I'm a bit not happy with the saddle that I got. The white rawhide looks dirty and there is a thread that already loose on the outside. It's where you would put the leg so it would be hidden but still..it's supposed to be new! Some of the screws on the saddle are green (which I guess I probably could clean).
I'm also not sure on fit. Too me the saddle looks too small..kinda perched looking.What do you think? I don't have a cinch or western pad yet so I guess that could change how the fit looked but let me know what you think. I used a thin pad folded in half so you can see where the back of the saddle ends.
(note pony was just taken out of a muddy pasture to see how it fits between kids nap..so dirty pony:0)
It would be worth it to me to keep shopping. Keep in mind, most decent western pads are 1/2" thick, mine is 1", and while the fleece will pack down some, I think it looks too perched. Can you feel if its bridging underneath the fenders? It looks like it might be. I mean, the kids are still little and probably won't be going on super long rides (just guessing here), so it won't kill the pony of you don't have other options, but at the same time, why spend good money on a saddle that isn't right? I think what you need is a horse size saddle (semi-qh bars, not full qh) in the smallest seat size you can find. You might be able to find a decent 13" barrel saddle used for a good price.
Also, in the first photo, I would set the saddle about 3 finger-widths further forward. It looks a little better in the other two photos, so it could just be the angle.
Not sure what to do at this point. If I get a horse sized saddle then it's probably going to be too long (the one above has 16inch skirt). I don't want the kids slipping or slidding in a saddle that is too big for them either.
Last edited by morgansnmind; Dec. 20, 2012 at 04:03 PM.
Try it on the pony without the pad. If the saddle fits well and your kids aren't planning on doing any riding that would twist and slide saddle about, a simple wool blanket would be fine.
If you can fit three fingers between the gullet and the pony's withers with it just sitting in place, it should be okay that way (it'll press down to the right distance after cinching up/putting a rider on). Then run your hand between the pony's shoulder and underneath to the point of the tree. If it follows the shape and doesn't pinch, you're good that way. Finally run your hand underneath the skirt along the pony's side and see if there's any gaps/dips/places it pinches. You could also place strips of bailing twine about an inch apart all the way down the pony's back and put the saddle on over top of them -- pull the strips out one by one and if they all have the same resistance, then the saddle fits well along the back.
If you do keep the saddle, you'll definitely want to get those stirrups turned!
ETA: If the pony is wide in the shoulder, full quarter horse bars (FQHB) or draft bars might be the way to go if they offer such a thing in pony saddles.
ETA #2: Here's a good page on bar types that might help you out.
Not wide enough. A full bar or haflinger bar may work. Some arab bars. How about a child's barrel saddle? Shorter skirts and maybe wider bars. Small ponies can be deceivingly wide. Can you do some tracings of the pony's shoulders right behind the should blade and send to the saddle shop?
They even have a seat shrinker for $70. These stirrups and seat cushion are less than a saddle that doesn't fit.
I looked a little closer, while I think the saddle could be wider, it isn't that terrible. All saddles sit up a little until they are tightened up. I would try it again with a thin pad and see if the saddle is actually sitting around the pony's back. How does it feel when you run your hand under the shoulder and along the back under the saddle? It looks cute.
I'm going to go to the tack store tomorrow and see if I can go ahead and get a thin saddle pad and cinch. That will probably help out alot in telling if it fits. She is really really hairy right now so I'm not sure if that will make a big difference come spring.
I don't like the way it looks in the first photo, but the third one looks okay. It might be too narrow in the shoulders or the bars might not be angled right for the pony so it is sitting up high. It's hard to tell without seeing a photo from the front. I would try it with a thinner pad.
It looks like there is plenty of wither clearance, but do the checks that VaqueroToro mentioned. I think your biggest concern is if it is too tight/pinching the shoulders.
From what I've always been taught, bars describe the angle, gullet describes the width. My wade has FQH bars with a narrower gullet, so it tends to fit the market, but flatter backed horses well. My other western saddle had gaited horse bars, but a wider gullet, and more rock to the bars. The gullet on that saddle is wider in width than my wade, but is narrower at the bottom of the bars (steeper pitch), and the bars are more curved (like rockers in a rocking chair, but less extreme). A draft or halflinger tree will most likely have a flatter pitch to the bars, and the width of the gullet will depend in the saddle (wider for a draft than a halflinger). A semi-QH bar for a horse saddle has a wider gullet than a semi-QH bar for a pony saddle.
With the saddle sitting further forward you have more than enough room to move up to a horse sized saddle without it interfering so long as the saddle has a round skirt. To give you a comparison, my last two horses stood around 13.3 on a good day, and both were fairly short backed, and I used my 16" seat wade on both of them, and it fit both of them extremely well. I'm not am advocate for barrel saddles in general, but misfit are also designed with smaller, single-layer skirts to be as light as possible and give the horse maximum freedom of movement.
Well it's not an expensive saddle for sure but it's also not the cheapest out there either (there's cheaper made ones on ebay for sure). I wasn't looking for a big name brand saddle because Grandparents are the ones that buying the kids saddle for Christmas and they won't be riding but so hard at this point. My son does like to trot (or he calls it bounce) but it's still just leadline for now until I think he's a bit more mature. Sometimes he's just so silly that I don't want him to do something stupid and get hurt.
I was all set to send it back but then tried it again. It doesn't fit too bad really..the worst part about it is that it could be a little bit wider on the shoulder but it's not digging in. She has enough clearence. I will have to use a thin pad I think to keep the fit good.
Also just for kicks I tried it on my 15hand horse and it fits! I was suprised really. It looks a little silly being so tiny but..still useable. I think it fits her better than it does the pony. Maybe once the winter hair is gone and hopefully I will get pony (Tina Turner) in shape it will fit better in the shoulder.
I've put a full size english saddle (17inch)on the pony and really it goes to far back on her back so I think a full size western saddle would do the same or worse since they are usually longer than a english.