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Who wants to play saddle fitter?

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  • Who wants to play saddle fitter?

    I had this 17.5" MW Amerigo CC saddle fit to him in July. Since then, he has gained weight and built muscle. Now, it looks to me as if the saddle is too wide - but this confuses me - since he has only gained?! (The photos are as square as I could get him workin' by myself, when he was determined to get the peppermints in my pockets)

    Jake Back Side View
    Jake Back Rear View
    Jake Amerigo girthed - barely 1 1/2 fingers clearance @ pommel


    He is currently shimmed with a Mattes correction pad by the chiro til the saddle fitter is here to refit. Anywho, I read that as a horse gains in the topline they lose soft, fatty tissue in the area - so I guess I am wondering is
    A) do I seem correct in that the saddle appears to be too wide, hence the decrease in clearance at the pommel and the panels not even touching his back at the cantle end?
    B) Is it possible that he has gained (as weight measurements and chiro indicate he has) but, as Wofford said, lost fatty tissue on his topline that resulted in the MW saddle that fit him perfectly in July no longer fitting and seeming too wide?

    I am dealing with the saddle fitter directly (she is wonderful) and I understand that a horse's back will change drastically when they go from racing fit, to completely out of shape, to eventing fit, but I wanted some quick and dirty instant COTH gratification because she won't get to the photos til Monday.

    If you had to describe this horse's back to a saddle fitter, what terms would you use? Halp!

    Also, if this looks like a back you have successfully fit a saddle to, please share which saddles you found to fit well for jumping and dressage, if you would be so kind! Thank you!

  • #2
    Your assessment makes total sense to me, but I'll be very interested in what the more knowledgeable peeps have to say. Saddle fit issues SUCK! (I'm in the same boat right now, so I totally sympathize.)
    Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

    You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.

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    • #3
      Yes is the short answer.
      Building or developing a topline is a confusing term because it sounds like the topline is going to get bigger, when in fact, it's just developing muscles where the horse needs them for his job. (As an aside, a good race horse trainer will also pay attention to a horse's topline and sometimes the back you have when the horse comes off the track is exactly the back you get when you've let the horse down and then reconditioned him.)

      Jake's very cute and stands so politely in his cross ties. I'm facing exactly your issue with one of my mare's now. Although she does not have shark fin withers (and neither does Jake) as she develops muscle the fat's falling away from her withers and the saddle sits lower in front than it should, throwing the whole thing off, exactly like your picture. In my case, when I get in the saddle the clearance is even worse about three inches behind the pommel. Saddles are driving me nuts!

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      • #4
        yes, wither can also come up as the horse starts working correctly. You can also see in the rear panels, how they are not lying nicely against his back - the whole saddle has tipped down at the front and up at the back.

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        • #5
          What worries me more than the wither clearance is the fact the the saddle is lifting up off his back at the cantle, and he's not even moving. If he lifts his back as he moves, which he should, the saddle is going to rock even more.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Hampton Bay View Post
            What worries me more than the wither clearance is the fact the the saddle is lifting up off his back at the cantle, and he's not even moving. If he lifts his back as he moves, which he should, the saddle is going to rock even more.
            That's also an indication that the saddle is too wide up front, sitting lower in the front means it will come up behind and you can rock it.

            OP, in my experience the more eventing fit I get my big ol' draft horse the narrower he gets up front. I attribute it to loss of fat and redistribution of muscle. It's such a PITA to get everything fitted and then have to do it all over again! Good luck.
            The big guy: Lincoln

            Southern Maryland Equestrian

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Duckz View Post
              That's also an indication that the saddle is too wide up front, sitting lower in the front means it will come up behind and you can rock it. ...
              Not necessarily. If the tree and panels are too curvy for the shape of the horse, the width up front can be perfect but it will still rock. Amerigo tends to be a curvy brand, so it's certainly possible that the width isn't to blame.

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Hmm. Well, I'm glad to see you guys seem to be thinking along the same lines as me!

                SEP - He was in great shape when he was at the track! But he had a lot of downtime after his last racing season.

                Kate - Thanks! I had no idea the withers could lift. Ha, is it possible he's taller than when I bought him?

                HB - I thought it was too wide because of two things: the low pommel clearance and the back panels not coming into contact with his back. I get your point about it being curvy, because I know exactly what you're talking about! I suppose it could be that. We tried a few saddles that were very curvy, and they did not fit him at ALL, but I also don't think he has a flat back. In fact, I know he doesn't, because I cannot use a saddlepad on him unless it has the shaped withers! The problem is that I am not educated enough to know whether it is lifting off his back because it's too wide, or because it's too curvy in the spine. Urgh!

                Duckz - AGH! This is like when I really learned the half halt - "W..w..WAIT A SECOND. I USE LEG! I USE LEGGGGGGGGGGGGG!" It just doesn't want to make sense in my brain logically, but they are the facts. I find that strange! Shows how much I know about horse anatomy. Did you have to have your saddle reflocked, tree adjusted, or get a new one?

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                • #9
                  Their withers can lift. My mare "grew" an inch between 13 and 15

                  As for the curvy back, the saddle pad isn't necessarily an indication. The fitted withers address the front, but a horse can have big withers and be flat toward the back of the saddle. My Arab has decent withers but is flat behind them. Anything that curves up at the back won't work for him. Sometimes adjusting the tree helps, and sometimes it doesn't.

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    An inch?! At that age?! Wow! Maybe I need to restick my guy.

                    That's interesting.. the more I look at the picture of my horse's back from behind, the more I think it looks more fat that rounded or angled. Hm! Thanks HB!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ake987 View Post

                      Duckz - AGH! This is like when I really learned the half halt - "W..w..WAIT A SECOND. I USE LEG! I USE LEGGGGGGGGGGGGG!" It just doesn't want to make sense in my brain logically, but they are the facts. I find that strange! Shows how much I know about horse anatomy. Did you have to have your saddle reflocked, tree adjusted, or get a new one?
                      Long story short, one new jump saddle and one new used dressage saddle. The saddle fitter is coming AGAIN this week to adjust the flocking on the new one and give the thumbs up on the used one. So help me God, the dressage saddle is the same make and tree size of the jump saddle and it better work!

                      The good news is that as long as your saddle is basically the correct shape then adjustments in flocking should be all you need. My problem was that I started out with two saddles that were inherently wrong for my horse's back.

                      Do you ever feel like your horse is trying to tell you something? http://i.imgur.com/0Oy6D.png
                      The big guy: Lincoln

                      Southern Maryland Equestrian

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Duckz;6068359
                        The good news is that as long as your saddle is basically the correct shape then adjustments in flocking should be all you need. My problem was that I started out with two saddles that were inherently wrong for my horse's back.

                        Do you ever feel like your horse is trying to tell you something? [url
                        http://i.imgur.com/0Oy6D.png[/url]
                        Yep yep. Sounds like life with my Arab. I made do with my mare's saddles as I could until I didn't have anything that could possibly work for him. Then I bought something cheap but old and good quality from a friend. They he started bolting in the canter, and we had to go back to the drawing board again. Now he's decided he hates my jump saddle and refuses to be ridden in it. As he's muscled up from having the Lauriche he loves, he just can't use a narrow twist. If the tree is curvy, it will slide up onto his shoulders and he bucks. Sometimes no matter what you do with adjustments, it just doesn't help.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You might also check your saddle placement as well as the width when your fitter comes. It appears too wide and also your center of gravity (center of seat where you will sit) is too forward. Most of us and our horses are asymmetrical and he is wider on his left shoulder. Cute guy! Good luck!

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            AHAHA Duckz!!! Yes! Exactly!

                            Elkie - I will check that out. As far as I know, it is (in that photo) where the saddle fitter initially wanted it. Although, since discovering the ill fit, we have shimmed it up with a Mattes pad so it doesn't sit like that on him while I ride. Thanks for the insight!

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