So after a very LONG & agonizing recovery time after one of my working students used a lesson saddle on my jumper and tore his withers up, I'm now totally paranoid about my saddle fit.
I've had friends that do some saddle fitting (not professionally) look at it, & my (very limited) knowledge all say my personal saddle fits him OK (not great). I've added a thinline with it to try to correct some of the issues but I'm just not happy. I feel like it's affecting his movement (he's always been one to want to go on a shorter stride but it seems to be exaggerated since the "incident"). He's super athletic and shouldn't have any issue opening up his step, so I really feel like its a saddle fit issue... or atleast its not helping.
He has a huge shoulder & high withers, he also lost a lot of his topline after the saddle issue as he was out of work for 2 months.
I have a medium tree Antares that I bought used. The horse it was built for has a VERY similar build to my guy, just a bit wider through the back (WB but had a huge shoulder & high wither).
Wow, he has a sharp and *long* set of withers on him, eh?
Those white hairs on 'em that you can see from one of the straight behind shots: What saddle produced those? And those are on the "back half" of the withers? Some saddle's gullet was sliding up into his withers?
I notice that the panels on this saddle don't "wrap around" his back very well. I see that in the naked 3/4 shots, and especially in the naked from behind shot. Back there, see how the panels seem to curve up into the gullet before his back does?
From there: If you palpate his back, where does he seem sore? After all, the horse's opinion is the best arbiter of saddle fit. That might also tell you where in his back he's sore enough that he doesn't want to move.
Lemme know and I'll see if I can help you figure it out.
PS: Other saddles you have tried and how they looked/how he went?
He's not sore (although he was chiroed about 3 weeks ago), just tight through the shoulder under saddle, won't open his trot or canter stride up. One of my lesson saddles (dover circuit medium tree) and a working student caused his pressure scars.
The withers are definitely monsters (I'm not sure if I can have babies after riding him bareback while he was recuperating ), I am getting a sinking suspicion nothing "off the rack" will fit him with those + his shoulder.
Pessoa AMS Alto Panel, possibly with a MW gullet installed.
My trainer has a horse with withers like that, compounded by a sway back. She never thought she would find an "off the rack" fit for him, but the Pessoa worked. It gave clearance to the wither while allowing the tree to be wide enough not to interfere with his shoulder.
The saddle in your pics is too narrow, and the panels are not making good contact (which reduces the weight-bearing area and increases pressure where the panels *do* make contact.
With his build, you might want to check out Prestige saddles. They're built with high clearance, a wide (but not crazy-wide) channel and have upswept panels. The Roma Jump in particular is a great saddle for the price ($2100)... leather breaks in quickly, seat and kneepads are comfy, long and forward flap options (with front and rear blocks), machine-adjustable tree and wool-flocked.
I had an older pessoa before I bought my antares and his old owner rode him in an old old pessoa. I've been interested in their new gullet system... anyone have any experience with it?
Like all gullet systems, the Pessoa just allows you to change the width at the front. You still have to make sure the tree/panel shape is appropriate. The option for the ALTO panels, though, is something that might work for your guy... designed for the horse with high withers/relatively low back. Built up so you get clearance, but also are able to sit level. More depth to seat and bigger blocks than the older Pessoa A/O. $2345 and about 3-4 weeks to build if you can't find one in stock.
Does the Roma ride anything like the Nona Garsons? One of my clients had one and I couldn't get over how narrow the twist was. Never seemed to fit any horse or rider right.
No... *totally* different saddle. The Nona has always been too narrow for my taste, too. On the Roma, both twist and seat are comfortably wider, and the seat is squishy in a very nice way. Blocks are bigger. And instead of the trademark white rawhide on cantle, there is now a very subtle piping at the rear of the cantle.