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  1. #1
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    Default Shoulder vs Saddle placement and girthing....

    I was taking a look at how I place the saddle on my boy's back. He has "average" withers with a good shoulder that seems to place the saddle further back than what I am used to so it doesn't limit his gait.

    However this placement also seems to place the girth further back; instead of in the "heartgirth" area right behind his legs its closer to being around his chest. He does open up more in his strides when I put the saddle in that "further back" spot, but it just seems wierd to me. Its probably the space of about 1/2 inch but it makes a huge difference in visual AND in how he moves.

    Normal? Not? I was trying to research it but I am unable to find much. I have never seen a saddle that places that far back and my trainer says he moves a lot better with it back further than up blocking his shoulders.

    Thoughts?
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  2. #2
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    The SS people and the gaited people are HUGE on not blocking shoulders and there are a couple of different girthing systems they use plus the visual of the saddle and girth being back is normal. This one is excessive looking even to me but viewed as normal http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...ed=0CDQQ9QEwBA
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  3. #3
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    Default

    Yeah, the placement ReS's photo shows is excessive in my eye, but yes, that's what the SS people do.

    On my Hanno, I must have the saddle two inches behind his scapula to encourage freer shoulder movement. When I was a kid, I was told the girth should be a hand's width behind the horse's elbow. I set saddles on horses for decades like that, regardless of the animal's conformation.

    Paying attention to the top of the scapula vs. the saddle placement is more valid, IMO. Placed that way, though, the girth is way more than a hand's width behind the elbow. You have to listen to your horse. If he works happier that way, that's what you do.



  4. #4
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    Nov. 16, 2004
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ReSomething View Post
    The SS people and the gaited people are HUGE on not blocking shoulders and there are a couple of different girthing systems they use plus the visual of the saddle and girth being back is normal. This one is excessive looking even to me but viewed as normal http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...ed=0CDQQ9QEwBA
    That rider is sitting on ligaments that far back. I guess that's how they get the desired hollow look that they love so much.

    I have 2 mares with very broad and deep shoulders so the girth isn't behind the elbow, but back another 4 inches or so. This has helped both immensely with reaching out more. I didn't understand what you meant about the girth being around the chest.


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  5. #5
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    Default

    My current biggest pet peeve is someone placing the saddle too far forward on a horse. It should be placed behind the scapula, even though this means the girth will generally sit behind the horse's "girth spot". An anatomical girth will help with this - which is the reason I have switched over to using only those.
    Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous
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  6. #6
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    Wow that is far back! Here's a picture of us. I believe it's in the place.

    What I mean by the chest is that it is not in the "heartgirth" area that I learned as a young rider as where the girth "should" nestle (right behind the leg). Here's a photos showing it in the spot (post riding) where he prefers (we no longer use the fluff pad)

    http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/...ps3cb65460.jpg
    Proud member of the Short Riders Clique
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  7. #7
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    I have a Western saddle and it has a 3/4 rig, which means the cinch sits back further. Really the only thing wrong with that is if we were to go downhill and the saddle were to start slipping forward so the cinch loosened, but the saddle is sitting in the sweet spot, ie if I put it on his back and ride with the cinch quite loose the saddle wants to sit pretty much in a particular spot as we go through changes in terrain. The photo is from an angle, so the distance back is minimized, but to my eye it looks comfortably placed and not pommel high as so many do. The anatomic girth sounds like a good choice in this case.
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  8. #8
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    Yeah its the clearest photo I have of it unfortunately. Its more than a handwith (I wear a size 7ish in gloves for reference), and behind where I could consider the natural "girth" spot.
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  9. #9
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    It has to be where it has to be. I'd be willing to bet that if you put it further forward, it ends up there after you ride anyway. Many feel compelled to use a breastplate to hold it in that spot. Please don't.



  10. #10
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    Hey pattnic, what girth do you use? I am going to have to break down and get one, my TB has the tiniest girth channel ever AND has a huge rib cage, so it always wants to slid forward into the girth channel, which brings the saddle too far forward.

    You can see what I mean here.
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  11. #11
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    Dec. 19, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finding Serenity View Post
    Yeah its the clearest photo I have of it unfortunately. Its more than a handwith (I wear a size 7ish in gloves for reference), and behind where I could consider the natural "girth" spot.
    What a lovely appy! A huge pet peeve of mine is people who insist the saddle has to be practically ON the withers/shoulder blades and then use every ounce of strength in their body to yank the girth up crazy tight. Then they wonder why the horse is uncomfortable being ridden... sigh. Anyway OP, your saddle is NOT too far back at all. I always trace the shoulder blade area with my hand and set the saddle 2-3 finger widths behind the back edge. I think people are accustomed to seeing saddles perched high up on the necks of horses and to have it in a different, more neutral and natural spot, freaks people out.



  12. #12
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    I was taught that with a horse with a "standard" conformation you place the saddle just behind the withers and then gently "rock" it from side to side. It will naturally move back a bit and then stop.* My first instructor called this the "saddle pocket." Check the postion (clear of the shoulders and not excessively far back) and girth it up.

    Some horse conformations requrie that breast collars or cruppers be used to help maintain saddle position.

    The extreme rear position (and note that not only is the saddle far back the rider has their butt on the cantle and feet half way to the dashboard) shown is peculiar to the SS and gaited horse world. Hollowing the back raises the front end. "Front end action" wins blue ribbons. I guess what it does to the back would be a topic for another day.

    G.

    *It takes a bit of practice to get this right. You don't want to force the saddle to move back; you want the rear motion to be triggered by the horizontal "rocking" motion.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guilherme View Post
    I was taught that with a horse with a "standard" conformation you place the saddle just behind the withers and then gently "rock" it from side to side. It will naturally move back a bit and then stop.* My first instructor called this the "saddle pocket." Check the postion (clear of the shoulders and not excessively far back) and girth it up.

    Some horse conformations requrie that breast collars or cruppers be used to help maintain saddle position.

    The extreme rear position (and note that not only is the saddle far back the rider has their butt on the cantle and feet half way to the dashboard) shown is peculiar to the SS and gaited horse world. Hollowing the back raises the front end. "Front end action" wins blue ribbons. I guess what it does to the back would be a topic for another day.

    G.

    *It takes a bit of practice to get this right. You don't want to force the saddle to move back; you want the rear motion to be triggered by the horizontal "rocking" motion.
    Yes, I have the large ribcage, narrow girth pocket, huge shoulder conformation. I use a crupper to keep the saddle and girth from slipping forward during the ride due to the narrow girth pocket--the girth really wants to migrate to that spot. The crupper works well. Though I do get some funny looks as cruppers seem most commonly used with ponies, and my guy will never be mistaken for a pony.



  14. #14
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    Glad op posted this- an old "trainer" of mine said put saddle on top of shoulders, well once we got going ol QH pushed that saddle back off and where it wanted to be anyway which was further back. I thought "trainer" was wingnut about some things (yall agreed on this) and now I can add to the list
    “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by pattnic View Post
    My current biggest pet peeve is someone placing the saddle too far forward on a horse. It should be placed behind the scapula, even though this means the girth will generally sit behind the horse's "girth spot". An anatomical girth will help with this - which is the reason I have switched over to using only those.
    I don't know which I like more, your answer or your sig line...meh, gotta go with the sig line!



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finding Serenity View Post
    Wow that is far back! Here's a picture of us. I believe it's in the place.

    What I mean by the chest is that it is not in the "heartgirth" area that I learned as a young rider as where the girth "should" nestle (right behind the leg). Here's a photos showing it in the spot (post riding) where he prefers (we no longer use the fluff pad)

    http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/...ps3cb65460.jpg
    That's probably about where my girths end up too; I also saddle to have the saddle behind the scapula, and I stretch their front legs forward to get any skin out from under the girth so it isn't crinkled up under there.



  17. #17
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    But I thought this was the perfect spot to put the saddle on a pony!
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  18. #18
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    Sep. 19, 2013
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    Wow that poor pony!

    And thanks for the responses everyone I was always taught to put it a little ahead, because it will slip back while riding... always took longer to warm up as well because the saddle had to "slip back".

    I did an evaluation today on a mini lunge lesson with him (work in progress....). He definitely prefers it in the "sweet spot" for him right off the bat so I will have to just be aware of where I put it to begin with. Thankfully the girth doesn't slide at all but I also do the "stretches" before getting on to make sure he has no pinching etc.
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  19. #19
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    This was a lesson I had to learn as well. My horse goes much better and is much more comfy with the saddle back a bit. He's got big shoulders and practically no withers (Appendix QH). I've had many people tell me, your saddle is too far back. Um, nope. Had professional saddle fitter out many times to check the fit, etc. And where I put it, is perfect for him. I put the saddle pad all the way onto his withers and then place my saddle gently down. Then push it back until it hits HIS sweet spot. As long as he's happy, that's all that matters.



  20. #20
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    My horse will buck if the saddle is too far forward and interferes with her shoulder blades. If it's only a little too far up, the buck doesn't happen until she tries to extend her gaits, but if it's way too far forward, you won't even get into the saddle before she lets you know. A bit further back saves everyone a lot of time and effort and makes for a much happier ride.

    'plash



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