I tried that saddle too~ LOVED how it fit me~ but it did not fit horsey at all! It fit his wither tracing perfectly, so I had hope...but it was oh so wrong when I put it on him! Bridged, popped up in back, and pinched in front! The tree looked wide enough...and honestly it fit the tracing. But not his back at all! He ended up in a saddle that is about the same width, but with much differently shaped panels.
There is a chance having the tree widened will fix the issue. However, there is also a chance that the the seat size (and correspondingly the length of the panel) is the issue. A horse with a short or upward sloping back can be a problem in this department.
this is a great point!!
I'm 6' tall and usually try to get 18" saddles.
Though all of my horses are always super short backed!!
My jump saddles are usually 17" because of this.
Got an email back from Paul at VTO and he said:
Widening the saddle would allow the pommel to sit a little lower, which has the potential to close the gap associated with the bridging. *But the affect would probably be too small to fully correct the situation you have. *It would help some, but the problem is really the shape of the panels - they are too flat for your horse. *So going solely on the information you provided, I would be inclined to guess that widening the tree would not yield a result that satisfies you.
Sucks, but o'well... and the saddle hunt continues!!
Bridging can definitely be caused by too narrow a tree, but it can also be caused by other issues, such as a too-flat tree, or the wrong panel configuration. I'd recommend getting a knowledgeable fitter in to see if widening the tree would be a help.
GoForAGallop, thanks for the mention! Just FYI, I'm no longer at Trumbull Mtn. Tack - I'm independent with my own business now.
Do not mean to hijack the thread but I just had my fitter out and when I got my horse the saddle was fine but after about 6 months he has gotten very girthy and I was wondering if it was the saddle. Well his back has come up about an inch! So the tree shape and size is still good the panels, which are foam, are the wrong shape. The suggestion was to change the panels to wool.. does this make any sense or am I just being lead down a bad path? If it works great because there is no way my hubby is going to let me buy another saddle.. I have never had this issue before. He used to have somewhat of an angular back and now it has gotten wider and flatter. no he is not fat he is actually very fit....
Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
"And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"
Foam-to-wool conversions can be done, but aren't always successful - it depends on the panels. Given that foam panels are thinner than wool b/c an inch of foam cushions more effectively than an inch of wool, there's not always enough room inside the panel for sufficient wool to cushion the horse's back from the tree. This often means the panels must be overstuffed to get enough wool to protect the horse's back, and they wind up looking like leather pipes with very little actual bearing surface.
now I am worried about ruining my saddle! it does fit the way it is now so I guess I have to wait and see... oh boy..
Some foam to wool conversions are fine. I bought a saddle once that had already been converted and had no problems with it. I think you need to discuss it with your fitter and find out how often/how successful they've been doing this job with your brand of saddle.
In addition, some manufacturers of saddles with foam panels will do a panel replacement if your horse changes shape. I believe it runs about $400 but that's still less than a new saddle.
I had this situation last year. I had a high end saddle that fit my horse perfectly when I bought it. A year later it was making his back sore. I chose to sell the saddle as I had bought it used for a good price (in fact, I made a good profit on it). I found another saddle that was better for my horse. I don't know what brand saddle you have or what the resale value is. If you buy new it may be better to have the panels replaced.
I was sad to send that saddle along. It had been my "dream" saddle and it took me a long time to find one used that had all of the specs I was looking for. It will likely be the last foam paneled saddle that I will buy because it was frustrating that relatively minor changes in my horse (my horse was 12 and his work really didn't change over the course of that year) made it unworkable.