I just picked up a almost new barnsby for a great price. Fits me beautifully, but the horse I want to use it on, it is a little wide. How adjustable are these saddles in your experience? Should I try having it fitted, or just forget about it?
The horse is too wide for the saddle is too wide for the horse?
If the saddle is too wide, you can use a Mattes type pad or have a fitter add some flocking. If the saddle is too narrow you *may* be able to remove some flocking and make it fit, depending on how stuffed it is. Or, if the tree has not already been widened, you can have it widened up to one tree size. A saddler will have to drop the panels to check. Trees are sometimes altered at the factory, so it being almost new is no guarantee that it has not been done, and you can only do it once with a beechwood tree.
I have a Barnsby that I bought for my Thoroughbred. It was a little too wide for him so I had it flocked up to fit. Then I quit riding him but I liked the saddle so I had a saddler widen the tree to a #5 and reflock it for my other horse. After having it dinked with a couple of times I am still not happy with the balance, so until I can get it back to the saddler for adjustment I am riding in a different saddle.
The point being that if the fit is fairly close and the tree is right for the horse, you can do a lot with the flocking to make it work.
I had the flocking adjusted in my wide-tree Richard Davison and also use a Mattes pad since my girl is older. I have found the wide tree in a Barnsby is not quite as wide as some other brands - better to be able to pad up a saddle that's a bit too wide than have to adjust one that's too narrow.
Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.
I had a Barnsby that was slightly too wide for my horse, and the Mattes pad (alone, without shims) did the trick. I'd rather have a saddle slightly too wide than too narrow (then you would have to adjust the tree) as long as the panel shape is still good for the horse.
- better to be able to pad up a saddle that's a bit too wide than have to adjust one that's too narrow.
I'd rather have a saddle slightly too wide than too narrow
Yes & No ... a too narrow saddle tends to be more obvious (or perhaps not ) a too wide saddle is often padded & wither clearance while the horse is in motion - especially at the canter & jump - tends to be overlooked.
With a too wide saddle, often people use multiple pads & don't notice that one or both have slipped during the ride or they pad in the wrong places.
Anytime that you use a riser (pommel or cantle) you may create pressure points, make sure you're aware of where the pressure is going & what's happening with the tree angles/points when shimming.
Having said that, yeah, I'd choose a slightly too wide saddle every time (especially if horse has not been in much work or work is changing)
Re the Barnsby, have a saddle fitter check it for your horse (back to those tree angles & points) & go from there just get a general idea of costs involved before you have the fitter out.