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Saddle for this Back..

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    Saddle for this Back..

    I have a new guy that absolutely does not fit in my current jumping saddle (an XXW duet for my last horse who had a very flat back). The last time I posted on here I got some really great advice for what direction to go with him, so I was hoping some could offer advice on the best types of saddles to fit this skinny back!
    As you can see from the pics he could use 100+ lbs and has no topline yet. He has been at my place for 2 weeks and just starting productive work after track life.
    I am not sure if these pics are clear enough, and I am sure you need a shot from the back down on the shoulders? I really just need to know what type of saddle will fit his 'curves'. I was hoping to get an ovation 4 star for him ( I like it )
    Thanks for the input!!
    Honey Badger don't give a s*#^!

    "..a three-day event is not a test of speed and endurance, it is a test of character" ~JW

    That's not a back, that's a sliding board! :P

    Hopefully the wither drop will be a little less steep once he's got some kind of a topline. Honestly, what I would be thinking with this horse and the wither hollows he has is to get a shim pad that you can adjust as he gains a topline.

    The thing that may be a problem with this horse is how curvy his back looks. For my horse, that was the hardest thing to fit because it required an entirely different tree shape than a lot of what is on the market- it needed something banana-shaped.

    What's your price range? I don't want to be throwing out ideas that aren't viable.
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden


      Original Poster

      HAAA!! I got really retarded today and decided to hack bareback..even with a poly pad his spine was hitting mine!! I didn't realize how bad it was till I sat on it without tack! Ouch
      I have a thinline with front and back shims that I got for my other horse who has super wide shoulders and a VERY straight back. Funny how I am at the opposite end of the spectrum with the two (but they ARE night and day in every other area as well).
      I was thinking of something with an adjustable tree but I am not a big fan of the bates. I have about 1k to spend, less is better. I know that knocks out a lot of options. I would love to find something nicer that is used over something new, but if I went with new I do love the ovation-but I have no idea what kind of tree that is in relation to this guy's needs...
      Honey Badger don't give a s*#^!

      "..a three-day event is not a test of speed and endurance, it is a test of character" ~JW


        I'm not a saddle expert by any means, but what you want is a saddle with a scoopy tree (I'm not sure whether that's the right term). I would think that given your price range and the fact that his back is probably going to change shape with work, that what you'd want to do is look for something used that will work for the next few months or so (or until his back muscles up a bit).

        I'd look at a Stubben perhaps. Others will I'm sure have other suggestions. I would not get an adjustable tree Bates unless you have one you can try to see if it will work. The tree really only adjusts in terms of width, and what you want to be concerned about is the shape from front to back.

        You might consider getting in touch with Trumbull Mountain tack on the web: they stock a lot of used saddles and will give fitting advice.

        Good luck.
        "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky


          Original Poster

          I am hopefully looking to find something adjustable (for the developement) and whatever his shape needs panel wise. I dislike Bates, before someone suggests..
          Honey Badger don't give a s*#^!

          "..a three-day event is not a test of speed and endurance, it is a test of character" ~JW


            I have a horse with a similar back - just not quite as downhill which I am sure will get better once he puts on more weight and topline. I ride in a Stubben Camelot close contact and a thinline pad (I have the one that is built into just a plain white contoured pad). I had a Wintec Pro Dressage. The CAIR panels on it were AWFUL for his back. Hard as a rock. An older, soft wool flocked Stubben has worked wonderfully for us. The key for us was finding one that had a good fist's space under the pommel. I had a saddle fitter out that showed me his fist in my Wintec, and told me what I needed. Believe it or not, even with a back like that we needed a wide tree to protect the withers and spine...but also a nicely open "under-pommel" area.

            I had never ridden in a close contact but love it. Camelot isn't as popular as some of the other Stubben models but I am glad we found one used.

            If you want to see pics of my horse in mine (or his back!) just PM me. My horse is a grey too coincidentally


              Original Poster

              bump just some brands with curvy trees.
              Honey Badger don't give a s*#^!

              "..a three-day event is not a test of speed and endurance, it is a test of character" ~JW


                My horse has Mt Everest withers, and an actual swayed back (picture your horse with a 1-2" additional drop), so believe me - I have been down this road! Here is where I would start, with a high-withered TB and your budget:

                1) Second-hand Exselle Debut - very comfy saddle with a cut-back pommel. This is my hands-down #1 pick.

                2) Barsnby (can be tough to find second hand, but there are several models with curved panels)

                3) Stubben - I think the Isabelle (?) or the Roxanne(?) might work...I might have the names wrong but there are a few models that you should try.


                  I can relate This is my TB when I first purchased him...

                  Holy Back!

                  I had a Butet that was a laughing joke, then bought a Dominus that fit fabulously, though I had it customized a by an expert because there was no way 'off-the-shelf' was going to work

                  ETA: I have the Matte's that could be shimmed & have a wool Beval pad that were both used along the way...the Beval pad was a must in the beginning, cushioned & lifted....


                    Original Poster

                    Yes holy back! Mine is not quite to that extent. Would love to see some after pics

                    Thank you for suggestions. I will begin here!
                    Honey Badger don't give a s*#^!

                    "..a three-day event is not a test of speed and endurance, it is a test of character" ~JW


                      I would suggest looking for a saddle that has the front or shoulder gussets, they work wonders on a TB.


                        i have a stubben roxanne that fits the mare i ride sometimes (VERY curvy back similar to yours) perfectly, and doesnt fit my mare (flattish behind the withers) at all!

                        my saddle fitter told me the stubben roxanne tree is one of the best you can get for curvy backs and sharkfin withers!

                        i love the ride of the roxanne as well- just wish it fit my mare better!
                        Jazz- 4.9.01 OTTB, loved since 12.6.09
                        Skip- 3.3.91 APHA, i miss you buddy


                          I think it is going to change so much once you get a topline on that horse. Personally, I would get something used that fits the wither/shoulder and width, with room to pad as necessary. Then after 3-6 months get a bit more serious.

                          I have a horse that came underweight and his back was very dropped. His hind end was a half inch taller than his front, which didn't help. I had my existing jumping saddle adjusted to a wide tree (Prestige, so it is about 2cm adjustable from the original tree size) and then used a fleece correction pad (he needed a lift pad). As of last week he is in a wide-tree dressage saddle with no back lift necessary, I just use my thinline (it is an older model Lovatt and Rickets saddle). It's been about six months to get to this point.

                          When I got him, fall 2010:


                          Sorry, I don't have any updated pictures showing his more recent topline change (he went back into work Jan/Feb and it has improved). He's still downhill but the sway in the back has come up and his neck is better too.

                          It's kind of fun because, a trainer who saw him when I brought him home (didn't say anything), but has since admitted that she was rather appalled initally, but he's now turning out to be "a nice looking guy."

                          Good to know I'm not totally inept at picking out a project horse!
                          DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette:


                            Check this link out:


                            Amerigo Close Contact - made for this type of back. If you click on the other styles on the side, you'll see the other backs the other saddles are made for. I have an Amerigo DJ...perfect for my guy. Good luck!


                              Banana panel, wither gussets, upswept panels behind (not large rear gussets).

                              Besides Amerigo (as TrakeGirl said), Vega (a lower line by Amerigo), Prestige and BdH can all fit this kind of back off the rack if you are lucky. To get the front gusset, you're going to be looking for something semi-custom built for a similar horse from Albion, Custom, Black Country or the like.

                              If you get something without wither gussets, shim the front to keep it up off his withers until they fill in.