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Arab/TB - Treeless or Broadback/Cob???

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  • Arab/TB - Treeless or Broadback/Cob???

    To start off after a year of trying saddles on my Arab/TB gelding I am down to my last bit of patience (and money).

    The gelding is now obese because he can live on the fumes of food and because he has not been ridden regularly (other than hacks bareback at a walk - because I do not have the skill to trot bareback without pulling on his mouth).

    I have lost a year of training/conditioning him due to not having a saddle for him.

    The gelding, Fox, is "pear" shaped meaning he has a wide back (and belly thanks to being fat) and narrow shoulders/girth. He also has a very laid back shoulder. His withers are medium height. His back dips behind the wither and then slopes "up" to his loin. So the saddles that fits without pinching slide forward when he trots and the saddles that don't slide forward pinch behind his shoulders.

    Here is a picture of him from last winter (wooly and fat):

    Finally we have found two saddles that fit him - a treeless (I am looking the Barefoot Tahoe) and a Thorowgood broadback/cob. But both present their own problems.

    I have never had a treeless and I am nervous about the following:
    - the saddle pads I have to buy to go with it seem expensive.
    - I worry about pressure on the spine.
    - will I be able to show in it (at local dressage shows - nothing fancy)?
    - can you jump small fences in them?

    The best thing about the treeless is that it was the only saddle not to slide forward on him. I also like the short flaps because I have freakishly short legs.

    Worries about the Thorowgood Broadback:
    - I hate synthetics (except equisuede - but the broadback is not equisuede).
    - The flap length is long for me.
    - it slides forward in trot (but the one I tried had a x-wide gullet - I was hoping if I ordered a med-wide and wide gullet and a no-slip saddle pad that it may not slip forward).

    What I like about the Broadback is that I know I can show in it. That I can use regular fittings with it. I know that I won't be sitting on the spine of the horse. I can also jump small fences in it.

    Fortunately I discovered last night that my other horse's Jaguar fits him if I use it with a Thinline pad but I can't afford another one (I tried it in the spring and it didn't fit him then) - so as of last night I have something to ride him in until I find him his own saddle or until he changes shape AGAIN!

    I appreciate any help. I am on a budget though so custom saddles or another Jaguar is definitely out of the question.

    I really like this gelding (he is a saint!) but if I had known he was going to be this hard to fit a saddle to I would have never bought him. Before the treeless and broadback fit him I was getting ready to give up and buy him a western saddle and teach him to barrel race.
    Be firm, fair, kind, clear, consistent, patient, and, above all else, maintain a sense of humour.

  • #2

    I have a Quarter/Arab...he is built much like your guy. Wide in the shoulders...medium tree width, etc. Very round, gains weight by sniffing the air.

    What I have found...is that problem isn't the tree, as much as it is the padding in the shoulder area of the saddle.

    Have you had a good saddle fitter take a look at him? That would be where I would start. They may be able to made adjustments to the saddle to help with fit. We had to remove a lot of padding in the front of the saddle, just below the gullet...so that he had room to move his shoulders.

    I have a Cliff-Barnsby saddle that I LOVE! Just found it. Fits him great.

    I also dislike synthetics.

    I do not believe there is any reason why you couldn't show in a treeless saddle? I don't currently show much...and my advice would be to check wth USDF or USEF for rules.

    It's extremely important that the saddle fits properly for both you and the horse...I would find a good saddle fitter and have them take a look at the saddles you are evaluating, and get their opinions. I would also have them look at any of your current saddles and see if a reflocking or fitting would take care of the problem.
    Unashamed Member of the Dressage Arab Clique
    CRAYOLA POSSE= Thistle


    • Original Poster

      Thanks for the suggestions...

      I tried to get a saddle fitter to come to my area but I couldn't get enough other people interested to cover the cost of her coming (she is quite far away).

      Like I said I am pretty much down to my last few hundred dollars to find this horse a saddle.
      Be firm, fair, kind, clear, consistent, patient, and, above all else, maintain a sense of humour.


      • #4
        Have you tried a saddle with wither gussets?

        Send a wither tracing to Trumble Mountain Tack shop....I highly recommend them!


        • Original Poster

          The Jaguar that almost fits him has small wither gussets.

          I never thought that would make the difference. I will check out your suggestion. Thanks.
          Be firm, fair, kind, clear, consistent, patient, and, above all else, maintain a sense of humour.


          • Original Poster

            Too expensive..

            Ouch! I just went to their website and (except for the Thorowgood) all of their saddles are out of my price range. I am NOT looking to spend more that $800.
            Be firm, fair, kind, clear, consistent, patient, and, above all else, maintain a sense of humour.


            • #7
              I'm not sure I understand why you don't just use your Jaguar on both horses if it fits him? You can't ride two horses at once, and since he's so out of shape he's likely to change a lot in the coming months, so fitting him with a saddle now may be a bit of a short term thing anyway.


              • #8
                I just saw your budget of $800...

                however, if you wanted all the bells and whistles of a thorowgood yet in leather, there are a couple of options that I know of.

                #1 - the Tgood T8 has a leather seat and knee rolls but other synthetic parts.

                #2 - Kent & Masters is made on the same tree and offers the same hi-wither, standard, cob options, with the changeable gullets in each line. It is all leather, and COMFY (haha I own one and LOVE it) I believe it was around $1600

                If you wanted to go very custom you could look at Hastilow, but those will pop you over the 2k mark.

                Hope this helps!
                My blog: Change of Pace - Retraining a standardbred via dressage


                • Original Poster

                  Because I have more horses than I have time to ride myself (we bought a farm last year and it takes up more of our time than we ever could have imagined) so I would very much like to be able to find a rider for this gelding - which means he will need his own saddle. I am however very happy to discover that I can at least ride him some now that the Jaguar fits him until I can find a permanent saddle for him.

                  I also hope to be able to use him for his original intended purpose which was as a "spare" horse so that friends, family and 4-Hers could ride with me (which is another reason he needs his own saddle).

                  And eventually I would like to sell him (with a saddle that fits him) because I have way more horses than I have time to ride. And he is way to much of an "air fern" to be a "spare" horse, he needs regular work to stay trim.
                  Be firm, fair, kind, clear, consistent, patient, and, above all else, maintain a sense of humour.


                  • #10
                    I would get the thorowgood if I were you. I have a T4. Go on thorowgoods website and they explain how to do a wither tracing and they have a chart you lay the tracing over to determine which gullet you need. Also get an anatomic girth for your boy, it will help with saddle sliding forward, as well as a grippy pad, an example of that is the Barnsby grip pad, smartpak has them.

                    Nobody will know you are in a synthethetic saddle from 10 feet away.


                    • Original Poster

                      Yeah - my budget sucks. But being home owners is way more expensive than we ever would have thought. And I don't want to dip into our emergency fund.
                      Be firm, fair, kind, clear, consistent, patient, and, above all else, maintain a sense of humour.


                      • #12
                        I had to buy wide saddles for the back and then make my own gusset with one of those 20 dollar wintec foam pads.
                        horse.com has the cheapest.

                        enjoy my scribble picture.
                        I cut off the back 1/2. And then cut out a section along the top. cut out sections are in blue.


                        and bam, you have a home made gusset.

                        the other pad I use for correction is this awesome Equinity Performance Pad.
                        It's great for everything.
                        I don't do saddle fitters. I just like to buy saddles that fit. Well I have the QH mare that is built like a hippo. I needed a jumping saddle pront.
                        Cordia hooked me up with one that was wide enough but she's so short backed that the flocking was not quite right and the seat was just a tad too long on her.
                        I folded the Equinity pad over on itself to fill in the bridging which also lifted the back of the saddle just a tad so that it didn't have that pressure point.

                        Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                        • #13
                          I had a Thorowgood T6 for a while and loved it. I would wholeheartedly recommend it in that price range. If the flap is too long on the dressage model, what about the GP or GPD models? They all come in Broadback/Cob size.


                          • #14
                            You might try looking at Stubbens. I ride my Polish Arab in a Siegfried II (close contact) and an Aramis (dressage). He has a WIDE barrel and narrows in the shoulders so both are a 32cm tree (to give you an idea - these are too wide on my husband's 16.2h QH). Even on steep trails, I've never had my saddle slip around. I just use a plain leather Stubben girth - nothing fancy to keep the saddle in place.

                            Best of all, you can get used ones on eBay for $3-400 and if it doesn't fit, they resell pretty easily.


                            • Original Poster

                              Thanks for the help - I think I am going to go with the Thorowgood in the AP model for now (seems to be the best bang for the buck).

                              The first saddle we had for him was a Stubben - it fits him okay but is bad for sliding forward (31 tree). It is also too big for any of us to ride in. It is a 19" and meant for a tall rider. (it is currently in the collection of saddles I have for sale that didn't fit Fox - he could have his own store).
                              Be firm, fair, kind, clear, consistent, patient, and, above all else, maintain a sense of humour.


                              • #16
                                If you decide to go treeless I suggested finding a Freeform. They are far more conventional looking and they have more "structure" to them.

                                You can find the pads on eBay for less $. I bought my saddle off the yahoo treeless forum.

                                I have jumped small fences in mine and find it quite secure (anything substantial and I go with a treed saddle).

                                Yes, you can show in them.

                                I've used mine on a variety of horses with different shapes and it's worked fine on all of them. I really like the fact that you can move the placement of the stirrup attachments AND change the size of the seat.
                                Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by myhorsefaith View Post
                                  #2 - Kent & Masters is made on the same tree and offers the same hi-wither, standard, cob options, with the changeable gullets in each line. It is all leather, and COMFY (haha I own one and LOVE it) I believe it was around $1600
                                  Not to hijack... but....

                                  I have been curious about the Kent & Masters for my little Morgan mare. Would be interested in seeing pics of yours if you have any? They don't seem all that common...
                                  We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                                  • #18
                                    I pm'd you
                                    Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Ysabel View Post
                                      Ouch! I just went to their website and (except for the Thorowgood) all of their saddles are out of my price range. I am NOT looking to spend more that $800.
                                      TMT will happily provide you recommendations based on a wither/back tracing. They sell used saddles too and could keep an eye out for one that suits your horse, you, and your budget. The analysis based on the tracings (+/- photos) could be invaluable to you.

                                      Here are the instructions for wither tracings: http://www.trumbullmtn.com/saddle-fi...ther-tracings/

                                      instructions for supporting photos: http://www.trumbullmtn.com/saddle-fi...addle-fitting/

                                      questionnaire: http://www.trumbullmtn.com/wp-conten...Fitting-Qs.pdf
                                      Dawn Jones-Low
                                      Faerie Court Farm
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