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Saddle Fitting a WIDE Pony!

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    Original Poster

    Originally posted by pony baloney View Post
    I have a pony with a similar shape, but am looking for a dressage saddle. My saddle fitting appointment is this Tuesday, so if I learn anything helpful, I'll pass it on. I've tried a Thorowgood with an XW gullet through SmartPak; it was the widest gullet with the trial saddle and not wide enough. It also looked like a giant stuffed sofa on my little guy. A boarder let me try her Duett, which was huge on him. Never rode in either saddle.

    The fitter works with Arena, Bates, Black Country, Fairfax, Kent & Masters, Loxley by Bliss, Thorowgood, Wintec and Veritas and also has many consignments in other brands. There HAS to be something that will fit my tiny tank. (With my luck, it will be the Verita$).

    I can understand your frustration in trying so many that haven't worked. Biting the bullet and paying for a fitting will hopefully cut out a lot of the grief in this process.
    Good luck!! If you learn anything, please do let me know! My sister and I are frustrated for sure trying to fit our girl. I'm afraid we did bite the bullet and pay for a professional fitting several weeks ago... but the saddle fitters did not have any viable options. The saddles were not wide enough or short enough for our girl. I have tried to get in contact with them again, but no response. They are a very reputable saddlery, so I am very disappointed.


      Just saw this one OP:

      Pony baloney: strangely with dressage saddles many ‘normal’ brands have hoop trees. You may find a winner just perusing a local used tack shop. I was just in my local one wondering why there were all these hoop treed dressage saddles....But if not, I know for a fact Black Country has hoop trees and they also will customize whatever you want. They apparently will even build you a custom tree if you need it.


        Original Poster

        StormyDay -
        Oh wow! That is a rare find. I am afraid a 16" will be too large for our girl. I am actually going to be trying a 15" XXXW Working Hunter saddle by The Saddle Company. It should have 15" panels, so we should be fine with length. I am also going to be trying a 15" The Native Pony Saddle Company Working Hunter saddle. It was used on a very wide fell pony, and the panels measured under 14.5" inches. I am still considering the custom route, but nothing concrete yet from my inquiries. We shall see!


          Today was my fitting appointment and the main thing I learned wide saddle is too wide for my pony! He isn't actually as wide as he appears. His barrel is very round, but the part of his back where the tree sits isn't nearly as wide. Not quite a hoop tree shape or A-shape. He is a challenge because of that, and his short back and high croup. She may be able to make my ancient wide Barnsby Raven dressage saddle work (strip/flock, change billets, narrow the tree), which could be my best bet.

          Luckily for you most jump saddles have upswept panels instead of gussets, which make the length a bit shorter. She could make a pony sized jump saddle work, but I don't need a jump saddle and although my seat will fit, my long legs won't.

          Sorry I'm not much help. My fitter is a Master Saddler and it seems she can do quite a bit with a saddle in terms of padding, shaping, etc. Perhaps if you found something close to good enough, a qualified fitter could tweak it to make it work.


            Original Poster

            pony baloney That's great that you might be able to make your dressage saddle work for your pony! I am already scouting out several other fitters in the area for future flocking and adjustments. I might be able to use the saddlery that originally evaluated my mare, but I am a little concerned since the communication has been hit or miss since the appointment. :-(

            I thought I was close to having a custom saddle being made, but unfortunately the specific tree I was eyeing up cannot be made in a 15" size. Still crossing my fingers the two 15" saddles I have on the way work well for her as length was one of our biggest concerns.


              A 15" jump saddle in a wide is much easier to find than a dressage saddle that small. Best of luck!


                Original Poster

                pony baloney Best of luck with your pony too! If only our girl was just wide, lol! I think she would require a XXXW in most saddles. I have a working hunter saddle coming today - fingers crossed it fits like a charm!


                  Original Poster

                  Saddle five! This is a XXXW (3X Wide) Working Hunter saddle in seat size 15" - panels measure around here also. I liked how it fit her shoulder - it is however narrow for her at this point. I did ride in it and she seemed okay, normal speedy pony! No problem walk / trot / canter. A lot less bridging - in fact, when girthed, I noticed extremely little if any. I am thinking that perhaps if the tree is widened and maybe a little flocking in center or decrease flocking at front, it will look and ride even better. Definitely an improvement from the others which were so long and bulky that I couldn't even ride in. I wish the panels were a tad shorter - 14.5" may be perfect for my sanity! Despite it being a bit narrow, how does it look, length-wise? It is so hard to find the last rib on this pony, but I kept landing at 15 inches in measurement, and this saddle is "right on the money."
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                    Original Poster

                    Here is a photo of the specific saddle (it does have a lower cantle / flatter seat with less depth than a GP or dressage) -
                    It is the Saddle Company Show Working Hunter:
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                      Original Poster


                      Have an AH saddle on the way - I think this will be the winner!

                      Panel length is 14 inches (seen in picture below). It is the Sport GP model in the widest fit and smallest seat. I also have scheduled another appointment with a different saddle fitter. I am thinking the AH saddle will be here shortly before appointment - this way we can see if any flocking adjustments are needed. I have two saddles still with me to ask some questions about. The saddle I posted above I think is going to end up being just too long in panel length for me to feel comfortable, so not sure we are going to pursue any adjustments in tree width or flocking.

                      The other 15" WH saddle I have is better fit width-wise and the panels are upswept, giving it a panel length of 14.5 inches. But I am thinking the channel width at back is just too narrow for my broad girl. Will get the fitter's opinion on this and see if it would be worth widening, but if the AH saddle suits her much better, then we will just focus on that one.
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                        Original Poster

                        Realized I never posted another update - have been riding in the 14" AH Sport GP saddle (very small rear and front gussets, but not upswept so stability is maintained in rear) and it has been the best fit for my girl so far! It is in the widest fit (XXXW / 7 fit) - I had it widened to this fit before it was sent to me. Definitely recommend checking out AH saddles if you have a really short-backed pony or horse as it can be really tricky to find something that works. I never thought I could ride in a 14" saddle but their saddles are generous. Their most common seat size is 16.5" so I guess that says something! I really think it was important that I went with a saddle that was built for ponies like her in mind, because even though this saddle isn't a hoop tree, it is generous through channel but isn't bulky or overwhelming - I had the issue that Cob saddles that were built for bigger horses don't match her smaller back / size and the rear panels are too flat and broad for her.

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