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Saddle Fit Help Please

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  • Saddle Fit Help Please

    My new TWH gelding is absolutely wonderful on the trail, however I am trying to figure out a saddle/pad combo that will work well for his confirmation. He has high withers, a slightly swayed back, and then is a bit croup high. I am a petite 5'0" rider, 115 lbs. We do trail rides up to 3 hours but nothing remotely in the "endurance" category. I rode him in a friend's Bob Marshall on 2 rides, but the pommel wasn't peaked and just wasn't giving him enough wither room. Unfortunately we live in a very rural area, and paying for a saddle fitter to come is ridiculously expensive. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

  • #2
    In my very humble opinion:

    I think that a western saddle and/or a treeless saddle isn't going to work for your horse. You'll have a hard time getting those types of saddles to sit level, not bridge and not slide forward -- especially a treeless. Some horses just can't wear these saddles and your horse's back shape suggests to me that he's in that category.

    You could try a pad with front shims which might help -- but this could possibly make the saddle bridge worse -- or cause it to tilt back (though it might appear level) thus transferring pressure to the back part of the panels/tree.

    Your horse's back type might be better served with a full tree English saddle. Certain brands offer trees that are already curved to fit a horse like yours -- and they better accept pads with shims -- are often very adjustable -- and come with various pommel arches. Prestige for example makes some very comfy looking English style trail saddles that could work.

    You can also order saddle fitting kits that come with instruction on how to measure and do tracings of your horse's back. You can send those in to saddle companies (along with photos of your horse) and they can help you find the right saddle.


    • Original Poster

      Thank you for offering your opinion! Your conclusions are what I was definitely coming to. I am from an english riding background but just pleasure ride these days and am surrounded by Bob Marshall/treeless lovers. They are wonderfully secure but even with shimming I am just struggling given the withers, sway, and back up to his croup. I'll definitely look into the Prestige saddles. Saddles outside of my hunter/eq world are all new to me!

      Do you know of anyone who has had luck using the Specialized saddles with the various "shimmability" options they offer? I keep reading mixed reviews about these saddles.


      • #4
        Originally posted by lrc30 View Post
        Do you know of anyone who has had luck using the Specialized saddles with the various "shimmability" options they offer? I keep reading mixed reviews about these saddles.
        No idea about these saddles. Maybe worth a try if you can get one on trial.


        • #5
          Just a thought, since he's a TWH, have you looked at Western saddles with gaited bars? I think they are made for short-backed horses and flare in such a way that they accommodate gaited movement better than semi or full quarter horse bars.


          • #6
            I had an old Arabian/Saddlebred mare with a very similar shape and what worked for her was, of all things, an old Passier VSD all-purpose saddle with a nice big wither cutout and panels shaped for her slight banana shape. I bought one used off eBay for maybe $350 and we'd ride 30+ miles at a time in it with no soreness and even sweat marks. Throw some trail stirrups on it and a seat saver on it and you're good to go!


            • Original Poster

              Thank you everyone for the suggestions! I have sent photos into a gaited fitter that has a couple of saddle trees with the gaited-type bars. I will definitely look into the Passier all-purpose saddle, too! Ebay does have some good saddle finds.