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Saddle Fitting a WIDE Pony!

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  • chesnutpony1
    replied
    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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  • chesnutpony1
    replied
    Update!

    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.
    Attached Files

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  • chesnutpony1
    replied
    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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  • chesnutpony1
    replied
    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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  • chesnutpony1
    replied
    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!

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

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  • chesnutpony1
    replied
    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.

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  • pony baloney
    replied
    Today was my fitting appointment and the main thing I learned was......my 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.

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  • chesnutpony1
    replied
    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!

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  • StormyDay
    replied
    Just saw this one OP: https://www.equinenow.com/english_saddle-ad-23253

    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.

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  • chesnutpony1
    replied
    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.

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  • pony baloney
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • chesnutpony1
    replied
    Definitely not against going the custom route, but I'm afraid I have gotten too many optimistic responses yet from saddle companies. Photo below shows the very small amount of saddle area this girl has. We aren't working with much space!
    Attached Files

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  • chesnutpony1
    replied
    More disappointing news I am afraid - the 14.5" panel actually measures 16" on the Black Country saddle. So it won't work for our girl. I was bummed when it arrived in the mail and I saw how long it looked... back to the drawing board I guess!

    I am really thinking we will need a 15" saddle unless I can find a 15.5" or 16" with 15" or shorter panels.

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  • chesnutpony1
    replied
    Another update - I actually found a Black Country close contact saddle on a freedom tree with upswept panels to try! Actually - I should phrase it - the very kind owner of this saddle found me! She originally bought it as a 16.5" but it actually measures only a 16" seat. It is an XW width on the freedom tree. The panels measure only 14.5" long. Hopefully this is the winner! If it seems like a match, I will post tons of videos and pictures. I am worried it might be a little narrow for her - originally was thinking an XXW in the hoop tree - but I know hoop trees are generous compared to the original A-framed trees. I know the Black Country saddles can be widened by a saddle fitter if needed, so I decided to pull the trigger and purchase the saddle. I had an XW Quantum X in a hoop tree for my Haflinger many years ago. He was a wide boy by all means, but our new girl is definitely wider, lol. The XW hoop was actually too wide for him though. Looking back now, I am thinking he would have done better in a W hoop tree.

    no.stirrups Thank you for the extra info!

    TheJenners I know, I was very surprised when even the XXW Hastilow saddle was a tad too narrow on her. The video and pictures show her being ridden in the saddle with the XXW plate installed. I am not sure if part of the issue was that the tree was A-framed, but it was too narrow still. One issue was that it was too narrow at the top of the tree, but perhaps too wide at the bottom. She has these bothersome fat deposits at her shoulder. Good news that she has shed a few pounds in the 2 - 3 weeks that we have had her. We taped her at 796 lbs when she first arrived. I taped her again the other day and she is now 753 lbs. The funny part is that this doesn't sound absurdly overweight - originally I was thinking her ideal weight would be 680 - 700 lbs. I think with her past of being a momma and just her conformation really make this a struggle, lol! I did return the Hastilow saddle already because I was just not comfortable with the length and the bridging. I believe the panel length was 16.5" - 17".

    StormyDay Oh - thank you for the info! I did not think they made saddles with 16" seats. Right now I think the plan is to try the Black Country mentioned above and go from there. I am also in contact with AH Saddles and Chunky Monkey. But if I exhaust all these options, I will email Duett! Fingers crossed though that I find something that works!

    Kaspercat Yes, I have seen the working hunter saddles! That's interesting that you mention the bareback / saddle pads. I actually just placed an order for a Christ HorseDream bareback pad in the pony size with a matching dressage girth. I've been wanting one for eons, so I decided to pull the trigger. At least I don't have to worry about panel length, gullet width, seat size, etc.! I am in contact with AH Saddles. I know they are extremely busy. It sounds like they service quite a few riders & horses!

    Leave a comment:


  • Kaspercat
    replied
    I should have added that a lot of natives, cobs etc... over here are ridden in a style of saddle called a 'working hunter'. I don't know how common the saddles are in the US but it is a straighter cut saddle that you can also jump a small course of fences in. Having said that I have known people go hunting in them, jumping massive hedges and dykes so I guess the small fences thing is relative to the bravery of the rider! Andrea Hicks does one that has a hoop tree.

    https://www.ahsaddles.com/supercob-w...-hunter-saddle

    Leave a comment:


  • Kaspercat
    replied
    This situation is why some of the widest Welshies (and other natives) are shown over here in saddle pads. If something like an Andrea Hicks saddle is still too narrow then a Thorn pad is really the only option left for competitions.

    https://www.ahsaddles.com/

    https://www.thornsaddles-pads.co.uk/saddle-pads.html

    Leave a comment:


  • TheJenners
    replied
    I did finally watch the video you posted on page 1... Are you sure the bounce with the Hastilow can't be fixed with a little padding? Thinking a shimmable pad. Because so far that seems to fit the best and she moves well and looks happy.

    ETA because looking at her pictures to my pony, my pony is definitely WIDER than yours, but not as curvy, and she is great in a wide tree Hastilow (again, the Concept, not sure how different the models are for horse fit) and you are talking about triple X wide trees like your pony is some sort of draft I can't help but think your wither clearance has to be zilch at those sizes.

    Attached Files

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  • no.stirrups
    replied
    Originally posted by chesnutpony1 View Post
    Perhaps a 16" Black Country saddle on the native tree will work for her? I'm totally OK with riding in a smaller seat size (17" is very large for me), but now I am worried that even a 16" may be too long for her back.
    Black Country will make a panel up to an inch shorter than would normally go on a saddle, so you could get a 16" seat with a 15" panel. Though I still think you should look at Harry Dabbs...

    Leave a comment:


  • StormyDay
    replied
    Originally posted by chesnutpony1 View Post
    Another update - tried the 16.5" GFS Monarch Cob saddle on the girl. Very, very minor bridging. Still too narrow, but I didn't have the XXXXW plate. Way too long for her back unfortunately! I took measurements several times over from her scapula to T18. Measured straight across her spine, I am getting only 14" - 14.5" inches. This sounds crazy small! I am going to measure again today 3 inches down from the scapula to T18. Apparently this may be a better gauge for her "usable" saddle area. Argh! I am so sick of returning saddles. I am thinking I will need to custom order a saddle. Perhaps a 16" Black Country saddle on the native tree will work for her? I'm totally OK with riding in a smaller seat size (17" is very large for me), but now I am worried that even a 16" may be too long for her back.

    Can you tell I am going crazy?! Lol.

    StormyDay Not sure if Duett makes small enough saddles. Our girl is a propane tank, so mutton-withered and very wide, well-sprung ribs!
    I’d contact them. They may even have some demos that would be cheaper. They do make a 16 and 16.5 inch. The foxhunter May be what you are looking for as it’s made for short backed horses.
    https://www.duettsaddles.com/product/foxhunter/

    Leave a comment:

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