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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 16, 2006
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    312

    Default Saddle Fit Opinion?

    I have a saddle on trial and can't tell whether the tree is too narrow. Does anyone have any opinions on the pictures? This is saddle #6 to try on this guy and is the best so far, but still not sure if it fits. This is a skinny TB and the other options were sitting too low on the withers. Looking for an interim saddle to use while he is filling out.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/2718399...7633251464145/



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 11, 2001
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    Tennessee
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    Girth it up, ride around in it for 15 minutes, then take pictures--ideally without a saddle pad.



  3. #3
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    Sep. 28, 2001
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    Kentucky
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    To me, it looks too long for his back. Find his last rib, follow it up and that is where the panels should end. At least from the picture, it looks like it extends beyond that.

    I can sympathize with you; I have tried at least 15 on my guy and haven't found a match yet. Like subk said, girth it up and ride in it. I also stick my hand under the pommel and down the sides a bit to see if it is pinching as the horse moves.



  4. #4
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    Jun. 9, 2005
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    Unionville, PA
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    I think it looks fine in the front, but I don't like the way the panels are sitting in the rear view.
    Delaware Park Canter Volunteer
    http://www.canterusa.org/



  5. #5
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    Apr. 11, 2001
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    Tennessee
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    Could someone point me to some expert opinion about the panesl not being longer than the last rib. I have heard it now several times in the last few weeks and it is a first for me. I 'd like to know more about the concept. I am suspicious of it for no other reason than I have ridden in western tack which doesn't even begin to comply...



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 28, 2001
    Location
    Kentucky
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    http://www.schleese.com/Schleese-Sad...-Saddle-Length

    http://www.animavet.com/SaddleFit.pdf

    This is one of the issues I have been having. I have a 16.3 large boned TB with a normal length back. Unfortunately, most of it is beyond the ribcage. And I have really long legs so I need a saddle with a decent amount of room. It isn't easy, especially on a budget!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 16, 2006
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    312

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    Okay, I have added photos after a short ride, with girth but pad removed. I see where it might be a little long as well. Any other opinions?

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/271839...7633251464145/



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by subk View Post
    Could someone point me to some expert opinion about the panesl not being longer than the last rib. I have heard it now several times in the last few weeks and it is a first for me. I 'd like to know more about the concept. I am suspicious of it for no other reason than I have ridden in western tack which doesn't even begin to comply...
    Western saddles fit and distribute weight very differently than English saddles, so it's much less of a concern. A Western saddle's theory is to spread weight as evenly as possible, across as broad an area as possible. English saddles concentrate the weight over a much smaller area, so it's a far more pressing issue (pardon the pun) for English tack. With Western saddles, it's almost impossible to dig into the horse's flank right behind the rib cage. With English saddles, it's very possible. (And as a caveat, I should say that this doesn't necessarily make Western saddles easier to fit. Imagine how badly you could sore a horse if a Western saddle bridged and the weight was concentrating at the front and back edges of a big, heavy rectangle. And there are limits, too, to how long a Western saddle can be without soring a horse--it's just a longer bearing area than for English saddles, which really should stop at the 18th thoracic vertebra.)

    That said, it isn't as simple as "short-backed horses therefore need to wear shorter English saddles." Depending on the breed and the individual animal, the angle and shape of the rib cage can vary. I've seen some Morgans and QHes where the rib cage practically extends back to the point of the hip; I'm exaggerating, of course, but not by much. By contrast, I've seen some Thoroughbreds whose rib cages are very slopey and despite having backs that look long to the naked eye, they have a pretty small bearing surface.

    To complicate this matter, it's also a question of how the saddle/panels are built vis-a-vis the horse's back shape, how the rider seat is designed, etc. For example, you'll see a lot of saddles that are just VERY gently upswept in the rear of the panel, and these saddles are often trying to buy an extra inch or two of room for the rider without truly extending the bearing surface against the horse's back. Whether that's a good idea or not is a controversial topic for another day. There are also other architectural gimmicks that seek to extend the bearing surface for the rider without extending the length of the panel.

    OP, my strong guess is that your horse has a fairly straight topline and this curvy-treed Ainsley just isn't a match. The lack of contact in the rear of the panel, and the surprisingly high wither clearance in the front (considering that particular Ainsley doesn't have thick/fat panels on it) are symptoms of the overly curvy tree. And because of this mismatch, the saddle has slid back about 1-2 inches behind where it would really sit if it fit correctly. Hence all this chatter about the saddle being "too long for the horse." I don't think it's really too long. I think it's the wrong shape and that has caused it to slide back.

    I admit that without a picture of the horse unsaddled, this is just a theory. But let's say that if I were a betting woman, I'd be putting money down on the table.

    As for the rest of you...you guys are killing me. I'm in the process of setting up an online consultation business where in exchange for a donation to an equine 501c3 charity, I'd offer recommendations about which saddles might best fit the horse, rider, budget, and riding goals. Unlike many saddle fitters, I am fluent in 95% of the brands on the market, from MSRP $400 all the way up to MSRP $5000+. Most traditional fitters understandably specialize in only a handful of brands. But alas, that project is on the back burner until the end of April because it's crunch time at my day job.
    Last edited by jn4jenny; Apr. 18, 2013 at 05:37 PM.
    ________________________
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    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels


    4 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 4, 2004
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    ^ Let us know when you do!! I love your posts and have some burning saddle questions so I can't wait!


    2 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep. 28, 2001
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    Kentucky
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    Default

    Yea please hurry up with it...I've been saddleless for a long time now!



  11. #11
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    Oct. 26, 2007
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    San Jose, Ca
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    Default

    To me, it looks like a snug fit now - and the horse is really lacking weight / condition. Once he puts on weight, and builds some muscle, I do not think this saddle would still fit.

    With a horse in this condition, I would error on the side of too wide, and use a filler pad until the horse builds a top line.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 23, 2004
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    Camden, De
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    JNJ- I totally would pay for that!!!


    3 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2004
    Location
    Sandgate, VT
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    The tree width looks acceptable, but I'm not sure I'm crazy about the spot where the panels start in the front - looks like it's bringing the panels pretty close to the spine. I also question the channel width in back - looks narrow - and I wonder if the curve of the tree is correct - the rear panels look almost as though they're floating a bit in back when the saddle's girthed (though that could be the shadow). I'd also check clearance back by the stirrup bars to make sure there's no contact with the spine in that area.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr. 11, 2001
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    Tennessee
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    Quote Originally Posted by jn4jenny View Post
    OP, my strong guess is that your horse has a fairly straight topline and this curvy-treed Ainsley just isn't a match. The lack of contact in the rear of the panel, and the surprisingly high wither clearance in the front (considering that particular Ainsley doesn't have thick/fat panels on it) are symptoms of the overly curvy tree.
    Truly not trying to be contrary, but I've owned a couple Ainsley's--used one at the upper levels--and my experience with them is that they are anything but "curvy" as a brand. In fact I bought one of mine at the recommendation of a master saddle fitter who at the time told me that Ainsley's do a great job of fitting "flat-backs typical of TBs." She also said that the saddle would probably fit a wide variety of classic TB types (since they tend to be flatter backed) and over the years she was proven correct as it's been extensively used on at least a half a dozen TBs with an excellent fit.

    It's been 10 years or so, so maybe things have changed and they are making them differently now, but that would be a shame as it was something of the brand's "niche."



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2013
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    66

    Default

    Fitting a saddle via pictures? Not really a good idea at all. Hire a saddle fitter.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
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    Columbus, OH
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    Quote Originally Posted by subk View Post
    Truly not trying to be contrary, but I've owned a couple Ainsley's--used one at the upper levels--and my experience with them is that they are anything but "curvy" as a brand. In fact I bought one of mine at the recommendation of a master saddle fitter who at the time told me that Ainsley's do a great job of fitting "flat-backs typical of TBs." She also said that the saddle would probably fit a wide variety of classic TB types (since they tend to be flatter backed) and over the years she was proven correct as it's been extensively used on at least a half a dozen TBs with an excellent fit.

    It's been 10 years or so, so maybe things have changed and they are making them differently now, but that would be a shame as it was something of the brand's "niche."
    Ainsley tends to have a lot of variation in their lineup, not only across models (Ainsley Chester v. Ainsley Leicester v. Ainsley Pro National) but also across vintages of particular models. That's true of many brands, but it's especially true of Ainsley. For a good time, try doing a Google Image Search for the Ainsley Pro National, and you'll start to get a feel for the enormous spread in tree curvature and panel construction over time.

    So when I said "this Ainsley," I really meant just this Ainsley, the one I see in the pictures. In fact, I have to warn people who are chasing Ainsleys not to order them sight unseen because they may not get what they think they're getting.

    The moral of the story: In the saddle world, brands and models morph over time just like they do in the car world. As in the car world, some brands have more diversity in their lineup than others. Some brands remodel their products more often than others, and for a variety of reasons.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if your 10-year-old Ainsley was super flat, based on some of the other older Ainsleys I've seen. And let me guess: it wears like iron and you'll probably still have it in 20 years!

    As an aside, AFAIK Ainsley is no longer being manufactured.
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr. 16, 2006
    Posts
    312

    Default

    Thanks for the opinions, everyone. Not sure that this one is going to work as the horse seems uncomfortable in the canter transitions whereas he is not in my County saddle (which I don't think is optimal either).

    Btw, horsecatcher, I have a saddle fitter coming out tomorrow and she will be bringing other saddles to try.



  18. #18
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    Jun. 30, 2009
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    If horse is more comfortable in the County & you have a fitter coming out, why not just have the County adjusted & use a shimmable pad until horse has improved body condition/muscling - then look for a saddle that really fits ...



  19. #19
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    Feb. 28, 2004
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    Sandgate, VT
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    Quote Originally Posted by horsecatcher View Post
    Fitting a saddle via pictures? Not really a good idea at all. Hire a saddle fitter.
    It's not the optimal way, no question, but for those who don't have access to a good fitter within a reasonable distance, it can be done. You need a fitter who's experienced in long-distance fitting and who'll give you a trial period and work closely with you during the trial, and you have to be willing to answer questions and provide lots of photos ... but it's doable. Both Equestrian Imports and Panther Run Saddlery have fitters who've been doing long-distance fitting successfully for years.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2002
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    Eastern MA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beam Me Up View Post
    ^ Let us know when you do!! I love your posts and have some burning saddle questions so I can't wait!
    Seriously! I second this!



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