the last was an HK. I think it is built on a Hennig tree. It was an 18" and was very comfortable for me. This model has extreme shoulder relief, very wide gullet channel and broad flat panels. We crossed the billets and did not use a point billet. Voila! I was happy and my horse's stride increased tremendously. It made me realize what a good girl she is to tolerate the saddles I had been riding her in. I have the demo for 10 days and if I want the saddle I can order one and rent the demo until I get mine.
The fitter won't sell me the demo as my mare needs one with the rear panels "chopped off". Her explanation is this: Shoulder relief keeps the shoulders from shoving the saddle back and to the outside (all my other saddles do this). As my horse develops and uses her shoulders better, the saddle will shift back off them a bit. This current saddle would then be on her lumbar area. Her lower back then would get sore and shove the saddle forward. It is fine for now, but the fitter said I wouldn't be happy with it as my horse develops. So, I have 10 days trial. I can rent this one until my custom ordered one comes in. The fitter will bring it and I then have 10 days to ride in it. If I don't want it I get 100% of my money back less the fitters fee of $150.00. Sweet deal. I am posting all this because others who live in saddle fitting hell with a short back horse may get some insight into what may help them. This saddle is uber expensive, but the tree is infinitly adjustable and guaranteed for life. Unless I gain a substantial amount of weight the saddle will suit me forever too. I am anxious to ride in it over the next 10 days to see if it really is the "right" one. I am cautiously optomistic! Hope this provides information to the OP and anyone else who has a hard to fit horse. Every other fitter I've had out has told me this is one of the hardest horses they have hver had to look at.
"You can try to fix lazy, but you can't fix stupid."
This is what I just bought for my compact little TB cross. The fitter (not Schleese but a retired rep from the company who is local) tried to put me in a mono-flap Link II but I needed more room for my thigh, so went with the movable blocks.
Dressage becomes art when it is a joy for the horse. -KBH
Unfortunately Retro I am back in purgatory on the way to saddle fitting hell. The Schleess HK stayed off the horse's shoulders pretty well, but slides to the outside at the canter in both directions and I just can't seem to ride in the darn thing. So, back to the drawing board. The fitter is more than wonderful (Terry Pieper in Carlisle, PA) and she has been the best person yet that has tried to help me. The horse is comfortable, but I have come to terms with my conformation and age and I need a minimalist close contact saddle that is short and cut out for big shoulders. I don't even know if such a thing exists. The saddle needs to be short too. When the shoulders shove it back it is too far back and then her lower back kicks it forward again...a viscious cycle.
"You can try to fix lazy, but you can't fix stupid."
I've got a 15.1 Connemara cross with the shortest back I've ever seen. We ended up with a Frank Baines Elegance because it has upswept panels that keep my weight from being distributed out behind the seat. I wouldn't say it's got a particularly deep seat, so it might not work for you. But you could certainly investigate other designs in his line.
Ugh. I'm having the same problem. My horse has withers and a very short back, only has 17" between his shoulder and last rib. I had a hell of a time finding a jump saddle for him.
A pic of his back is my profile picture if anyone is interested
I'm actually having a new problem as his work has progressed its really freed up his shoulder and step, and I think even my super short jump saddle is interfering with his shoulder
I also have problems with the shoulder shooting the saddle off his back. I've been using an acavallo no slip pad under the saddle pad and a very thin no slip pad over the pad (too keep the saddle on the pad) and I think this scenario is pulling on his withers. ITS SO FRUSTRATING!!!!!
Going back to the breastplate, which when adjusted to keep the saddle in place, does interfere with his freedom of movement. SIGH.
I'm having Janie from Pelham saddlery out tomorrow for a fitting for a dressage saddle. Will let everyone know how I make out.
I was whammied by the treeless people. I was at the last Stablemates sale and was returning a Toulouse I'd tried on Fella (bridged) when someone I didn't know said, "Go treeless". I smiled politely, but had no intention of doing that -from everything I'd known about treeless. Well here is a picture of Fella http://www.flickr.com/photos/5296733...in/photostream
He's got high, Standardbred withers, a flat, short Percheron back, and wide Percheron shoulders. To complicate things even further, I have a long femur and am 5'8" so I'm looking for an 18. Right that's gonna happen. See the withers? Nothing stayed on without a breastplate before this EZ fit treeless with center fire rigging. Here's a picture of the endurance saddle -there are no panels under the saddle at the moment, he's modifying them for me so it looks a bit pasted to his back -I took the picture to show my maker what kind of modifications to his panels to make- but there is a treeless saddle pad under the saddle. But that aside, withers don't get mashed, no bridging, close contact, sweet ride. I've hacked out on this type of saddle (not mine, the one I borrowed to try out) with no breast plate, up and down hills, no saddle slip! Look at those withers again!
Well the hussy at Stablemates whammied me because I've gone treeless and couldn't be happier. And the bonus is that my Amish saddle making guy has an English saddle version he's been testing! So I plan on having him make me a dressage saddle in 2013. I'm very excited; custom, treeless-but-rigid dressage saddle.
He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).
Hi Maude, Keep trying everything you can. What finally worked for mine was a total surprise. I had a saddle custom made with short panels etc, and his back got so tight he was unridable. In despiration I put a saddle made for my other horse, a Trilogy, on him and he loved it! I never would have expected it to fit, but I have used it on him a year and no problems at all. He is a 4th level horse, so very developed shoulder etc. I had tried an HK and hated it for me.
My Trilogy Verago has allowed my very short-backed horse (he's only 15.2 so we're talking a really short back) to be comfortable in a treed saddle for the first time. It the right saddle, but in the end it's the saddle fitter who makes it work (or not).
I second this saddle the Trilogy Verago nice deep seat & keeps my short back horse happy
ISLGRL, I have a beautiful Roosli that doesn't fit my mare. 17.5", M-MW tree. It is the correct length for her back, but needs thinner, wider panels, a wider gullet and a wider tree. The Roosli Luzerne (on Roosli's website) looks very interesting. It is designed for big movers with big shoulders. Unfortunately, no one in this country carrys that model. I wish Roosli had a US distributor that could measure and custom order a saddle, but I've been unable to find one.
Out West. Thanks. Good to know that I am not the only one that the HK did not work for.
"You can try to fix lazy, but you can't fix stupid."
So I tried several saddles on Friday, and re-affirmed the fact that Mr. Orange Princess will not move unless the saddle has an upswept panel. Oh well.
I have a Jaguar on trial, its not bad but I don't think its quite right. The fitter has me using it with a half pad, she said that the 1/2 pad will give him more room for his shoulder (and the tree was a smidge wide for him).
I feel like the jaguar, even with the 1/2 pad, is bearing down on his trapezius muscle.
Of the saddles that might have worked, the Roosli, Amerigo weren't right, the Verhan was too curvy, and the Prestige balance was bad for me.
Maude, interestingly, the Roosli Luzerne looks like it would be right for my horse too. My jump saddle has a bit of a wither gusset, and I think that's what we need for a dressage saddle, but with an upswept rear panel.
Do wither gusseted, upswept real paneled dressage saddles exist????
My next try I think will be a Spirig.
Paula- thanks for the tree-less suggestion, but that's not a realistic option for this horse.