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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 27, 2005
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    489

    Default Saddle/panel length vs. back length

    So...I got to thinking the other day after the fitter was here. The standard rule is that where the last rib ends at the top, so should the saddle...it shouldn't go past that spot on the back because of weight-bearing capability. And then I got to wondering...how do all the western saddles get away with it? They extend well beyond the last rib and extend the weight bearing surface quite a bit further. Anybody have the answer?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
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    6,742

    Default

    Just posted about this yesterday in the Eventing forum. With any luck, this will answer your question.
    http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...78#post6942178
    ________________________
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2009
    Posts
    5,975

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Unfforgettable View Post
    So...I got to thinking the other day after the fitter was here. The standard rule is that where the last rib ends at the top, so should the saddle...it shouldn't go past that spot on the back because of weight-bearing capability. And then I got to wondering...how do all the western saddles get away with it? They extend well beyond the last rib and extend the weight bearing surface quite a bit further. Anybody have the answer?
    To be blunt, I see a lot of western horses with muscle atrophy (sometimes through the whole saddle bearing area ) & saddle scars, some are very reactive to back palpation, some are completely shutdown ...
    I do know some western riders that are very concerned about saddle fit (they are very careful with saddle length as well as looking for pressure points & shoulder restriction etc), some of whom only use custom made saddles.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
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    Columbus, OH
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    6,742

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    To be blunt, I see a lot of western horses with muscle atrophy (sometimes through the whole saddle bearing area ) & saddle scars, some are very reactive to back palpation, some are completely shutdown ...
    I do know some western riders that are very concerned about saddle fit (they are very careful with saddle length as well as looking for pressure points & shoulder restriction etc), some of whom only use custom made saddles.
    Agree with this too. I don't mean to imply that Western saddles are easy to fit just because they have a big bearing surface. Imagine a Western saddle with a big bearing surface that's bridging badly in the middle, thereby concentrating all the weight on the very front and very back of the saddle. Since the very back edge of a Western saddle is likely located well past the 18th thoracic vertebrae, that's a huge fitting problem and would make the horse very sore.

    But I think alto and I would agree that a well-fitted Western saddle can be very comfortable for a horse and allow muscle growth. Provided a Western saddle is well fitted, it can distribute the rider's weight even more effectively than most English saddles.

    The problem is finding a well-fitted Western saddle. As in the English world, Western riders vary in their tolerance (and recognition of) a well-fitted versus poorly-fitted saddle. And even on a Western saddle, there's a limit to how far back the saddle extend onto the back/flanks. In a world where the horses tend to be smaller and the riders are sometimes much bigger--picture a 15-hand reining horse with a big ol' Jim Bob rider in the saddle--there can still be problems with saddles whose bars are too long for the horse's back.
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



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