I have been wanting to get back into western tack with my 17 year old OTTB. His photo is my profile pic. I had high hopes when someone at my barn was selling a saddle which she said was good for a horse with high withers and large shoulders.....
It sat right on his withers.
What shall I do? please check my photo and give me some help.
A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton
I'm pretty sure there have been threads regarding this issue. Maybe do a search. I think I saw them in Off Course but I could be wrong. I know people recommended specific saddles, but can't remember what they were. I am sure with the right saddle and pad combination you can find something. You just have to find a way to do it without losing your mind and going broke.
I do know that I have seen a regular swayback pad do wonders for saddle fit on horses that have no sway. If you can get your hands on one to borrow, try it with the saddle you tried.
If it works and you buy your own, you might want to get one with the cutout at the withers.
Last edited by cloudy18; Feb. 2, 2013 at 12:15 PM.
Reason: Added info
I have an old (1940's) George Lawrence Form Fitter that worked well for my shark-fin-withers TB before he got a lot more muscling in his back.
It stayed off his withers as long as the rider was less than about 160 pounds.
And with that form-fitter pommel (looks like a bronc riding saddle, with a horn) you aren't going to fall out of the saddle very easily if the horse spooks and spins. (Had that happen, windy day and my horse got DH's hat blown right into his face. Horse spun, I got a bruise on my thigh but didn't go off.)
Last edited by Fillabeana; Feb. 2, 2013 at 02:34 PM.
On my cinch thread someone pointed out that I have a 7/8 or 3/4 rigged saddle, and so even though I took along a wither form and it all "fits", it might not be balanced for the pony's conformation. There are quite a few vids on Youtube on how to put on a Western saddle, and at least one good one on how to fit a Western saddle, if you watch a bunch and weed out the junk you'll get a sense of what you need for your guy.
Extra pads, um, forgive me but if they don't work well to correct English saddles that don't fit why should they correct a Western saddle that doesn't fit?
As far as finding the saddle, skip CL and go with something from a shop. The selection will be better and you might at least find out exactly what will fit him and be able to buy it new if you have to to fit both of you.
Been there and done this nightmare with my gelding. You will need an older western style saddle most likely. Nothing new is made narrow enough probably. I ended up in a rebuilt Stonewall endurance saddle. The saddlemaker for that saddle company is my friend and she found an older tree that fit my horse (she has his card measurements) and rebuilt the saddle on the older tree. Fits like a glove for him and I'm thrilled.
I don't think you need to find an old saddle.
I have an 18 yo TB with a pretty high wither (although your horse probably tops it!). We found a good fitting tree in a new Crestridge Saddle. We got a Sentry model. I chose them because they focused on saddle fit first. They have trees for mules and gaited horses as well as QH types.
i have an arab with almost the exact same withers i have a saddle with semiQHB and a wither releif pad what it does is that it is so thin right in the withers and extremely thick around the sides and shoulders so it holds the saddle high without the rest of the pad pressing on his withers hope this helps