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Saddle Fit for the wide, flat TB...on a budget. Help!

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  • Saddle Fit for the wide, flat TB...on a budget. Help!

    So, pretty much what the title says. I apparently have a *very* thick 5 year old OTTB. Wide front to back, flat side to side, but not very wide side to side. With I’m now guessing a more set back shoulder and more forward girth groove. All in all a
    PITA to fit, lol! She’s also on the shorter backed side, and I’m on the longer femur-ed side. Oh! And I’m on a budget, so like $1200 is stretching it. And I’m around a 17”-17.5” for seat size.

    I just got a Stubben Edelweiss NT with a 34cm tree and 17” seat to try, but I don’t think it’s quite right just seeing it sitting on her. It might be a bit too curvy once girthed up, and the billets might be just too far back, and it looks a hair narrow behind the shoulder. But, I haven’t girthed it up yet or ridden in it.

    She measured an XW on the gullet gauge for Wintec, but they are all too wide/flat in the wrong spot in the back panels for her, or I would totally already have one.

    With her width, almost everything affordable isn’t wide/flat enough, and nobody my size is apparently giving up their saddles, lol. Everything is either a 16.5” or a 17.5”/18”. And if the 17.5” are a bit on the roomy side, they are too close to being too long for her back

    I’m betting a County would fit perfectly, but I haven’t been able to find anything close to my budget, or the right size! I don’t have easy access to any tack shops, and it’s not feasible right now to have a fitter out. If a wide enough vintage Stubben existed, I would jump on one of those, I borrowed one from a friend and love it!

    Any ideas for where to look or brands to try? County, old Wintec, Bates, Tad, anything English, nothing French, something!? At this point I have a good looking pasture puff because I can’t find anything to fit her!

    *Can post pictures/links to pics once I figure out the easiest way*
    "On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."

  • #2
    Many of the English-made saddle brands should have workable options, and many can be found used on ebay UK less expensively than here, even with shipping. I have a Hastilow I acquired there that works beautifully on my wide, flat TB mare (as in looks more like a Morgan). Her dressage saddle is a Frank Baines - Reflex, I think. County, Hastilow, Frank Baines, Ideal, Barnsby, Albion, Kent & Masters, Black Country, may all be worth a look. Look for something specifically with rear gussets and wool flocking if you're dealing with a flat back.
    Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!


    • #3
      Call Smith Worthington. They will work with you to fit you and your horse within your budget. They have a lot of nice saddles on clearance.
      I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


      • #4
        Try a Beval natural if you can find one in a wide tree.

        I have a mutton withered TB who has a fat round back when he isn’t muscle wasting.. it also fit my big shouldered, fat thoroughbred as well.

        My femur is about 20 inches and the regular flap fit well. I was riding in a Voltaire with 3AAA flaps.


        • Original Poster

          Dewey thanks for reminding me about SW! I didn’t know they might have clearance options! Pretty sure the mare has Lyme, so at this point what’s more waiting... ugh. I’m beginning to think I should just wait it out and save up more for saddles in the $2k range, my options go exponentially up in that bracket! It’s more than I can hope for to have one that fits the horse AND my leg, lol.
          "On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."


          • #6
            Sorry to hear about the Lyme. Hope that gets cleared up soon. As for SW, they have some clearance saddles on their site; probably they have more than these in their store. The disadvantage of SW is that it is not a trendy brand and isn't an easy resale; the advantage is that its well-made and they will really work with you on fit.

            Waiting for your horse to recover and get fit is a good idea, but don't forget SW when you do shop.
            I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


            • #7
              I have a QH that sounds similar to your TB. Also 5, shark fin wither, but sort of plateaus off in the back, and wide. I had a saddle fitter out to check the fit of my (french) saddle and she can't make it work. She's coming back in a few weeks, but she told me pretty much nothing French will work, and thinks my best bets are Bates or Pessoa. She's bringing some out for me to try, but you could probably find one of them used in your price range. I stumbled across your post when trying to read some saddle reviews on the two. Good luck!!


              • Original Poster

                hokie98 the struggle! Your horse sounds similar to the Appendix I had as a teenager...she’s who started me on my saddle fit obsession! She was NOT an easy fit. I’d suggest you look for a County with skid row panels. They *do* make them in wide and extra wide with the SR panels, but they are almost impossible to find used.

                I’ve hesitated on the Bates, just because I’ve read enough mixed reviews about the tree quality and CAIR quality, and they aren't as easy to find as you would think! Plus, I think a lot of them are built on a pretty curvy tree, so you have to be picky about what year you’re looking at. I almost bought an older Event model, but was too afraid of having iffy panels needing work. And they were all 17.5” seats, which can be too roomy for me if they’re on the flatter side.

                As for the Pessoa’s, I’ve seen a good amount for sale, but a lot of them have more steeply angled back panels than I can work with. And apparently nobody parts with the Corto (flat) panels. Boo. Lol.
                "On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."