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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 22, 2012
    Posts
    13

    Question Western Saddle fit ???

    My 15.2 quarter horse gelding is a middle of the road body type with withers....in an English saddle he needs a wide or 33.5 cm. wide tree with short points....but my western saddle seems to fit him width wise over the withers/shoulder area but when cinched up enough to get on...it sticks up in the back!!...even when I slide it further back it still sits up...but when I'm in the saddle it doesn't. If the saddle is not cinched up it does not sit up in the back..
    Any ideas as to where to go with this? Is it too wide, too narrow or not enough curve from front to back? It is built on a Martin Axiss tree....without standards it is very tough to figure out what I am looking for...
    Any suggestions?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    7,149

    Default

    Sounds too wide in front, allows it to go down on shoulders, if the back can lift like that when girthed up.

    Best idea is to find a saddle fitter. This is their specialty, they know EXACTLY what is wrong when things like that happen. Taking the horse and saddle so the fitter can look at them is really the only way to find out the sorry details.

    We had a NICE saddle we used on a horse, had been using it over several years until horse just started acting BADLY when ridden with this saddle. No problem with his other saddle, also same used for several years. I couldn't find anything poking him, room to move in the shoulders, so we went to the saddle fitter. She said saddle had gotten warped somehow, tree was twisted!! I was shocked, since our saddles are hung to store, inside a tack room. Might have been rained on a couple times during a show is all I can figure where the wood tree could have gotten that wet.

    Had to buy another saddle for that horse, behaviour problems disappeared.

    Weird but true things like that happen! Call in an expert on saddle fitting, get the problem solved so you can enjoy your animal again. Price of the saddle, name brand, it makes no difference to the horse, if it hurts when he has to wear it. He probably needs a different model saddle or you need a different horse if you really like riding THAT saddle!

    The rear of saddle rising when girthed, really IS A PROBLEM to get fixed before you hurt the horse. Problem doesn't go away because you can flatten saddle back down when mounted.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 2004
    Location
    E. Washington
    Posts
    688

    Default

    I tried really hard to buy a Martin last year for my really wide little mare. The 7 in gullet was too narrow in the shoulders, couldn't find a 7.5 in gullet to try and the 8 in gullet looked good until it was girthed up and it did the same thing you are describing.

    I would suspect the saddle is either too narrow and pushing up in the back. It has to slide back to a narrower spot.

    Or, it is too wide in the gullet and slides behind the shoulder.

    Time to try a different saddle. I went with a custom J Stead wade tree and it fits perfect. He actually sent me a tree to try on her first after lots of pictures and tracings.

    I am now debating whether to buy a second saddle from him because the saddle fits both our horses so well.

    In the meantime, I bought a used Cactus barrel saddle to get by with last year. It was wider than what I had but she has muscled up now to where it didn't fit either enough to keep as a spare. It found a new home yesterday.

    I found the Martins to be too straight in the shoulder for my horse and she has a long wide shoulder to try to fit. Some people like the Crates for some horses, I never found a wide one to try.

    Good luck. It sucks when an expensive saddle won't fit your horse. I ended up replacing my dressage saddle too, this mare was a tough fit. Just for a comparison, my dressage saddle is like a 38 cm to fit this mare, an XW.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 2004
    Location
    E. Washington
    Posts
    688

    Default

    Also, your Martin saddle could have a 6.0 - 6.75 gullet in the older models, the above gullets plus 7 - 8 in the new models. Sometimes it isn't the gullet width, but how straight the bars are. A curvy bar will cause the saddle to pitch up at the back if your horse is really straight backed like my mare. I suspect the Martin 8 inch was too curvy for my mare, it looked good on my other gelding.

    My old Paul's saddle pitched up like that when the mare grew out of it. It was too steep in the shoulders for her. When the saddle was pushed down, it dug into her shoulders. On the lunge, it moved behind her shoulder and went up in the back. The angle was wrong for her in the shoulders. It was a 90 degree bar and she is now in a 93 degree bar.

    Good luck.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 25, 2010
    Posts
    14

    Default

    The other possibility is that the saddle rigging is too far forward for the horse. I had this problem with my horse. The saddle then rises in the back because the act cinching up leverages the front against the horse's withers.

    Most saddles can be re-rigged, but finding a shop that does this can be challenging.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 22, 2012
    Posts
    13

    Default Fit Part 2 :))

    Thanks for all the responses, and I now realize that my current saddle is too wide for him.....
    Can you tell me what the difference is between semi-qh bars and qh bars? I think since the qh bars is too wide, I would need to try the semi-s....but a wide semi...any suggestions?
    There are no large selection tack shops near me nor any large barns where I could try a variety of saddles...and the ones that friends have are 15+ years old!! and not a big help...
    How important is the narrow twist offered by some makers? I am 5 ft. 1 inch and so have short legs....
    What models would offer close contact....I had a Tucker while comfy it bridged on him, and I had no feel of what was going on under me due to the suspended seat construction...
    This is turning into a huge and expensive search....but I'd like to be ready to ride once spring really arrives and not spend nice weather saddle searching...



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    7,149

    Default

    Here is a site that talks about saddle tree bars. Clicking on the template links might help you fit your animal closer, so you can ask for sizes you need to make her more comfortable.

    http://www.horsesaddleshop.com/howshoulifit.html

    Read the entire page, it explains a number of terms relating to saddle fitting details most folks never thought of years ago. It is a good starting place to better understand fitting of Western saddles.



  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by goodhors View Post
    Sounds too wide in front, allows it to go down on shoulders, if the back can lift like that when girthed up.

    Best idea is to find a saddle fitter. This is their specialty, they know EXACTLY what is wrong when things like that happen. Taking the horse and saddle so the fitter can look at them is really the only way to find out the sorry details.

    We had a NICE saddle we used on a horse, had been using it over several years until horse just started acting BADLY when ridden with this saddle. No problem with his other saddle, also same used for several years. I couldn't find anything poking him, room to move in the shoulders, so we went to the saddle fitter. She said saddle had gotten warped somehow, tree was twisted!! I was shocked, since our saddles are hung to store, inside a tack room. Might have been rained on a couple times during a show is all I can figure where the wood tree could have gotten that wet.

    Had to buy another saddle for that horse, behaviour problems disappeared.

    Weird but true things like that happen! Call in an expert on saddle fitting, get the problem solved so you can enjoy your animal again. Price of the saddle, name brand, it makes no difference to the horse, if it hurts when he has to wear it. He probably needs a different model saddle or you need a different horse if you really like riding THAT saddle!

    The rear of saddle rising when girthed, really IS A PROBLEM to get fixed before you hurt the horse. Problem doesn't go away because you can flatten saddle back down when mounted.
    Trees on many western saddle will warp due to the newer "manufacturing" styles used to create them. For saddles that list having a traditional wooden tree wrapped in rawhide that are priced at $1,000 new, that typically means that a green wood tree was used to produce them. Most of the time, this is fine, but sometimes, as that green wood dries, it warps. That would be the most likely culprit, rather than getting rained on, unless it was left sitting out in the rain overnight, etc.

    To the OP, saddles can tip up in back depending on where the saddle is rigged. The further forward the saddle is rigged, the more likely the saddle is to tip up when cinched down without the use of a rear cinch. Going by manufacturer's stated semi or full QH bars can be misleading in regards to fit. Most modern QH do not actually require full QH bars, as they are not truly wider in the shoulder, merely a rounder/flatter back conformation. Most of the custom saddle makers go with a semi QH bar width of 6.5, but flare the tree out to accomodate the flatter topline/rounder wither conformation, and this works quite well for most QH. If you sit a western saddle on your horse without pad, and without cinching it up, and can comfortably run your hands under the saddle where you would commonly fasten a breastcollar on back, and do not encounter any pinching, your western saddle probably fits. Biggest misconception to poor fit in western saddles is the tendency to over pad.



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