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Maddening Saddle Search

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  • Maddening Saddle Search

    I lurk here a bit, but have only posted about saddle issues

    I have an OTTB who has shark withers with a hollow behind, connected to very large shoulders. Saddle shopping is a nightmare. We've been riding in a Thorowgood T4 high wither model, which has worked for the last couple of years. During spring, a friend of mine was riding him and she must have gotten him in better shape than I had, as his saddle is now too tight.

    I would like a dressage saddle (mine is AP) and I have tried almost everything on consignment from my local tack shop, none of which have fit. I don't want to get a custom saddle, as we're not in competition, nor do I have the budget. As you all know, it's not economically practical to test ride saddles from catalogs either. He can't be THAT weird, there must be something that would fit him. Please help! Any other suggestions or magic solutions? Brand I haven't tried? Treeless? Thanks

    We've tried:

    Wintec Pro (extra wide gullet): pinched and crushed withers

    County Competitor (#4 wide): pinched shoulders

    Kieffer Aachen (med tree): pinched shoulders

    Thornhill Germania (34cm tree): withers pinched in back of pommel area

    Thornhill Vienna (wide tree): pinched shoulders, close to withers

    Passier PS Baum (med tree): pinched shoulders

    Passier Nicole (wide tree): best fit, but still tight, no room for shoulder to move

  • #2
    County. Seriously the best I've worked with for my hard to fit mare and the team that keeps on with you till the end.
    It is rare to see a rider who is truly passionate about the horse and his training, taking a profound interest in dressage with self-abnegation, and making this extraordinarily subtle work one of the dominant motivations of his life.\"


    • #3
      I've owned a shark-finned OTTB. I highly recommend Prestige...easier to find used on a budget. My guy went in a 34 cm. A Custom Saddlery Advantage will also work (available through Dover).

      I tried many of the same saddles you did on him (thornhill, passier, county, kieffer) and they didn't work either.


      • #4
        From reading every saddle thread on here looking for my magic saddle, I ran across the Duett website. They don't have the flat seat/forward flap saddle I am looking for, but I read that they specialize in wide saddles and have some cutback models. Good luck with your search!
        2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

        A helmet saved my life.


        • #5
          Prestige makes awesome saddles. I have a CC by them and LOVE it.

          After searching and searching and finding nothing, I tried out a Precieux for my shark finned TB who's a huge mover and has a larger shoulder. It fits him BEAUTIFULLY and he's going great in it.
          Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.


          • #6
            what gullet are you using in your T4? Can you put in a wider gullet? that might solve your problem.


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by arabiansrock View Post
              what gullet are you using in your T4? Can you put in a wider gullet? that might solve your problem.
              Yes, I can...I have one on order right now! While I love my Thorowgood, the only retailer for it in the entire US is Dover Saddlery. The gullets have been constantly backordered since spring, so I had to order from the UK.

              Thank you all for the suggestions. I'm quite frustrated at this point so it was good to read some other viable options.


              • #8
                You need to go to www.trumbullmtn.com and www.balanceinternational.com

                Black Country saddles can be made with wither gussets to fill in those wither hollows. The problem then becomes when the horse gains muscle - have to have those gussets reduced or removed.

                Balance saddles are done on the principle of fitting wide, and using pads/shims to fill in where muscle isn't. As muscle develops, you can reduce/remove padding. I MUCH prefer this method
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                • #9
                  Greenhawk stocks Thorowgood saddles & lists the complete set of R gullets & S gullets on their website - they would likely be faster than the UK.


                  • #10
                    Trumbull mtn sells thorowgoods and the gullets plates, Hastilow competition usa also carries thorowgoods and sells gullet plates, and Advanced saddle fit also sells the gullet plates. Dover is definitely NOT the only retailer in the usa.

                    The beauty of this saddle is it can keep growing with your horse, at least until his entire back changes shape (if it does).


                    • #11
                      The problem with those gullet plates is they do to at all address high withers AND wither hollows AND wide shoulders. You still have to fit the shoulders, fill in the wither hollows with something, and then hope it also clears the withers.

                      A gullet plate narrow enough to clear withers is nearly always too narrow for the shoulders.
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                      • #12
                        JB,, the hi wither line by thorowgood has panels shaped specifically for the tb types to allow wither clearance and fit the hollows.

                        Case in point, I had a standard tree thorowgood with blue gullet on my new tb. sent pics to saddle fitter. she said need hi wither tree, the panels were hitting too high on his withers and panel not deep enough in rear. Got hi wither model, blue gullet, sent pics to saddle fitter. She said much much better, good wither clearance, good balance.

                        With the thorowgoods, you aren't just changing gullets, you have to have the correct tree for your horse first/. They make a broadback tree, a standard tree, and a high wither tree. All fit quite differently, the tree itself is actually different, as well as the panels.

                        ditto also for kent and masters, fairfax, and hastilow concept saddles, as they are all built on the same series of trees and gullets.


                        • #13
                          Yes, fair enough, if you're talking about the Hi Wither models
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                          • Original Poster

                            Originally posted by arabiansrock View Post
                            Trumbull mtn sells thorowgoods and the gullets plates, Hastilow competition usa also carries thorowgoods and sells gullet plates, and Advanced saddle fit also sells the gullet plates. Dover is definitely NOT the only retailer in the usa.

                            The beauty of this saddle is it can keep growing with your horse, at least until his entire back changes shape (if it does).
                            I had no idea! I must not have been Google searching properly. Thanks!


                            • #15
                              Your welcome. I wouldn't have either, except I have had dealings with all three during my saddle search. Ended up with thorowgood hi wither for tb, and hastilow concept standard tree (with modified panels) for my arab. All of these retailers are very knowledeable, and hastilow and advanced saddle fit both have master saddler adjuster or what ever it is called certifications.


                              • #16
                                If you can find a County (used) in your tree size w/ something called "skid row" panels, it could work; that's what I had for my (sort OT)TB. It worked great.
                                We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


                                • #17
                                  Even better - find a County/Black Country/insert saddle name that fits the horse but leaves "holes" around the withers, and use shims to fill in Then you just have to reduce and maybe eliminate the shims So much easier than constantly redoing flocking
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                  • #18
                                    You need something with wither gussets, probably.

                                    not a dressage saddle, but like this:


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by 2tempe View Post
                                      If you can find a County (used) in your tree size w/ something called "skid row" panels, it could work; that's what I had for my (sort OT)TB. It worked great.

                                      See if County has any demos on sale. I keep getting emails about 20% off demos
                                      I wasn't always a Smurf
                                      Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                                      "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                                      The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                                      • #20
                                        I use the Kieffer Weinn on my broader shouldered TBs and TB draft crosses. The cut is slightly different then the Achen. Though I have two Achens as I love those for most of my other horses