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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 8, 2012
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    51

    Default Saddle Fit - Rocking Cantle?

    What part of the saddle fit is incorrect when the cantle rocks (up and down and left and right when lunging at the trot)? I am questioning the fit of my saddle and this is one of my top problems.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
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    West Coast of Michigan
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    Default

    I always get the terminology wrong, but the panels (the big wide things that sit on their back) are probably too curved for the shape of the horse. Getting a saddle with gussets can help--they tend to fit flatter-backed horses better.
    Click here before you buy.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
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    If the saddle is girthed up tightly and the cantle is moving in a big way, you might have a big problem.

    How to tell? Post the trot in it. Reach one hand behind you and grab the cantle. If it's rocking up and down, the panels of the saddle are behaving like a vice-like rolling pin on your horse's back.

    Ouch! And, oh man, don't go there. IME, that will hurt a horse a lot in a little time.

    Usually this kind of problem is created by a tree that basically doesn't follow the shape of the horse's back and some panels that don't fit well enough to let the saddle "fake it" and stay still. You can try to feel around the panels (with saddle ungirthed on a naked horse) to see if you can feel gaps underneath the stirrup bars and center of the seat. Usually, that's where the problem is if the rest of it looks ok.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    NW Louisiana
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    Default

    The tree. If it lifts up in the back, that means the saddle rocks once the horse moves. No amount of corrective flocking will fix that. Adding gussets can sorta help, but is usually more expensive than selling this one and buying something used that does fit.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2010
    Location
    Tucson
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    7,948

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    You do mean it's rocking coming *off* the horse's back, right? If so, what those above me have said.


    If it's staying put on your horse's back, congrats, you have a lovely back mover who is difficult to sit. (Ask me how I know that one.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Silverbridge View Post
    If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 8, 2012
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    51

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    If the saddle is girthed up tightly and the cantle is moving in a big way, you might have a big problem.

    How to tell? Post the trot in it. Reach one hand behind you and grab the cantle. If it's rocking up and down, the panels of the saddle are behaving like a vice-like rolling pin on your horse's back.

    Ouch! And, oh man, don't go there. IME, that will hurt a horse a lot in a little time.

    Usually this kind of problem is created by a tree that basically doesn't follow the shape of the horse's back and some panels that don't fit well enough to let the saddle "fake it" and stay still. You can try to feel around the panels (with saddle ungirthed on a naked horse) to see if you can feel gaps underneath the stirrup bars and center of the seat. Usually, that's where the problem is if the rest of it looks ok.

    mvp: am I looking for bridging?

    Here is a picture of my mare. She is currently in a Smith Worthington, I am looking at a Pessoa, but wasn't sure. http://www.flickr.com/photos/7541204...in/photostream (she has lost some weight since this photo!)



  7. #7
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    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    NW Louisiana
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    The saddle SHOULD bridge a bit on most horses when they are standing relaxed. As the horse lifts his back when he moves, it generally flattens out. How much depends on the horse. I have one filly who can start trotting and the saddle that fit well while she was standing lifts about 4" in the back.

    Even trotting with a lifted back, the panels need to make full contact at the cantle.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 8, 2012
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    51

    Default

    Well, bad saddle fit was confirmed tonight. I had an Equine Massage Therapist out and my mare was super tight in the back in the saddle pressure areas. Even my novice hand could feel the before and after work on the muscles to work out the tension. I feel so bad now for my girl! I guess the saddle hunt continues.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
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    It's not as simple as a black and white answer to why a cantle bounces around.

    The whole tree might be too curvy for the horse - can't fix that, ever.

    The tree might be too wide up front, causing it to lift in the back - as long as the overall shape is correct for that horse, you can fix this, quite nicely in many cases, with proper padding.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  10. #10
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    Jul. 31, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    The whole tree might be too curvy for the horse - can't fix that, ever.

    The tree might be too wide up front, causing it to lift in the back - as long as the overall shape is correct for that horse, you can fix this, quite nicely in many cases, with proper padding.

    Those are all good guesses-- especially looking at your mare's flat back and well-sprung rib cage.

    Even if you don't feel bridging, a curvy tree on a flat-backed horse has a hard time. Panels can't stabilize it.

    If she is thick up front, changes are that you will find a wide tree to accommodate her shoulder. Then, if the tree is too curved (front to back), it will rock.

    I'm glad you had a pro come take a look and teach you what to look/feel for, too. I think riders who pay attention to how their horse looks/feels day to day can get a lot done to minimize bad saddle fit and then teach themselves to choose better.

    Do a search for "house of duct tape and physical therapy" here if you want to find some down-home advice for helping a horse already in muscle spasm and pain. It doesn't have to tak e a long time and a lot of professional work to fix if you catch it soon.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  11. #11
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    Jan. 8, 2012
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    She is wide in the chest/shoulders and well sprung, but I put my friend's wide Bates saddle on her and she was swimming in it. It almost sat on her withers and had a ton of room between the front of the saddle and her side/shoulder. I put a few other medium trees on her and those looked nice in the wither/shoulder area, but then she is well sprung and broad in the back so the panels didn't seem quite right. I am not quite sure that she needs a hoop tree since she has some wither height and is narrower through the withers.



  12. #12
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    Dec. 13, 1999
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    Greensboro, NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by RunningRedLights View Post
    She is wide in the chest/shoulders and well sprung, but I put my friend's wide Bates saddle on her and she was swimming in it.
    The W gullet isn't really all that wide, so it's confusing to think she's that wide but is "swimming" in this width.

    It almost sat on her withers and had a ton of room between the front of the saddle and her side/shoulder.
    That has little to do with the width, and much more to do with the shape being all wrong. All that room between the top of the panel and her shoulder is either because 1) it's too narrow, or 2) the more likely scenario here, too steep/too A-frame for her build.

    I put a few other medium trees on her and those looked nice in the wither/shoulder area, but then she is well sprung and broad in the back so the panels didn't seem quite right. I am not quite sure that she needs a hoop tree since she has some wither height and is narrower through the withers.
    Hoop tree has nothing to do with wither height. Shoulders are what you fit firstly, in terms of width. You still have the rest of the back and ribs to fit as well. THEN you look at the withers. She may do well in a hoop tree, to deal with her shoulders, and wither gussets to fill in around the withers.

    My next step would be to contact www.trumbullmtn.com and get the wither/back tracing process going. Black Country makes very nice saddles, including options for wither gussets, and the shape of your mare, both from the picture and your description, sounds like BC might be a good option.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 8, 2008
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    Delaware Valley
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    It's not as simple as a black and white answer to why a cantle bounces around.
    Yes I also have a custom Black Country with a cantle that has started rocking. My trainer (who has seen the saddle) and a saddle fitter (who I contacted via e-mail) have told me this is a problem that most likely can be fixed, so the black-and-white "you're screwed" answers sound a little over the top. I have the saddle fitter coming in the middle of May. In the meantime, we're making do with a pad.



  14. #14
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    Jan. 8, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    The W gullet isn't really all that wide, so it's confusing to think she's that wide but is "swimming" in this width.
    When the wide saddle is on her, the front of the saddle/above the knee roll were not even touching her trapezius area and it was sitting low over her withers. She is build solid, wide through her body (in my opinion) through the chest, forearm, haunches. But....behind and below the withers she is narrower. So, my concern is a correct fit to accommodate the front half of the saddle maybe being a bit narrower then the back of the saddle over a broad back.

    Thank you for the advice about Trumbull. I am checking them out now!



  15. #15
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    Dec. 13, 1999
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    Greensboro, NC
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    Default

    Fitting wide shoulders can require a considerably wide tree with the wither gussets to fill in above the shoulders/below the withers. It will be interesting to see what Trumbull says about your tracing - would you be so kind as to let me know?
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2008
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    Email or call Smith Worthington since that's what you currently have. They have extensive fit/wither tracing instructions on their website but they can probably get a sense of fit based on your description of your mare and how the saddle isn't working. Maybe it's just a major reflock/repanel or maybe they can work a trade for your current saddle. I have no idea, but it's worth a try. They've been super helpful with me when I called with questions.
    Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

    You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.



  17. #17
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    Jan. 8, 2012
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    I am doing tracing and photos today, will post an update from SW and Trumbull!



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