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Narrow Horse - Wide Rider

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  • Narrow Horse - Wide Rider

    I have found a young horse that I really, really like. Lots of positives. Only negative is that she's a fairly narrow horse and I'm not. Have had her on a 30 day trial and now it's time to make a decision. Have ridden her 4-5 days a week, both in the arena and on trails. No signs of soreness or discomfort. No obvious signs of imbalance. How would you decide?

  • #2
    How young?

    My stallion was five when he arrived, unbacked. He felt SO NARROW I wobbled both fore and aft AND side to side. And yet he was already in a wide tree--he was wide/flat on top, but NOTHING in front of my legs, nothing under my calves... you kind of felt like your seat and upper thighs were the only points of contact. I padded up, used BIG and HIGH thighblocks... I went through a LOT of $addle$. If it fit him--I couldn't ride in it. If it felt great to me, HE hated it. He put on some weight, some muscle, and felt 'ok' in about 18 mos or so...

    Fast forward five or six years (with the better part of three of them off for both of us--so it doesn't HAVE to take this long!) we started working in 2nd/3rd, he added yet another 250lbs or so, mostly in topline and muscle (some abs too) at the tender age of 12-13. Now he feels like a cobby little tank. He's very balanced and so strong feeling--because he can sit. He's a blast. I never feel tippy any more. (Well, except for my own balance issues due to weight loss, just to be honest about it!)

    I will say it has been a much harder journey with him, because he was much harder to balance with. If I had to do it again, I would probably NOT pick a horse that was such a challenge for me. (and I mean physically, mentally he's the kindest, most honest horse I've ever known.) BUT, when I get on a horse that is more normally shaped and sized (pear shaped vs. 55 gallon drum ) it's way, way easier.

    He absolutely was NOT the horse I should have picked for goals of advancing quickly on my own... just not an 'easy' ride, not easy to sit. Even now, when I have his back, he's like buttah to sit and you want to sit all day. When I loose it, UG. Forget it. Back to Intro or TL for posting trot. But I chose him for other reasons, we WILL get to GP (and maybe airs--see the other thread ) and he'll be the first horse I've brought along myself. Every horse after him will be a little bit easier in that respect.

    I dunno. If you love everything else about her... maybe it's worth it. Maybe it's not. It's sure as heck not easy! *Riding* isn't easy... but we needn't make it harder than it already is either...
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


    • #3
      Normally, I don't see this working well, but maybe it will be the incentive you need to become a little more "narrow".


      • #4
        What are you asking?

        Do you like her? Does she meet your needs? What are you goals? What do you mean by narrow? What do you mean by you not being narrow? Are you concerned that you are too heavy for her? Does your saddle fit her narrowness? What do others you respect say?

        more details please

        FWIW, I weigh 175 and ride a shark fin TB. Every one says we are a good pair. His barrel fills up my leg so I don't think of him as narrow.
        A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton


        • #5
          lizathenag asks the good questions

          So much depends on these things. My horse is a Morgan, but slightly-built and a bit narrow for the breed. Her former owner was quite a bit larger than I am, really too large for the horse and especially too large to jump her. So I now have to keep an eye on maresy's back; she's had a chiro adjustment that helped her a lot, though the places she was out of alignment may have been there before anyone got on her back.
          You have to have experiences to gain experience.

          1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


          • #6
            in that spot now with my 4 year old.

            As long as the horse can comfortably CARRY you (weight wise i'm totally fine for him) it's not a huge deal... IS harder to stay on when they are silly *L* not so much side to side to save you. IS harder to get my leg on so my position is slightly comprimised. (But vice versa it's easier for me to use my upper calf properly). I found he took longer to find his balance being so scrawny- but that was with me Or the trainer (who is a good fair bit smaller then me!)

            For me i got a horse in my price range with the qualities i wanted. What i traded was a bit of size. (he's thes ame height Texas was at that age- but 1/2 the width). For me to find similar but in a larger package i'd have been paying more for the horses i saw. I was able to purchase this guy from my barn which ment i knew his whole history.
            Qualified Saddle Fitter with the S.M.S.


            • #7
              If you like riding her and she suits your needs, buy her and give her a good home. Horses can carry lots more weight than we think, and have done so for thousands of years.


              • #8
                Originally posted by SusieQue View Post
                How would you decide?
                An emphatic NO. A heavy rider should have a wide, strong backed horse with good bone. We should ask our horses to carry as little weight as possible. It only makes sense.


                • #9
                  Oliver is a narrow, elegant Trakehner, and I'm well, definitely not narrow nor am I elegant. However, I actually feel quite comfy on him because my leg really wraps around on him, so I feel more secure on him than I do on my Paint, who's a wide boy.

                  I just have to get over the mental image of my huge self on this tiny, weedy pony. everbody assures me that I look just fine on him and he doesn't seem uncomfortable, but I still can get myself worked up about it.

                  If you're comfy, and he's comfy, go for it. Just make sure that the saddle fits correctly.
                  "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

                  So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ToN Farm View Post
                    An emphatic NO. A heavy rider should have a wide, strong backed horse with good bone. We should ask our horses to carry as little weight as possible. It only makes sense.

                    tend to agree, cobs or cobs x make nice horses or anothing with a bit of substance if ones looking for a bigger horse and not a cob ie irish draft ( not gyspy vanner) type or x if you want a nice sports horse type

                    if your slightly larger wider rider then you want a good middlewieght tpye or horse or a weigh carrier not a narrow young horse that hasnt even developed yet

                    as yet you say the horse in question is good on trials and doesnt show any signs of discomfort -- yet but it will do in time maybe as a month isnt long enough to see that yet

                    and later if you did buy this horse you would limit you expectations of this horse in question if your a larger rider - one would get marked down if say entering a proper dressage test as the horse would be deeemed as possible unmatched ie look untidy

                    you have to ask yourself what do you intend to do with the horse when you brought them
                    ie stay at home and do zilc and ride out here and there as a hacking type horse or go to shows and events ie showing, show jumping, eventing , dressage etc

                    if the horse is to small and narrow and your larger and wider
                    then a- its unfair on the horse as its not the right type, and be your limiting your expectations of what you want to do

                    like i said you can get good middleweight horses of a sports horse type and heavyweight with out being a gypsy vanner type ie common irish coloured cob

                    welsh, connimara, irish draft, english hunters, cleveland bays, fell , dales, etc all make ideal sport pony/ horse type crosses or to show as there breed either full or part bred
                    all range from 14hs upwards as you might be a small larger rider and prefer pony type horses to the larger type sport horses
                    which might be perhaps wh you like the narrow type of horse in question as its small

                    in which case look at welsh or conniemaras or irish sports types or the common coloured cob


                    • #11
                      Only if you don't mind the 'apple on a hatchet' look.


                      • #12
                        Good God, what a visual. Now I'm even MORE paranoid about the way I look on my boy. Thanks a lot.
                        "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

                        So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."


                        • #13
                          I guess it really depends on how you feel.
                          This was me on my 4 y/o boy: http://www.hidden-identity.net/arion/actc/IMG_7973.JPG
                          http://www.hidden-identity.net/arion...rionCanter.JPG (ignore the fact that he was behind the bit please. we were really experimenting with bits at the time to find out what he liked. he had a fussy mouth)
                          He was 15.2hh and quite narrow-despite being a warmblood, he was build more alongside TB lines.
                          When that picture was taken, I was 195lbs and am 5'8. I felt absolutely horrid on him, despite knowing that while it might not look great, we really didn't look as bad as I thought. Part of it, I think, was that i was quite used to riding large animals. I kept on having nightmares that I'd crush him It was pretty much all in my head of course, as he had no problem whatsoever carrying me.

                          So, I guess the point is, if you are comfy riding him and he doesn't seem to be struggling with you, go for it. Find a good saddle, get a chiropractor to check up on him every now and then and go for it.
                          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.


                          • Original Poster

                            Originally posted by lizathenag View Post
                            Do you like her? Does she meet your needs? What are you goals? What do you mean by narrow? What do you mean by you not being narrow? Are you concerned that you are too heavy for her? Does your saddle fit her narrowness? What do others you respect say?

                            more details please

                            FWIW, I weigh 175 and ride a shark fin TB. Every one says we are a good pair. His barrel fills up my leg so I don't think of him as narrow.
                            Yes I like her, a 6 y/o, 16.1H TB mare. Wears a med/narrow saddle that has been fitted by saddle fitter. I'm 5'11", 175 lb. Big boned. Size 11 shoes. Extra large helmet. Normally I'd never even consider a horse built like this. My previous horse, who is now 27, was a draft cross. This girl was abandoned at the boarding barn and trainer thought it was worth a try. Others say I'm too self conscious, that we look good together. I have decided to try to find her a better matched rider for her long term soundness.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by eventer_mi View Post
                              Good God, what a visual. Now I'm even MORE paranoid about the way I look on my boy. Thanks a lot.
                              LOL, sorry 'bout that!

                              Unfortunately, I did see this once. The horse was about 14.3hh -maybe 750 pounds. It was an extremely narrow NSH (Arab x Saddlebred cross). The girl on was so large, you could not see the saddle. She was very corpulent - not just obese (she would have looked large on a 17hh Percheron); she was wearing a red sweatshirt and genuinely looked like a 400 lb apple-on-a-hatchet mounted on this poor horse. Now I have seen some hefty riders - I'm no thin-as-a-rail either - but this was truly eye-gouging horrible to observe.

                              There is a point where too much is, well, too much.

                              To the OP - I seriously doubt that you would look like this.
                              - Unless you are about 5'6", weight over 400 lbs and have a short horse that is 20 inches wide.


                              • #16
                                well to put a bit of science on the issue imagine a brick laying on a 2x4 versus a brick laying on a 4x4. The brick will most likely fall when on the 2x4 when it is wobbled or shaken because the distribution of weight is much less, on the 4x4 it is much better supported and weight is distributed.
                                Personally unless you are really in control of your seat and movements wont imbalance the horse then go for it, but it is something I would steer clear of. I always think it looks a little funny.
                                If you think shes "the horse" and think you would regret not getting her then go for it. This is just my honest opinion.


                                • #17
                                  MHO with a great big grain of salt is do not buy a horse you question. The horse is narrow, and it will bother you if this bothers you now. My personal taste is to the middle to wide horse and I'm not "big", and narrow horses are not my cup of tea. It's all in your own taste.
                                  ~Equine Jewelry~
                                  Used Saddles For Sale


                                  • #18
                                    How deep is she in the girth? How strong is her back? Sometimes TBs can have really strong backs, whereas often draught-crosses, eg Clyde/TB, look chunky, but have weak backs, and just aren't up to the weight they're expected to carry - they're designed for pulling, not carrying. Just a thought.

                                    Me, I'd rather have more breadth under me, but that's just me.


                                    • #19
                                      Technically, no horse is "designed" for carrying.


                                      • #20
                                        If you are 5'11" and 175 lbs, you are NOT overweight. You are probably just not used to a skinny horse!
                                        Click here for the Roxie blog!