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What on Earth!? Outgrowing Saddles Left & Right

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  • What on Earth!? Outgrowing Saddles Left & Right

    Purchased a fast growing 5 yo last year. Outgrew her saddle by the end of the year.

    Getting everything ready for tracings about 2-3 weeks ago, and saddle on loan looks fine. Last week I noticed that things have shifted, so took the half pad out. Fits fine.

    Then all of a sudden, we have dry spots again! When will this insanity quit?! She did learn how to use her body in the past month, but my word!

    How fast did your young horses outgrow their saddles? At this point I'm thinking about buying a cardboard saddle and calling it a day.

  • #2
    My mare turned six on Monday and I've had her just about one year. She's grown like two inches, in progressive phases of butt-highness followed by looking normal. Her butt and forehead just will not stop growing.

    I'm on my third saddle in a year, and the one I bought just six weeks ago is suddenly fitting weird...hoping it's just something flocking can fix.

    I am also on my fourth girth (two size changes and one that rubbed,) my third pair of bell boots (one size change and one pair rubbed,) my third bit (all outgrown and the current one is starting to look iffy) and my fourth browband (for forehead-growth reasons, does not count ones I got for decorational purposes.)

    She is my first horse and I so underestimated the "new stuff" budget.

    I don't know if this is normal or not, but I feel you.


    • Original Poster

      Oh the massive head, Cashel flymasks are a wonder for big heads. The warmblood size fits and isn't even tight. She still has an inch of room in the ears which is unheard of.

      Wow the 07 babies are really exploding! Bless you, that is a LOT of growing. Three saddles in a year! Maybe we should get together and open up a tack store and try to recoup some funds!

      Do you think we'll ever get to the point where we can buy equipment just for fun?


      • #4
        My 6 year old mare changes shape like crazy, too. We also went through three saddles in the past year and then changed again recently, but thankfully I think for #4 we can go back to one of the previous three. Seems like I have to evaluate my saddle fit every time I tack her up.

        On the bright side, I now feel that saving all the tack that I ever used on my previous horses is totally reasonable and justified. I've bought a few new things, but for the most part, I've been able to dig through my piles of old tack to find things that will fit.
        "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
        -Edward Hoagland


        • #5
          I'm starting to think my kid will need a new saddle soon. It fits still but it's not quite perfect. Hoping I can just adjust the flocking to make it work. He's in a med wide... I don't have a wide at home.
          Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!


          • #6
            We have always bought youngsters to bring along which is why I have purchased saddles with adjustable trees. Even our older horses change shape with the work they are getting. Of course the saddles are pricey and you have to pay the fitter to adjust them, but I think it pays off in the long run.


            • #7
              I hate to be the bearer of bad (?) news, but I just bought my 5th saddle in 6 years for my now 10 year old. That being said - he is VERY particular about saddle fit, so most horses would not take exception to some minor changes in fit, but he will have a total meltdown if his pad is not *exactly* in the right spot. On the upside - he really doesn't care how his bridle, browband, or bit fits at all. I think I could use barbed wire, dental floss, or just about anything and he'd be fine.

              Good luck - I feel your pain. I am not looking forward to my DH looking at the credit card bill from the latest saddle.


              • #8
                Going through this too right now with my '07 Morgan. Right now we are doing ok with some creative shimming/half-padding. He really is changing shape from week to week as he develops - it is crazy.


                • #9
                  Why not spend a bit extra money on a saddle where the tree can be adjustable - like a Verhan or Henning - not a Wintec with piecec saddle owner puts in/takes out. rather something the saddler changes - they pull saddle apart, spread/shrink tree and put saddle back together. Means you keep the same saddle forever and occassionally get it adjusted.

                  For little things (like when my mare developed more muscle on the left than on the right) I purchased a pad where I could add "shims" until her muscling evened out.

                  Better for me than buying and selling saddle as the horses outline changes.
                  Now in Kentucky


                  • #10
                    There's always treeless. They will fit a variety of horses.


                    • #11
                      sevensprings - any advice on good treeless dressage saddles? The only one I've ever ridden in was an Ansur and I was not a fan. It felt very bulky.


                      • #12
                        I'm a fan of hastilow saddles. They have adjustable trees. I had it for my wide 18hh warmblood , and it now currently fits my 3year old, and I believe can continue to grow with him with the different gullets..
                        In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TropicalStorm View Post
                          I'm a fan of hastilow saddles. They have adjustable trees. I had it for my wide 18hh warmblood , and it now currently fits my 3year old, and I believe can continue to grow with him with the different gullets..
                          Second Hastilows. They're really beautifully constructed and a dream to ride in. I've borrowed my friend's several times and it's what I'll be purchasing for my youngster next year when he's ready to start. They're as close to completely adjustable as you can get AND the price is fantastic compared to other saddles of similar quality.


                          • #14
                            The Hastilows look lovely! I definitely need to start saving my pennies as I imagine they don't come up for sale used too often due to their adjustability.


                            • #15
                              I will third Hastilows, fantastic saddles.

                              When I bought my Morgan out of a field several years ago he was rangy and had zero muscle. He was a *maybe* MW, for quite some time until we both figured out how to really work over the back and then he exploded.

                              I was on a saddle fit odyssey anyhow with him as he was hard to fit and had a sensitive back, but he outgrew saddles left and right.

                              I did end up settling on a treeless in fact. I gravitated to a SBS Flexion with regular panels but plus a suber pad.

                              I probably have photos someplace of him from just out of the field to going nicely under saddle, but I don't have them handy.

                              What I do have handy however is another quite dramatic change from him going as a ridden horse to a driving horse. Just to show how much a back can change.

                              I really should update these images as he's changed even more now - even wider and flatter if you can possibly imagine - now that he's in regular driving work.

                              He is retired from riding due to broken withers and pain in his back that can't be managed.
                              Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                              • #16
                                buck22, it's telling me that's a private album.
                                Pisgah: 2000 AHHA (Holsteiner x TB) Mare (lower level eventing, with a focus on dressage)

                                Darcy: 7? year old Border Collie x Rottweiler? Drama Queen extraordinaire, rescued from the pound in Jan 2010


                                • #17
                                  I have noticed over the years that many horses change muscling quickly when training starts. It does seem like three week increments is about where the saddle isn't right. Sometimes I look at my MW saddles, which are currently not in use and think I should sell them, until I remember that those saddles fit a lot of horses and buying new ones is a pain...so I figure I will have another MW horse...those were the most used saddles in my tack room for years.

                                  I spent over five years of swapping back and forth between the MW and XW on my favorite mare, she has consistently stayed happiest in an old XW Albion, but it wasn't doing me any favors with regards to my position.

                                  I finally got a truly custom saddle for us, it is amazing how it feels for me. A Stackhouse! I only just got it a week ago, but wrote about it in my blog.



                                  • #18
                                    Young horses outgrow saddles almost as quickly as kids outgrow their clothes, and the more quickly they progress in training, the more likely they are to outgrow their "right now" saddle. A lot of my customers explore changeable-gullet or adjustable tree saddles, and they can be a help, but given that width is only one of the concerns when fitting a saddle (along with tree shape and type, panel configuration and billet placement), those saddles aren't the perfect answer, either.
                                    Kitt Hazelton
                                    Saddle Fitter


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by emirae1091 View Post
                                      buck22, it's telling me that's a private album.
                                      rats sorry, here are the comparison photos individually



                                      Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by RiderInTheRain View Post
                                        The Hastilows look lovely! I definitely need to start saving my pennies as I imagine they don't come up for sale used too often due to their adjustability.
                                        Actually, Hastilow's US distributor has a great site that usually has a good selection of used ones (also some other brands). Prices are fantastic IMO: