How to help saddle stability with a wither-less horse
My horse is a Perch/TB X and essentially has no withers and has a very round barrel. Because of this, my saddle is always slipping slightly to one side or the other.
My girth is as tight as it goes and I use a breastplate but it still slips a bit. He wears a wide tree and it "fits." I cant use a non-slip pad against his skin because he hates it and switches his tail and acts like fire ants are crawling on him.
I have a small but very ROUND half arabian pony. The top of her back looks like the top of a 'split top' loaf of bread and she is actually narrower through the shoulders to boot, and wider in the barrel. AND the saddle always rode forward. I had a helluva time with saddle roll-age with her.
1. I bought a different saddle. I'm not endorsing the brand or anything but I got a saddle with a flatter (less sloped) panel (flatter both ways, both down her sides/around her ribs and from front to back) that is wider. That helped right there. This wasn't an 'expensive' saddle, or custom, it was in the $450 new price range.
2. I forked out the money for one of those sculpted girths. I think the brandname is Tekna? It almost reminds me of a roping horse girth... or one of those jumper girths. THAT has helped a lot! And though it isn't one of those (is it County brand?) girths that lets the girth stay forward in the girth groove but keeps the saddle back behind the shoulder blades, I do believe the Tekna gives me a bit of help in that department too.
3. I got one of those 5 point breast collars (and I have to use it 'sparingly', if I over tighten it I just have the problem of pulling the saddle forward. I just use it as that 'little tiny bit more' of stabilization for the side to side rolling). I believe it has helped a little bit.
4. I use a tail crupper. Again I had a huge problem with the saddle going forward, but this always helps stabilize it from side to side. You see fat witherless hunter ponies in them frequently.
When she is all tacked up she looks like she is heading off to jump at Rolex or something (or head out to play polo, lol). BUT all of those changes have helped give me a more stable saddle with out having to over tighten the girth.
You're not going to like this answer, but I really think it might have something to do with the saddle sliding.
Based on the photos in your signature line, how the saddle fits *you* might be a factor here. It looks very small for you, and it's put you in a chair seat with your legs braced out in front of you. It is really, really easy to "roll" a saddle when you're in a chair seat like that. In a saddle where you could get your leg under you, putting weight in one stirrup (deliberately or accidentally) could be directly counteracted using the placement of your pelvis or upper body. With your legs in front of you, it's basically just a lever system that will pull the saddle to that side.
That said, Starting-Point-Stables has some great suggestions, and ditto the advice to triple-quadruple-quintuple-check the saddle fit. There's a horse in our barn that had terrible saddle rolling problems, and once I sunk my armchair saddle fitter claws into him and put him in a $400 saddle with an appropriately-widened U-shaped tree, suddenly the rolling problems went away--even in extreme situations like foxhunting!
I have a standardbred/percheron cross whom I'd gotten used to riding in a breastplate to stop the saddle from slipping and I'd gotten used to posting uphill. Recently I moved to an EZ fit treeless saddle and centerfire rigging. Here is an example of centerfire except mine is not Western rigging, but English
I ride her in a wide Solstice, 18", I think it is a 32cm. ?? But I know it is a true wide.
I use a toklat wool back double elastic girth. Double elastic keeps the pressure of the girth equal on each side. I girth her on the first and last billet. The third billet helps keep the saddle better in place, imo.
For a pad, I use this pad. No slipping or less than 5% slippage. That is if she is SUPER sweaty, and we are doing really hilly terrains. This pad works far superior than anything I have used.
I can not use a plain cotton pad. It slips. I can not use my very nice wool back pad, because it slips. Also it is too much padding/bulk, which causes slippage side to side and the saddle goes back. No poly/nylon or flannel, they slip. She sweats, and they slip all of those slip. And I have tried an equipedic, well lets just say STAY AWAY. This pad slipped the worst of any pad in my whole riding history, which is ummm, a good number of decades. :-)
I have learned how to ride a witherless, mutton withered horse. I do try to keep my horse as slim as possible. The saddle is really important to fit right.
I do ride on hilly areas with a breast collar. It is a beta breast collar I got from Long Rider's Gear. But I do not use it unless I go on a hilly terrain.
I ride this horse a little tiny bit in the arena 2%, and 98% of the time on hilly trails, and a variety of terrains. I do not ever use a crupper. My saddle never ever slides back that far. Her ribs are there to prevent that.
With my current set up of the saddle and pads, I feel confident I could go and pen cows, or cut cows, or work cows. So, this is a secure set up for this horse and this rider.
Ok, my .02.
Last edited by rmh_rider; Oct. 22, 2012 at 08:18 PM.
Been there , done that !! Mine are perch/qh crosses.
I had to go to an extra wide saddle.
I'm using a Toulouse Premia. Love it!
My wide tree saddle fit too. But the extra wide sits wider down on their sides but still clears well. This prevents the rolling expecially when mounting. I always use a mounting block too.
Now about that diet thing for them!! That'd help for sure!