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Off the rack saddle for a TB

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  • Off the rack saddle for a TB

    My saddle has slowly started to begin pinching my mares back. Said saddle fit her beautifully earlier in the summer when she was out of shape, but now she has begun to develop a topline and it is obviously too narrow.

    Shes a Tb with a big shoulder and a typical shark-fin wither. I know that eventually she will most likely need a custom saddle, but that just isnt feasible with my budget right now. So in the mean time im trying to find something that fits for under $1000 hopefully.

    I've tried a handful of saddles on her so far with minimal luck. So far I've tried 2 HDR's, Ovation, PJ, Bevel Devon, Legends, Antares and a Butet. Between those either they would sit on her wither or be too narrow across her back. I tried a friends Circuit which fit better, but not perfect, and a M Tolouse, which was the best of them all. One of the trainers told me to try a Phillipe Fontaine saddle? Ive never heard of them before.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! Thanks

  • #2
    Phillpe Fontaine is by Stubben and I have heard good things about them for TBs. I have had luck with the Courbette Arosa with the e-motion tree. It's not a super fancy saddle, but it fits my TB quite well.


    • #3
      I have 4 saddles that fit my wide, but very shark-fin-withered TB.

      "His" saddle is my County Innovation (out of your price range from the sound of it) and that fits him the best. It's a narrow tree, but fits his wide back/narrow wither beautifully.

      I also have a narrow County Stabilizer that also fits him extremely well. I have it flocked for my mare, so I don't use it on him, but I have in the past and like it almost as much as the Innovation. You can find a used Stabilizer in the $1000 price range if you look around.

      I also have a medium tree Courbette Stylist which I HATE with a passion. It has a hard seat and super slippery leather and tips me back just enough to be mildly annoying. It's worth mentioning, though, that I rode my old DWB in it for 5 or 6 years before I got my Stabilizer, so it didn't bother me *that* much until I got a nicer saddle. It fit the shark-fin-wither conformation nicely with the addition of a back pad (I used a saddleright pad for my boy). I would imagine that you could find a used Courbette in the $250-$750 range.

      And then my go-to saddle for all of my horses that need something different temporarily is my old medium tree Clinton Northrup close contact saddle. I got it brand new when I was 12 or 13, and I've loved it on every horse I've ever put it on for the last 22 years. It sat gathering dust in my tack room for a ten-year period before I "rediscovered" it a couple of years ago. Now it's the saddle I ride my 3yo holsteiner in (he also has prominent withers). I rode my TB in it for a while, but it doesn't have knee pads, and while I don't mind that on 99% of horses, my TB is wide through his ribcage and then suddenly narrow where you knee goes, and he's the only horse I've ever owned that I feel like I *need* knee blocks and pads on. Clinton Northrups are hard to find (the company went out of business many years ago), but I've seen them on Craigslist here and there for a couple hundred dollars. I'd love to get another (I LOVE the balance of the saddle, even more than my Counties), but I haven't been able to justify buying a second saddle when the one I have is just fine.

      Anyhow, I'm sure there are lots of other saddles out there that will work great, but those are the saddles that work well on my shark-fin-wither kids (which include a WB mare, my OTTB gelding, my TB gelding, and my WB baby). My saddles that absolutely do not fit those horses are my Devoucoux Biarritz (way too curvy of a tree for that high-withered build), my Butet, and the Devoucoux Socoa sitting in my tack room that belongs to a kid who rides for me every now and again.
      Flying F Sport Horses
      Horses in the NW


      • #4
        why not just get the same model in a wider tree?
        it fit up until this development point. the bones below haven't changed.
        chaque pas est fait ensemble


        • Original Poster

          Thanks PNW for the suggestions. Hopefully Santa will come soon with a custom saddle for my girly I am in love with a friends County! I will definitely keep an eye out for a used stabilizer.

          Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
          why not just get the same model in a wider tree?
          it fit up until this development point. the bones below haven't changed.
          Already tried it. The saddle I have now, I bought used from a friend who had it fitted her old horse, and it just happened to fit my horse when she was getting rid of it. Tried another friends on (in a medium tree, currently have a narrow) and it sat touching her withers.


          • #6
            I have a Medium-Narrow tree Amerigo Vega for my shark-finned TB. I wouldn't describe him as broad through his shoulders though....but the Vega nicely cuts up and back to clear the shark fin. May be worth trying on your mare in the appropriate tree size for her....
            "To understand the soul of a horse is the closest human beings can come to knowing perfection."


            • #7
              I was just going to reply to say try an Amerigo.

              I am riding an older TB (15) with shark fin withers and a bit of a curvy back in an Amerigo DJ - medium tree - and it is a bit wide for him up front, so I put front shims in my Trifecta pad to fix that. Everywhere else, fits him nicely. Even though this model is meant for more flat back horses, I still find it has a decent curve so it works fine for him. They also have the Amerigo CC model that is meant for the curvy back, shark fin. Their gullet is nice and wide and PLENTY of pommel/wither clearance (said by someone that tried on a ton of saddle that sat on the wither).

              But DJ, CC, Vega - one of those models might fit the bill.


              • #8
                I've had good luck with Courbettes fitting those shark-fin withered horses.


                • #9
                  I have a used Bates Caprilli that fits my shark-fin withered TB very well. Not so much for my low-withered, tank-bodied paint. They are adjustable, of course, but not easy enough to switch every ride. I have a Pessoa A/O for the paint that also fits the TB but I think the Bates fits her the best.


                  • #10
                    Look for a used Ashland. LOVE mine- and with the slight cut-back, it's great with the TB withers!
                    "Life is too short to be a slave to the whims of others." -- RugBug, COTH


                    • #11
                      I also have a broad-shouldered, high-withered TB and saddle fitting these types can be a real challenge. I'm currently riding in an older County Stabilizer with a medium-narrow tree and it fits him very well.

                      He's doing great it in, finally building some topline, and I have to say that the County is the nicest, most well-balanced saddle I've ever sat in.