My newest horse has a shark fin wither. I have two saddles from my last horse that just aren't working. The issue seems to wither clearance, but on the side, not the top. I have a medium narrow Stubben Edelweiss (cc saddle) that I don't think anything can be done to make it work. I also have a Bates Caprilli close contact with the adjustable tree. I have it let out to "wide" but the pommel is just too low and I still have the same problem of the withers hitting the inside of the gullet, especially as he moves. Its worst at the trot. I have to use a reverse wedge pad to lift the front up enough, but it eventually shifts as I ride my horse and stops protecting his withers.
So, one of the other boarders offered to let me try her retired mare's saddle. Now, I thought no way is this going to work, as it is an extra wide County dressage saddle. Out of every saddle that I did try, it did fit the best. By that I mean, without anything but a light saddle pad, it was the closest to working for him as he moves. I think it would only need a very minor correction by a saddle fitter to work. This would be great, except that I am more into hunters so I don't want a dressage saddle per se. The lady that owns the County saddle suggested I call one of two saddle fitters that will come out to our area. The downside is both work as reps for different brands of saddles. The person she really liked sells Trilogy saddles and the other sells County saddles. I do not have the money to purchase either of these saddles brand new. What I was wondering is if anyone has ever called out a saddle fitter/ rep and just had them do a consultation? I'm thinking if someone could just tell me what make, model, and tree size we need, I could search until I found one used, then have the fitter/ rep come out and tweak it to make it perfect for my horse. Anyone else ever tried this? Any other suggestions on dealing with the shark fin wither?
Last edited by ex-racer owner; Jun. 15, 2012 at 08:46 PM.
I did that with Stubben. I let the fitter/rep know that I would be looking to buy used. We tried several saddles and now I am looking for a used 17.5 28 cm tree Roxane S. The rep has his eye out for a demo. I would imagine the County fitter would do the same for you. Good luck--fitting those high withers is tough!
If the County rep is Katie G, she just did this for a boarder's horse-- tried on a couple of Countys and assessed the horse as a Medium (new County sizing) tree. The riding boarder wasn't even there, but her husband and I described her height/weight in terms of "about to here" and "about my build, but with longer legs" and Katie was able to suggest a 17" seat as a starting point, and an Eventer as a likely model to fill the rider's bill. Just a place to start shopping used.
Because the boarder is just getting back into horses and not yet 100% certain she wants to "go English," we also discussed Western saddles, and Katie was very helpful there, too.
It was about the most ridiculous fitting consultation I've ever participated in-- no rider, no true sense of riding discipline-- but the horse's body got fitted, and the rider has a sense of where to begin shopping for used saddles.
Katie was great! Her strongest admonition was to take anything used out on trial and let her get a look at it to make sure the tree hasn't been altered in any way and truly is the size marked (as well as undamaged) before making a purchase.
So, I ended up having Heather Soones-Booher from Saddles101out today to help me with fitting my horse with a saddle. I was worried about having Heather out because I know she is a rep for Trilogy, and that is just not in the budget, but she assured me that she is a saddle fitter first and foremost. She was wonderful! She evaluated the two saddles that I do own and the Stubben that I thought was a lost cause was able to be reflocked and it fits my horse beautifully now. I cannot say enough good things about my experience with Heather today and I would highly recommend her.