I bought this saddle brand new and just put it on the horse for fit the other day but didn't girth it up (silly me). here are pictures of the saddle girthed up but no pads, etc. I was advised by someone previously that I may have the saddle too far forward so I put it on a little further back this time. I'd love any thoughts on the positioning, fit and gullet size (as this has the Pessoa x-change gullet system and comes standard with a medium-wide plate).
It's hard to tell from the photos, but it looks as though the saddle may be coming pretty close to the withers - do you have any clearance when you're in the saddle? The tree / plate width appears pretty good, but I'm wondering if the panels have adequate depth to support the front of the saddle. Can you post some photos of the underside of the saddle, and a "naked" conformation shot of your horse? Those would be a big help.
The panels in the front appear to be "half panels" with a wither gusset rather than cut back (as on some Hennig / Schleese saddles). This configuration will suit a horse with fairly big hollows below/behind the withers.
Saddle position looks good in one shot, but agreed that it appears a tad too far forward in the other ...
can you please point out to me where the saddle looks to be in the right spot and where it looks to be too far forward as i didn't move the saddle at all once i girthed it up and started taking pictures. :/
i haven't sat in it yet as i wanted to get ideas of fit before adding pads, etc. this saddle has more spine/wither clearance than the other saddles i've tried on him so that made me hopeful.
the cutback part that i was referring to is the part below the gusset - it "swoops back" for lack of a better way to phrase it and so is a bit recessed from where the flap end is. idk if that makes any sense.
The third link you posted in the original post is the one where the position appears good.
Based on the conformation shots, I think the gusset in the front is a good idea; I'd also say your horse would need a K/skidrow/extended panel to help support the front of the saddle along that rather large wither. And honestly, the "cut out" area is below the tree point, in the "flexible" area of the saddle - that part isn't rigid, so the shoulder can rotate back with no problem, even if it didn't have that configuration. Most saddles with shorter tree points don't require this sort of shoulder relief, since the scapulae can rotate below the points rather than running into them.
Before you mount, you might want to put your pad on, girth the saddle to riding tightness and be sure you have a couple fingers' clearance all the way through the saddle. Sometimes you can have adequate clearance at the very front, but run into issues back by the stirrup bars. If you can post photos of the underside of the saddle, they'd be a help.
thanks kitt - i'll get those pictures of the underneath/panels of the saddle tonight.
can you normally feel clearance of the saddle all the way through the channel when mounted? i can usually feel into the back open area and into the front area but not very far only because (i've assumed) the pad is there and my arm can't fit any further.
i have another saddle that is new to me as well that i was hoping would fit my gelding. i have pictures of that one as well but it's not girthed up in the horse/saddle only pictures. i have ridden him with it twice and it seemed okay with a thinline sheepskin halfpad with the shims in the front.
You normally assess clearance further back under the saddle without the rider, but if you have questions about it and don't have a fitter to do a hands-on, you can sprinkle baby powder on the horse's spine, put the saddle on carefully, girth up and mount. Then ride a few moments, dismount, take off your saddle, and see if there's any baby powder in the channel of the saddle. If so, the saddle's making contact.
The second saddle seems a bit close to the withers as well. If this horse's conformation is similar to your other horse's build, he may also need the full front or wither gusset, and a deeper front panel.
The PDS with Alto panels is designed for the horse with high withers/low back, but I agree it looks like your clearance may not be quite enough. I like to put the saddle on with girth but *without* a pad, sit in it, and check clearance by trying to pass a whip directly down the center of the channel. If the saddle is sitting too low under you/at the stirrup bars, the whip won't pass through. If it goes easily and you can wiggle it from one side of the spine to the other, you're in good shape at least at a standstill. The baby powder test will tell you if clearance remains as you move.
yes arabiansrock - i think the PDS fits WAY better than the other saddle as well. i'll have to try the whip test and see how that goes (brilliant idea btw).
as far as the alto panel model - well that's a good question. i was told two different things with this saddle - one that the alto clearly has the gussets but then that they all have the gussets so... it could go either way. the tag solely says the seat size and gullet plate. i'll look again when i get home this evening.
At the risk of sounding like a complete idiot, since you have a pro weighing in here, but the second saddle looks very low in the front (too wide). I was told the cantle should be about an inch higher than the pommel, and in the picture, your pelvis looks tipped forward. If you can get the first saddle fitted it looks like a better bet.
How do they compare to ride in?
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bristol bay - to answer your question i'm not sure the width of the second saddle other than to say it's a medium tree (and we know that can mean a wide range of things) and with the thinline pad with shims it actually clears his withers/spine pretty well (not to say that's the best solution). thinking about it now i would say that i felt i was a little further forward when riding in this saddle however that isn't to say i haven't been riding behind the motion in my previous saddle as i quite often felt i was left behind.
I don't want to sound like a jerk but in the first pics you posted which I assume are quite current your horse looks quite under weight. This can be one of the reasons he doesn't want to stand square and will seriously affect your saddle fit. Right now his spine is protruding because he doesn't have a good topline. Topline will give the saddle somewhere to sit that's more padded than the spine will every be.
This saddle might even fit well once your horse has more weight/muscle/topline.
I would suggest talking to your vet and a nutritionist or someone who just knows a lot about feeding. Having a good topline saves a lot of saddle fitting whoes.
Good luck with your saddle saddle search and I have been curious about those PDS's saddle so let us know how it goes!
chiropractor/body work is on the books for this horse. i've just moved him to a new barn (within the last month) as he was wasting away (clearly) on the local hay they were feeding there. so i am aware of his lack of weight and muscle which we are working on - he is on a diet specifically designed to help him put the weight back on and he has put on weight since the move so that's a good sign in my book.
due to circumstances (i moved from NV to OR within the last year) and then the weight loss he hasn't been ridden more than 5 times (no more than walk with spurts of trot) in the last year. all of this combined and you get what you see here. i don't want to ask him to start working again unless i have a saddle that i know isn't going to inhibit his ability to work properly and comfortably so he can put the muscle back on.
i appreciate your concern for the horse - thank you.
To help him redevelop his topline and abdominal strength, I would lunge 3-4 days a week in a surcingle, bridle and vienna sidereins(also known as sliding sidereins). That way you won't have to worry about poor saddle fit while he is developing his muscles again.
And in the meantime, you could locate a Master Saddler to look at him after he has gained some topline muscles and weight.