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Signs that your saddle doesn't fit your horse?

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  • Signs that your saddle doesn't fit your horse?

    This is a spin off from the CWD thread. Someone remarked that their saddle no longer fit their horse, and I was wondering how that feels. Aside from the horse bucking you off, how would you be able to tell?

    I bought a wool-flocked saddle last May, and I have not had it reflocked to fit my horse. He was really fit when I bought it, having just come from being in pro training. Now, not so much! I have noticed that I am in more of a fork seat so I added a shim to the front of my Thinline. Is that one of the signs that maybe it needs more stuffing in front?

    How would you know if your saddle no longer fits?
    2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

    A helmet saved my life.

  • #2
    #1 Look at it and see if it sits level.

    #2 Look at it and see to what extent the panels are touching and evenly congruent with the back.

    #3 Look at it and see whether the angle/shape of the panels matches the angle/shape of the back.

    #4 Run your hand between the panels and the back and feel for even pressure all along, no tight spots or gaps.

    Problem signs:
    dry spots on back
    uneven dirt marks on saddle pad
    white hairs on back
    muscle atrophy
    The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
    Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
    Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
    The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

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    • #3
      also slip your fingers under the pommel to feel that fit. My saddle does not fit my horse and I didn't really start OBVIOUSLY noticing until he was riding different..swishing his tail, balling up underneath me, etc. I tried other saddles in the barn. Eventually tried the ill fitting saddle again and it got so bad that my horse was kicking out when I asked him to canter..then kickingout when i asked him to trot. Longed him without that saddle the next day, kicked out every step. Chiro out 2 days later to adjust...she said DO NOT RIDE IN THAT SADDLE.

      Rode him for the first time yesterday post adjustment and in a DIFFERENT saddle. WOW my horse has never cantered like that before! BTW this was a custom saddle..

      Comment


      • #4
        What meupatdoes suggests is a good start, but in my case it did not work. The saddle (dressage) looked like it fit just fine until I got on my mare and rode for awhile. The signs the saddle did not fit included:
        - After riding there was weird rub marks in the middle of her back, like someone had given her a noogy on each side of her spine right in the middle of the back
        - She was extremely reluctant to lift her back during riding, kind of ran around with her head a bit in the air at the trot.
        - Her canter was crap. It was really hard for hard to canter when she did not want to lift through the back and the shoulders.
        - She was extremely resistant in lateral work.

        When I finally figured it out, I was really frustrated that the people I had been taking lessons with never suggested that my saddle may not have fit. I tried a different saddle on her after I suspected that I had problem with my saddle, and there was a huge difference. My little brat did a lovely halt-canter transition sinking nicely on her buns and rounding her back even though I had only asked for a trot. She went so round I was pretty sure I was in for a rodeo but was pleasantly surprised...... Sadly that saddle fit her but not me, but I found one that fit us both. She has withers now too; she looked mutton withered with the other saddle.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by myalter1 View Post
          also slip your fingers under the pommel to feel that fit. My saddle does not fit my horse and I didn't really start OBVIOUSLY noticing until he was riding different..swishing his tail, balling up underneath me, etc. I tried other saddles in the barn. Eventually tried the ill fitting saddle again and it got so bad that my horse was kicking out when I asked him to canter..then kickingout when i asked him to trot. Longed him without that saddle the next day, kicked out every step. Chiro out 2 days later to adjust...she said DO NOT RIDE IN THAT SADDLE.

          Rode him for the first time yesterday post adjustment and in a DIFFERENT saddle. WOW my horse has never cantered like that before! BTW this was a custom saddle..
          Verrrrry interesting! I used to think my dressage saddle was sort of one-size-fits-all, but this happened to me on a couple of horses I rode in it.

          There's a guy at my barn who leases a horse, and he bought a used saddle for himself, a really spendy one, at that, but the horse he rides in it constantly swishes his tail since he has been riding in it. Dare I mention the possibility that it doesn't fit?

          Anyway, I think for me it is time to have my saddle restuffed. I'm sure it has settled plenty. Meup, my saddle passes all of those tests, but the balance seems a bit off.
          2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

          A helmet saved my life.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by TheHorseProblem View Post
            This is a spin off from the CWD thread. Someone remarked that their saddle no longer fit their horse, and I was wondering how that feels. Aside from the horse bucking you off, how would you be able to tell?

            I bought a wool-flocked saddle last May, and I have not had it reflocked to fit my horse. He was really fit when I bought it, having just come from being in pro training. Now, not so much! I have noticed that I am in more of a fork seat so I added a shim to the front of my Thinline. Is that one of the signs that maybe it needs more stuffing in front?

            How would you know if your saddle no longer fits?
            That might have been me. My saddle started to get a little tight up under the pommel and my mare started getting some tense/knotted muscles along the top side of her neck and in her shoulder. The new saddle has cut-out panels to give her the extra room she needs (she's little, but has a MASSIVE shoulder). There is much more swing in her trot with the new saddle, and she didn't have a small trot to begin with.
            http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
            Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

            Comment


            • #7
              Make sure you girth it up when checking the fit... My saddle looks GREAT not girthed up... Good fit and panel contact and balance... But when I girth it up it tilts forward and pinches around his withers (he's very narrow, it's too wide up front, but close enough that it was hard to tell), so now I'm on the search for a new saddle after acquiring most every type of half pad in an attempt to shim it up (because I really like the saddle... but I like my horse more, so it's gotta go).

              As he got fitter and his topline developed quite nicely (in spite of the bad saddle fit, amazingly enough), he actually got NARROWER, so it really wasn't an option (of course, I got it in the middle of summer when he was fat and out of shape, which is why I was pretty delusional about it's fit until he got in shape and I could really see how much too wide it was).

              He has less objections to this saddle than he did to my old Crosby, and he's a wuss about pain, but I know it can't be very comfy for him.
              RIP Don - 3/28/2004-8/15/2012

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post
                That might have been me. My saddle started to get a little tight up under the pommel and my mare started getting some tense/knotted muscles along the top side of her neck and in her shoulder. The new saddle has cut-out panels to give her the extra room she needs (she's little, but has a MASSIVE shoulder). There is much more swing in her trot with the new saddle, and she didn't have a small trot to begin with.
                It was!
                2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

                A helmet saved my life.

                Comment

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