I've been saddle hunting for a while now. I'm tall and my Arabian gelding isn't. He's also very wide. My saddle fitter, Paula Helm, said I need an 18 inch seat, a long flap and a Wide tree for the horse.
I've been searching on the internet for used saddles. I'll type in W for tree width and all I'll find is MW. This is frustrating! I'd like an Albion, but all I'm finding is MW trees or too small seats. (OK, I'd really like a Hulsebos but I'd have to remortgage the house....;-(
Is it that there isn't much call for a wide tree? Or is one saddle makers Medium Wide another maker's Wide?
The best thing to do on a golf course is a GALLOP!
Yes, the meaning of wide, medium wide, etc can vary widely from brand to brrand. That said, don't discount a MW Albion- it may be wide enough and our local Albion fitter says you can adjust them up or down one size...
Edited to add: try Pelham Saddlery. They have at least one Albion 18W in their used selection right now.
SAME situation here with tall rider and not so tall and very wide Arabian. I thought I would love certain saddles but when I had the saddle fitter out I really didn't like them once I rode in them on her (even one I knew I liked on another horse, just felt different on my mare).
Here's what I ended up loving: the Passier Grand Gilbert. It is just amazingly right for my long legs (I felt like I melted right into it) and they have short tree points that do seem to work for the shorter back of the Arabian. Maybe try one, just to see what you think? They're pretty easy to find in a wide tree in your size, just search ebay or tacktrader.com. They have the new Passier Grand Gilbert "Extra" that has a deeper seat and bigger thigh blocks, but then there are also the older style ones with a less deep seat and more minimal thigh blocks, depending on what you like. With my long legs, I found that I like the more minimal thigh blocks, personally, especially on such a round barreled horse. Just a note that the seat is "generous" on those, so a 17.5 may work well for you.
The easiest way to explain it...it's just like buying a bra. One manufacturer's 38C doesn't even begin to resemble another one's 38C. If you search this forum for "arabian" and "saddle" you will find more than one thread with hints about trying to fit a saddle to the world's oldest (and greatest, IMHO ) breed. It is not a process for the faint of heart or wallet!!
I highly recommend working with Trumbull Mountain or Fine Used saddles. It's worth the effort to make the tracings and let them help you with finding a saddle. Trust me on this, I tried at least 25 saddles before I found one that fit my Arab and worked for me too.
I bought a Smith Worthington saddles for my Arab, after a lot of trial and error. The trees are fairly adjustable (by Smith Worthington - it's not a changeable gullet) and they've been excellent to work with. http://www.smithworthington.com/
If your Arab has wide shoulders and low withers, look for something with a hoop tree. Trumbull Mountain has a great reputation for working with harder to fit horses, although I haven't used them personally. A few brands you might look at...
- Thorowgood broad back (if you want something lower cost and are okay with synthetic)
- Black country (freedom tree or X tree)
- Arabian Saddle Company/Lovatt & Ricketts
Oh, and wait until you try to find the right girth for your new saddle
For sure you will need a hoop tree. My mare's build sounds similar. I'm not too familiar with Albion but I went through a number of saddles until finding an excellent fit with the Collegiate Jessica Dressage Saddle. It is a saddle modeled after the Passier Grand Gilbert. Has a long flap, flat panels, hoop tree and a comfortable seat. The quality is very nice.
My wide, short backed Arab does well with Stubbens. I have an Aramis (basically a Tristan) for dressage and a Siegfried II for basically everything else. Its a close contact model. Both of them are 32cm trees and they fit him really well. He seems to really like the flex tree Stubbens have. He's a lot less happy in a solid tree.