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Widening saddle's gullet channel?

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  • Widening saddle's gullet channel?

    Has anyone ever had the gullet channel (not the tree size) widened on their saddle? I'm looking to purchase a saddle, and it seems like all the ones in my price range (used for under $1000) have narrow gullet channels. I know having a wide enough channel is important so that it clears the horse's spine, so why are so many saddles made where the channel narrows to an inch or two?

    If I were to get a wool flocked saddle, could a qualified saddle fitter widen the gullet channel? If so, by approximately how much? I know it depends on how large/ wide the saddle's panels are.

  • #2
    Many older model saddles were manufactured before we fully understood the importance of where the saddle panels rest in relation to the spine and the muscles that run along it. (And there is such a thing as Too Wide... so it's important to learn what your horse really needs). To change the width of the channel, the panels would have to be removed and rebuilt, which likely would negate the savings of buying a cheap, older saddle.

    Patience pays.

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    • #3
      My saddle fitter has done this at the same time as reflocking the saddle and it hasn't added a lot to the price. There is a limit though how much space she can add

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      • #4
        There are wide, wide and Extra Wide gullets out there although they get scooped up pretty fast when they come up for sale.

        What type saddle are you trying to find? I've found both English and Western saddles in Extra Wide and my Western one

        had an 8.5 gullet which is very hard to find. How wide a gullet do you need? Do you have good tracing of your horse's back and wither area? That's usually the first step in finding a saddle.
        "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Marla 100 View Post
          There are wide, wide and Extra Wide gullets out there although they get scooped up pretty fast when they come up for sale.

          What type saddle are you trying to find? I've found both English and Western saddles in Extra Wide and my Western one

          had an 8.5 gullet which is very hard to find. How wide a gullet do you need? Do you have good tracing of your horse's back and wither area? That's usually the first step in finding a saddle.
          She's referring to the channel that runs along the spine, not the width at the front.

          The distance between 2 random points at the front, ie whatever got your 8.5", doesn't mean anything, as there is no standard for that. There's no standard for any points of reference. The felt dot has no standard, and doesn't tell you anything about what's above or below that point.

          OP, I agree with Melissa - the cost of widening the channel will offset the savings of the < $1000 saddle for sure. It's almost a total redo of the saddle.

          What specific saddles have you found that fit otherwise, if only the channel was wide enough?
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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          • #6
            There are a number of decently priced synthetic saddles and traditional english saddles with wide gullet channels.

            I currently have a Duett that fits my mare beautifully and I am pleased with the quality and the saddle is comfortable. All the styles Duett makes is geared to a wider backed horse.

            If you really look there are plenty of saddles out there for wider horses now and in all price ranges.

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            • #7
              I have a Kieffer Aachen II that I picked up for $250 online; literally brand new/demo condition. Gullet was a little narrow just under the back of the cantle, so had it widened along with having billets restitched. Cost me $160 plus shipping to and from the guy that did the work.

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              • #8
                You actually did not have to rebuild the panels to widen it. However you do take away some of the surface area. One of the issue I can see is the age of the saddle itself. The leather is more fragile. I personally do not like dropping panels on saddles that are more than 10 years old.
                Jacobson's Saddlery, LLC
                www.thesaddlefits.com
                Society of Master Saddlers Qualified Fitter

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JB View Post

                  What specific saddles have you found that fit otherwise, if only the channel was wide enough?
                  My question also. Or, what about your horse is so unusual that most saddles won't work?

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                  • #10
                    Years ago I had a saddle widened by Smith-Worthington. They did a great job and were very helpful. Perhaps you can give them a call and ask them what they think.

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