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Saddle fit question: saddle rocking

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  • Saddle fit question: saddle rocking

    Is it possible for a saddle to be the correct width for a horse and still rock front to back?


    I have a QH gelding who is very muscular. He doesn't have very prominent withers and is rather wide/flat across his back. He's also built a bit down-hill. The saddle I've been using on him (which I'm almost certain doesn't fit) is a Collegiate Convertible Alumni with the medium gullet. The medium gullet seems to fit him fine, as he narrows just behind his withers, so I'm wondering if it's the shape of the panels on the saddle? I know this saddle has more of a banana shape than some other saddles...


    When I watch him go on the longe, I can see the saddle popping up in the back at the trot and what's worse, I can feel it when I sit in it It's like I can't. sit. down. in. the. saddle! I also have a western saddle that I'm sure is a bit narrow for him and it does the same on him when I watch him go on the longe... haven't ridden in it though.


    (FWIW, I haven't had saddle fitter out yet as I don't have easy access to a fitter who can travel to me. Horse is also not in regular work and is an hour away from me. Just trying to band-aid the situation for now )
    Last edited by SkipHiLad4me; Feb. 28, 2013, 09:53 AM.
    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

    Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

  • #2
    Absolutely - it means it's too curvy for the horse's back. That's one thing you just can't fix. You can use shims to temporarily fix a saddle that's too flat for the horse's curvier back and bridges, but not the other way around.

    Based on "wide flat back", I wouldn't at all think a Medium gullet would be suitable for him, unless your definition of wide is different from mine LOL Narrowing behind the withers (as I'm envisioning what you're saying) could be his conformation, but it's just as likely, if not more so, that it's lack of muscle, which means you need to fit wider and use shims while he's building.

    Pictures?
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

    Comment


    • #3
      Sadly, there really isn't a band-aid for this situation. If the rocking is very slight, it could be due to overstuffing in the middle of the panels and is an easy fix. But if it is sufficient that you feel like you can't sit down (and I know EXACTLY the feeling you are talking about!), it's more serious. The saddle is just the wrong shape for your horse.

      Based on your description of his conformation, you probably need to look for trees designed for a flatter back.

      It looks like you are in SE NC? If so, there are a few good fitters (non-brand-affiliated and Schleese, who are also well-trained and usually will work on other saddles, too) who work near your area on a fairly regular basis. I'd recommend working saddle-less for the time being while you work on getting an appointment with someone good to evaluate your horse and give you some recommendations for saddles that might work.

      Good luck!
      Equinox Equine Massage

      In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
      -Albert Camus

      Comment


      • #4
        If the problem is the lack of muscling in front of the withers, and that alone is causing it to rock, try a light shim on each side - just shims, not another pad - and see how that helps things.
        ______________________________
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

        Comment


        • #5
          No, it doesn't fit.

          Take it from me, just do yourself and your horse a GIGANTIC favor and get a saddle fitter out for the whole story. I soooooooooooooo wish I had done that a year ago. Oy, the pain & frustration I could have saved! Learn from me!!!
          Last edited by ChocoMare; Feb. 28, 2013, 10:51 AM.
          <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

          Comment


          • #6
            Too narrow? I've never seen too narrow be the cause of rocking
            ______________________________
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Yes pictures would be much more helpful I'm sure!! I may be able to get some this weekend if the weather will cooperate. The weather in the month of Feb hasn't been very conducive to riding or barn time in general

              Good point about the lack of muscling It's very possible that the medium would be too narrow if he were actually in regular work. I did stick a wide tree saddle on him that belonged to a barn mate but it was definitely too wide. A med-wide with some shims might work though. I could change out the gullet on this saddle but that won't fix the panel issue it seems.
              "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

              Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

              Comment


              • #8
                No me either, usually too wide will rock. ALso, the description of the horse on the lunge with the back of the saddle lifting, is different from rocking. Lifting at the back is usually too wide at the front. I thought the Alumni was the one with the very straight tree ?

                I think we need pics, from the side, with the saddle girthed up.

                Don't take too much notice of what the saddle does on the lunge, btw. The saddle is an interface between horse and rider. As such, it's designed to move with the horse's back, once it has a rider in it. Without a rider, you've got a bunch of irrelevant cowhide strapped to a moving horse.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by coloredhorse View Post
                  It looks like you are in SE NC? If so, there are a few good fitters (non-brand-affiliated and Schleese, who are also well-trained and usually will work on other saddles, too) who work near your area on a fairly regular basis.
                  Thanks for the info - do you have any contact info for these folks? The only fitter that I know and trust comes out of the Raleigh area. I don't have enough other clients around me to make it worth her trip and I'm not able to trailer to her at the moment either.
                  "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                  Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sorry I re-read my own response... not enough coffee
                    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Pics of the horse in question

                      Here are a few pics just to give you an idea of how this horse is built. He's just a solid hunk of boy. These are from right after I bought him in May. He hadn't been worked in over a year before then and he hasn't been in regular work since I bought him (long story!) so his fitness level will essentially be the same as it was here.

                      https://picasaweb.google.com/1130135...eat=directlink

                      I'll try to get some pics of horse plus saddle for you this weekend to see if you can help me decipher what's going on.

                      Thanks!
                      "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                      Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        After seeing his pics (CUTE boy ) and re-reading your post, yup you need something flatter and less "nanner" shaped.

                        For the wide, flat-backed horse, I ADORE my Duett.
                        <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Also keep in mind that unless the saddle you borrowed to try on was the same make as your original, you may be getting the wrong impression of what ''wide' is. A County wide is different from a Neidersuss wide, is different from a Wintec wide.

                          Unfortunately, there is no universal sizing for saddles.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Also keep in mind that unless the saddle you borrowed to try on was the same make as your original, you may be getting the wrong impression of what ''wide' is. A County wide is different from a Neidersuss wide, is different from a Wintec wide.

                            Unfortunately, there is no universal sizing for saddles.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              He's really not that flat front to back - he does look well sprung laterally though, as in, flatter side to side.

                              I strongly suspect a Duett is going to be too flat. He looks like the tree of a County, Black Country, Prestige, and the like, would be the right shape for him overall - longitudinally and laterally. Amerigo/Vega might be a little too curvy, but maybe not.
                              ______________________________
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Yeah, good point JB. I do adore my new saddle, the County Perfection, and it fits my wide, yet scoopy-backed mare.

                                Time to sign up that saddle fitter, Skip!
                                <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Your horse is adorable
                                  I can't imagine any medium treed saddle coming close to being wide enough for him though, though. He is quite broad. I have a QH with a similar build and he is usually an x-wide. Obviously that's a separate issue to the rocking. If you could post a pic of him in the saddle girthed up that would be helpful
                                  As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by JB View Post
                                    He's really not that flat front to back - he does look well sprung laterally though, as in, flatter side to side.

                                    You're right.... he does have some dip to his spine (which may be less pronounced when he's more fit) but he's definitely more flat from side to side. Makes for a handy place to set brushes and bottles


                                    Time to sign up that saddle fitter, Skip!
                                    haha! *cha-ching!*



                                    And thank you for the kind words about him... he's really a sweet boy and he's going to be a lot of fun if I can ever get the chance to really start riding him
                                    Last edited by SkipHiLad4me; Feb. 28, 2013, 02:07 PM.
                                    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                                    Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Yeah, I know the saddle fitter initial outlay is expensive, but it's an Investment in you & the horse. I kick myself for waiting so long. I'm riding again for the first time in 14 months because I now have something that fits both of us properly.

                                      Can't wait to see the I FOUND A SADDLE Happy Update
                                      <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I have Rio "hold" brushes and whatnot all the time lol. Definitely not sliding off his wide load!
                                        ______________________________
                                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                        Comment

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