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Dressage Saddle for Downhill, Short Backed Pony! Help! (PIC)

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  • Dressage Saddle for Downhill, Short Backed Pony! Help! (PIC)

    My 3.5 year old is in a pretty big downhill stage right now. I need to get a saddle that isn't going to slide onto her shoulder and doesn't have a gusseted panel as they sit too far back on her lumbar. I've been looking at a few brands and want some opinions...or add suggestions as you find them!

    I need a high pommel as she HATES when you are anywhere near her downhill withers. My fitter thinks getting me up and back a little will help her to move out more as she loves it when I sit behind the motion right now. Medium to Wide twist. I'm a 17.5" but I can cram into a 16.5" if needed. I prefer hidden blocks as I have a long femur and some of the external blocks can feel confining to me.

    Here is a link to a picture of the little bugger. She's 13.3hh for referance. She's a little more croup high now then she is in this picture from 3 months ago: http://s37.photobucket.com/albums/e5...20036-orig.jpg

    I've been told we need a forward set billet or point billets to help it stay back. Tried an anatomical girth with no luck. A high pommel. Upswept panels. Prefer wood tree and wool flocking so it can be adjusted...or better yet adjustable. I'm loving the Lovatt & Ricketts with the wellup tree as right now I'm in a Rembrandt Integra with an adjustable tree and it's great for the youngsters!

    Any suggestions? I've been told Lovatt & Ricketts (Arabian Saddle Company), Karl Niedersuss and old ancient passiers and stubbens are good for the short backed horse that saddles slide onto the withers. Thanks in advance and feel free to make suggestions! I'm hoping to stay under $1000 as this is just a transitional saddle and I'm hoping to keep my other saddle for when she grows up.
    Please excuse the typos...I'm always on my iPhone and autocorrect is not my friend. Yes I mean mares autocorrect...not mates.

  • #2
    Smith Worthington Saddles

    Might want to look at Smith Worthington saddles. Seems like they usually fit a broad back well, they will adjust the tree and fit in their shop (US made).

    Here is a list of their current Dressage saddle models. They change over time though, so you might find something different used.


    Wool panels, wooden trees, they can widen the trees, or adjust / reflock for you. I was given a quote of around $300 for a full reflock, or $90 to widen or add flocking to narrow.

    You can find the saddles used online (many were wide trees) for varying prices. I just bought this jump / all purpose for $350! It comes with a point billet (actually V billets which many of their saddles have, or at least come with a point billet installed that you can add the leather to), and has a fairly high pommel.

    APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


    • #3
      The ONLY saddle that fit my slightly downhill, short backed pony was a Stubben Genesis.
      On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


      • #4
        Our pony has a very similiar shape, try a Thornhill Vienna II. It fits him like a dream! Under $1000


        • #5
          Niedersuss Olympic with the front point billet. I've had super luck with my Tekna for this body shape too and paid $450 for it new, it's wool flocked with a tree that can be adjusted by a fitter. Medium/wide twist on it. But i'm not sure it's high enough in the front for you, might help with a correction pad with front shims in (for that matter, for any saddle you try) that worked perfect on my cob when she was downhill.

          I actually sent the Niedersuss Olympic back after a trial with it though because it tipped me forward terribly and my mare too hates you anywhere "in front" of where you should be and shuts down all that pretty movement she has for western pleasure shuffling and cranky ears...
          Your Horse's Home On The Road!


          • #6
            My short backed, wide 14.2h Arab goes in an old Stubben Aramis (basically an upgraded old Tristan).

            Bonus of old Stubbens is they're pretty inexpensive if you're willing to go 15-20yo. The old Tristans are really easy to find on eBay for $3-500. They seem relatively easy to resell on there also so if you get one, use it for a year and she needs something either wider or narrower you can always throw it back on eBay and buy a different one.

            I just bought a 32cm tree and it was a little too wide when he was 4, but he ultimately filled out so it fits perfectly. I just used pads of varying thicknesses as he was growing.


            • #7
              Re the point billet types, I'd for sure try her in one before buying it...I know several mares (including my own) who were not happy w/ the girth pulling the tree points down on them. Dont know if this is a mare thing or coincidence...
              Also, I dont know which brands, but some saddles are cut back at the pommel a fair amount, which might help her wither sensitivity!
              We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


              • Original Poster

                Yay!! I found one and wanted to update for anyone in the same frustrating boat! :-)

                I was trying saddle after saddle, all with gusseted panels. My sweet willing mare was getting so sore she stopped going forward and when she did she rushed hollow and unhappy. NOT how she usually goes. Today I got a Kieffer Wien and she LOVED it. Instant transformation. It has the point billets and the saddle didn't budge an inch...even without a non-slip pad. It's a 17" seat and the panel length from shoulder to croup is 18". It's an inch and a half shorter than any of the others I tried. What a difference!! So for all you short backed downhill saddles sliding forward...try point billets and short back panels!! It tips me forward a touch but she's downhill so its expected. It's a hair wide so I'm going to try a wither riser and see if it keeps her comfy and lifts me up off her shoulder. She HATES any weight on her shoulder and prefers me sitting back a bit behind the vertical in any saddle. Bit I'm thrilled we have a saddle she loves even if it's not perfect for me. For $350 off EBay I'll deal for awhile! LOL Eventually when she's grown up I can find something great for us both! I'll keep you posted on the wither riser to see if that gets me up off her shoulder more!
                Please excuse the typos...I'm always on my iPhone and autocorrect is not my friend. Yes I mean mares autocorrect...not mates.