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How to fit a saddle to a downhill horse

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  • How to fit a saddle to a downhill horse

    I have a 14h pony that is built downhill. Pretty much every saddle tips you forward because of this.

    He is not a hard fit. He has a very average back and there is a good fit in a variety of saddles, if you don't take into account balance.

    Once you start really scrutinizing it, the cantle is always higher than the pommel, even if the gullet is sitting correctly and there is enough wither clearance.

    A half pad usually helps a bit but no matter what, the saddle is not perfectly balanced because of this.

    Is this just something people deal with? In the 8 years I have owned him and ridden him I have not had problems with this (save for a little soreness which a chiro was able to work out of him in one session). I'm just wondering if you would keep looking for a better "fit" or just accept this is how he is and not worry about it.

    Strangely enough I do not have this problem with my dressage saddle.

    Here's the best conformation shot I can find:
    http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y56...5/P1020397.jpg

  • #2
    I don't see a horse downhill enough to be causing the problems you're describing

    You can't just look at the height of the cantle vs the pommel - if the pommel is low to stay out of the way of your crotch, it's easy for it to be lower than the cantle. Dressage saddles *tend* to have higher pommels.

    It would help to see the saddle in question on the horse, standing on flat, level ground.

    A better judge of balance is to see if the lowest point of the seat is in the middle of the saddle, front to back. Lay a pen/pencil across it - it will settle at the lowest point.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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    • #3
      This isn't usually a problem for the horse; it unbalances the rider, though.

      Using a front riser pad can help somewhat.

      http://www.doversaddlery.com/roma-wi...6/#ProductTabs
      Inner Bay Equestrian
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      KERx

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      • #4
        In the photo you posted, he honestly doesn't look terribly downhill to me.

        That aside, the pommel being a little lower than the cantle before you mount is not a bad thing, if, as you say, the saddle fits otherwise and is not too wide for him. You may just need to keep trying until you find one that allows you to feel as though you're in the right spot.

        When you stand a saddle on the pommel, and look at the shape of the panels, try to find one that has a bit of an "hourglass" shape, for lack of a better term. A little more breadth in the panel across the shoulders may give you the lift you're looking for without being too narrow.

        My pony has a similar build, and I have a Pessoa Rodrigo with the adjustable gullet that fits her well.

        Is it possible that you're just feeling the difference between your dressage saddle and a hunter saddle? I know that when I switch from the Pessoa to my old Stubben VSD, which is a more dressage type saddle, I feel as though I'm being pushed and tilted back to a more upright position.

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        • #5
          This post in particular, and many other posts here, can be very helpful in figuring out saddle fit issues:

          http://saddlefitter.blogspot.com/sea...&max-results=7

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thanks all, I think the problem is that when I slide it back so that its behind the shoulder blade, it kind of dips down. I assume that because a dressage saddle is cut straighter, that I don't have a need to slide it back as much.

            If I can, I will snap photos of him in the saddles I have.

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            • #7
              I used to have this problem and tried all manner of creative, and some expensive, pad solutions. After my horse became more muscled along the topline the saddle balance was fine, and I now just use a regular square or fleece pad.
              Mon Ogon (Mo) and Those Wer the Days (Derby)

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