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Differences between riding short and long backed horses?

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  • Differences between riding short and long backed horses?

    This kind of ties in with my how to handle a hyperalert Andalusian horse...but other than personality, I've noticed that I'm just more comfortable on a horse with a long back and lower headset. Are short-backed, upright horses trickier to ride? With the baroque horses, there's not much room between shoulder and hip (well, 22" on mine to be exact), the saddle has to be off her shoulders or she gets fussy and when I get on (especially after riding the QH), sometimes I feel like her neck is in my face or I'm going to flip over the front of her. Seems like my position has be perfectly balanced and relaxed or it irritates her; no such problem on the QH.

    You have to understand this horse is incredibly flexible...pix taken by my friend Rena a few years ago says it all:



    and a really short back:



    I'm just wondering if any one else has that same feeling. I have to make a decision about this horse at some point.

  • #2
    Hay

    I have a short backed horse. He is fairly large, 16 hands but he is short backed. Who knew? I got a saddle fitter out and she pointed that out to me. I have to be vigilant about saddle position as well.

    My current problem is I'm a 40 year English rider who has switched to an Abetta Endurance and I'm having trouble getting that nylon thing where I tie the knot to stay tight enough so the saddle doesn't slip all over. My horse gets upset as well when the saddle is not in the correct position. I am constantly adjusting and repositioning out on the trail.
    Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
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    • #3
      pines4horse I, too, have a very round horse and an Abetta saddle, although not endurance. I bought a tacky too saddle pad and it stays put. No more rolling around on my horse's back. Saddle stays put also. The pad does not have the rounded corners, but it is short, 30", I believe and it is also contoured, so it follows her withers and back with no wrinkles in the middle.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by pines4equines View Post
        I have a short backed horse. He is fairly large, 16 hands but he is short backed. Who knew? I got a saddle fitter out and she pointed that out to me. I have to be vigilant about saddle position as well.

        My current problem is I'm a 40 year English rider who has switched to an Abetta Endurance and I'm having trouble getting that nylon thing where I tie the knot to stay tight enough so the saddle doesn't slip all over. My horse gets upset as well when the saddle is not in the correct position. I am constantly adjusting and repositioning out on the trail.
        Are you talking about the latigo? That's the strap that connects the saddle to the girth, and you have to tie a knot to fasten it? If so.. LOSE THE NYLON LATIGO. I hate hate HATE nylon ones! They slip all over the place, don't stay put, get frayed, and are just a big pain. Replace with with a leather latigo strap (not real expensive, but a little more than nylon ones), and I can basically guarantee you it will solve a LOT of your problems.

        As for OP, I think 99% of the long-backed horses I've ridden are more comfortable than the short-backed ones. I can sit their gaits better, their transitions are smoother, etc. BUT, honestly I do like having the high headset of an Arab or Saddlebred in front of me. It kind of acts as a shield to keep you from falling off right over their head. With my low-headset QH, if she tosses a buck.. her head's between her knees, there's NOTHING that's gonna stop be from flying over the pommel and out of the saddle.
        Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by sublimequine View Post
          Are you talking about the latigo? That's the strap that connects the saddle to the girth, and you have to tie a knot to fasten it? .
          Why not just buy a girth that has a buckle. I have a double roller one and just thread the latigo though the first roller, back to the saddle and down the second time to the second roller that has the tongue. I then just reef on it and drop the tongue into the hole and it never loosens after that. I also know which hole I always use so if I don't do the girth up to that hole I know I am too loose. The knot leaves a lump under my leg and I haven't used one for 25 years.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Shadow14 View Post
            Why not just buy a girth that has a buckle. I have a double roller one and just thread the latigo though the first roller, back to the saddle and down the second time to the second roller that has the tongue. I then just reef on it and drop the tongue into the hole and it never loosens after that. I also know which hole I always use so if I don't do the girth up to that hole I know I am too loose. The knot leaves a lump under my leg and I haven't used one for 25 years.
            I prefer the knot because you can say exactly how tight you want it, rather than using the holes where you only have certain 'tightnesses' to select from, either up a hole or down a hole from where you've tightened it to.
            Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

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            • #7
              I just converted my endurance saddle (western style rigging) to english type rigging and now I can use my short dressage girths. Got to: http://www.american-flex.com/hardware%20&%20rigging.htm
              a little over 1/2 way down the page to see the english rigging. It can be used on any western type saddle and is very good quality. Some of these adapters have coarse billets, too wide to work well with most english girths and poor quality leather. Not this one, excellent convertor.

              I also use this type of girth: http://www.horsetackco.com/neoprene-dressage-girth.html which is so much easier to adjust than other non-elastic girths. You can also get a better fit to you horse as the girth buckles slide up and down as you adjust. for instance, you can set the front buckle higher to avoid the horse's elbow.

              When I use a western latigo I do use the nylon one's with a buckle cinch, too much sweat happening during endurance, so I like the easy wash. But I add more holes between the original holes with a solder iron so I have much more adjustability. With my short legs and riding with shorter stirrups, my knees are pretty much over the cinch D ring. I don't want the bulk of a knot under my knee.

              Bonnie S.

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              • #8
                Hay

                Sublime: regarding the leather material rather than nylon. Thank you! I do like the flexibility of the latigo adjustments rather than a few holes to choose from. Leather would really help my situation. I'm all over that one...

                Sonata: You talk about a tacky pad. Could you give me a link to a web site with a picture?

                Thank you!
                Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
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                • #9
                  I have two horses that are extreme opposites, one 16.2 long lanky, high headed, swan necked TWH, easy to fit a saddle, comfy ride, but like Bambi on ice when we hit muddy ground or steep downhills. My 15.1 McCurdy filly, even though she is 3 is sure footed no matter what, she is stocky, "leg on each corner" build with a short back and lower neck carriage. I do feel that I need to be sitting correctly on her, if she stops quickly (she IS three after all) to stare at things, I find myself jamming my knuckles into her neck. Nice thing about her is that she's fuller bodied, so the one time she whirled, I didn't feel at all like I was coming off, lots of body to wrap your legs onto. Now, my narrow guy feels a bit tippy to me, and my students really feel it, you need to be centered or you feel like you're going to fall off the fence rail.
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                  • #10
                    As for the OP...my stout QH is long backed vs my narrow TWH is quite short backed. The QH is easy to maneuver- I can feel him translate my leg into a turn on the forehand, for example... and feels more like a boat. The TWH is like sitting on a thumbtack where the QH is more like a barge I have to really sit well and feel for small changes, they are soclosetogetherit'shardtofeelwhat'sgoingon.

                    See? Told you it was hard.

                    The little TWH though is supple as a cat and quick. My sort of horse. Now, that stout QH feels sluggish by comparision.
                    Last edited by Moderator 1; Nov. 18, 2008, 07:44 AM. Reason: ref to deleted post

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by katarine View Post

                      The TWH is like sitting on a thumbtack where the QH is more like a barge I have to really sit well and feel for small changes, they are soclosetogetherit'shardtofeelwhat'sgoingon.

                      See? Told you it was hard.

                      The little TWH though is supple as a cat and quick. My sort of horse. Now, that stout QH feels sluggish by comparision.
                      The thumbtack/barge comparison cracked me up...it is true that those good riders who've ridden both of my horses far prefer the Andalusian to the QH due to her responsiveness, flexibility, sensitivity and lightness...but then they know what they are doing and are relaxed about it!
                      Last edited by Moderator 1; Nov. 18, 2008, 07:44 AM. Reason: quote

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                      • #12
                        Here's my comparisons for the horses I ride the most. Percheron, QH, and APHA. From largest to smallest. Percheron's have a longish back to begin w/ and are obviously big horses, but he's VERY comfortable and easy to ride. There's a lot of horse there to feel and grab onto if need be. He's also very athletic and his gaits are huge. Still can't sit his trot to save my life. It's more of launch type deal so I post, it's easier. Otherwise, it's like riding a couch, as the expression goes for those that ride drafts.

                        Step down to the QH. He's always been really easy to ride, average back length, big muscular body and smooth gaits. Riding him bareback is fun because he's so easy. Had him for 16 years so been riding him for that long and it was hard riding other horses because I was so used to him. We fit together well.

                        APHA is a smaller horse so she's more compact, not as bulky, but average backed, though shorter than the above boys simply because of her size. I find that her gaits are not nearly as smooth as the boys', but I still find her easy enough to ride, bareback or w/ a saddle. She's also a little bit more headsup than the boys are, well except the Percheron. She's a looky girl, but not spooky at all.

                        Oops, forgot one and not much fun to ride. 44 1/2" pony. There's nothing to help me balance on her at all whatsoever!! Thankfully she's a saint and puts up w/ me and I really don't try to flop around all over her, but there's not a lot of pony there to hold onto. Bareback is awful, I'm going sideways every time she turns. She's like riding a teeter totter. Easy to get on and off of though.
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