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padding for high withers

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  • padding for high withers

    I seem to get a lot of OTTBs with high high withers. My saddle, which normally fits a big wither well, it still hitting the wither on one horse. The padding I use is a baby pad w/ a sheepskin wither relief pad. I've decided the sheepskin pad is not thick enough to lift my saddle off the wither. Do the plain fleece wither relief pads lift the saddle more? I also have a wool felt wither relief pad but stopped using it because I heard it can make some back sore?

    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    I have struggled with saddle fit on my TB for this reason as well. I'm curious to see what others say, because I was led to believe that the biggest sin you can commit with respect to saddle fit is to have no clearance for withers, padding or no...that a saddle that requires padding to cushion the withers is a saddle you can't use on that horse.

    I finally ended up finding a saddle (a Vega) that has plenty of wither clearance for him...but it took a while.
    "To understand the soul of a horse is the closest human beings can come to knowing perfection."

    Comment


    • #3
      Sorry ... but thick pads will only make a saddle that lacks enough wither clearance fit worse. Sort of like wearing a thicker sock under shoes that are too tight to begin with.
      **********
      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
      -PaulaEdwina

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      • #4
        shark withers

        I have ridden many many of these horses, and I use a wither relief or keyhole pad, either material, as well as a riser pad, I have the white one that is kind of flat in the front, and has the ridge in the back. This raises the whole saddle to allow for the clearance.

        This has been successful for me. I also make sure that the saddle is not too far forward, and the flap clears the back of the scapula. I have had someone tell me I put my saddle too far back on these horses, but they seem comfortable; and after living with one that bucks after the jump; this was the solution. With the help of the chiropractor, we discovered that it wasn't so much the wither, but the impingement of the scapula. They work cohesively.

        Comment


        • #5
          It *entirely* depends on WHY it's hitting the withers. If it's because the fit is too wide due to lack of muscle beside the withers, then the saddle is pommel-low, and you need either overall thicker padding to put more "horse" under the saddle, or you need more padding (shimming) up front to take up the space where muscle isn't.

          If it's hitting the withers because it's a normal pommel, as opposed to one that's a little cut back, then if it fits otherwise, more padding will make it not fit at all, not just at the wither area.

          So, to get a better set of suggestions, we really need to see a couple of pictures at least - straight on from the side, and a 3/4 front view. The horses should be standing square, on a flat level surface, saddle girthed, no pad.
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by leelee View Post
            I seem to get a lot of OTTBs with high high withers. My saddle, which normally fits a big wither well, it still hitting the wither on one horse. The padding I use is a baby pad w/ a sheepskin wither relief pad. I've decided the sheepskin pad is not thick enough to lift my saddle off the wither. Do the plain fleece wither relief pads lift the saddle more? I also have a wool felt wither relief pad but stopped using it because I heard it can make some back sore?

            Any thoughts?
            If this is a common problem, I would bite the bullet and invest in something really designed for this type of horse. My shark finned TB needed a County with all the bells and whistles designed for high narrow whithers: skid row panels, extra deep gusset etc. Of course, now I need something wider for a different horse...

            But if you are training or flipping horses and you get a lot of narrow un-muscled TBs coming through, I really think that it would be worth the investment to get a saddle that isn't going to hurt them. And the problem you describe is one of the more painful and intense saddle fitting issues and can lead to serious training problems and unhappy horses.
            Originally posted by tidy rabbit
            Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by JB View Post
              It *entirely* depends on WHY it's hitting the withers. If it's because the fit is too wide due to lack of muscle beside the withers, then the saddle is pommel-low, and you need either overall thicker padding to put more "horse" under the saddle, or you need more padding (shimming) up front to take up the space where muscle isn't.

              If it's hitting the withers because it's a normal pommel, as opposed to one that's a little cut back, then if it fits otherwise, more padding will make it not fit at all, not just at the wither area.

              So, to get a better set of suggestions, we really need to see a couple of pictures at least - straight on from the side, and a 3/4 front view. The horses should be standing square, on a flat level surface, saddle girthed, no pad.
              She is a barely 4yr old OTTB mare and she is bony, and because of that there is practically nothing filling her out. So I'm hoping that she fills out more and more saddles will fit her better because, believe me, I'm sure no one makes a saddle that could properly fit her as she is right now.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by ExJumper View Post
                If this is a common problem, I would bite the bullet and invest in something really designed for this type of horse. My shark finned TB needed a County with all the bells and whistles designed for high narrow whithers: skid row panels, extra deep gusset etc. Of course, now I need something wider for a different horse...

                But if you are training or flipping horses and you get a lot of narrow un-muscled TBs coming through, I really think that it would be worth the investment to get a saddle that isn't going to hurt them. And the problem you describe is one of the more painful and intense saddle fitting issues and can lead to serious training problems and unhappy horses.
                My saddle does fit the high withered TBs - but not this particular horse. I've already switched saddles to one that fits high withers. I think this horse's problem is not so much her wither height, but her lack of muscle and fat to plump her back up a tad- which is exaggerating the height of her wither. And, until she gains wieght and muscle, I'm trying to make her more comfortable.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by leelee View Post
                  She is a barely 4yr old OTTB mare and she is bony, and because of that there is practically nothing filling her out.
                  Barring a growth spurt that just makes it impossible for her to eat enough calories, or do enough work, to fill her in (which happens, I know!) then something *should* be filling her in. But I do understand the growing issue. If she doesn't look like she should given her caloric and nutritional intake, as well as her work load, then I would look to how much of what type of protein she's getting. Do a quick search on the Horse Care forum for Tri-Amino (by Uckele) and you can find what I mean

                  So I'm hoping that she fills out more and more saddles will fit her better because, believe me, I'm sure no one makes a saddle that could properly fit her as she is right now.
                  Sure they can But it might be a saddle that won't fit her in 6 months. This is when it becomes very, very invaluable to learn how to fit wide and pad up where muscles aren't, so that the horse has room to grow the muscles without having to get a new saddle or do major re-flocking every 3-6 months

                  Someone mentioned County with all the bells and whistles. A lower cost alternative is Black Country who also does a trapezius panel and wither gussets (or even full shoulder gussets) to account for hollows beside withers and along spines. That's a pricey option for a horse who's likely to fill in those hollows, so not something I'd recommend except for horses who are just that way for one reason or another.

                  Another option would be the cheaper saddles, like under $1000, in narrow trees (gawd, can't believe I'm even suggesting that!!) that are cheap enough (buy used) that you don't lose much $$ in reselling, and then get the same model but in a wider tree and wider tree over time. I've seen some *really* narrow trees.

                  But, if she has wide shoulders to go along with those tall withers and hollows beside them, you're not going to be able to do a narrow or even regular tree. So, you go wide, to fit the shoulders, get a pommel that's a little cut back, and use padding, like I mentioned, to fill in where her muscles isn't. My OTTB mare has VERY tall withers and no muscle due to not being in work. A wide tree Vega Jump was an *amazingly* good fit on her. Wide enough for her shoulders (and she's not terribly wide, just deceptively wide), the pommel is slightly cut back therefore not sitting on her withers (which are long as well as tall), and it could take a thicker pad and be just fine on her.
                  http://www.horsegroomingsupplies.com...07-smaller.jpg
                  She's not a large horse - 16.1-ish, that's a cob-sized halter on her. 78" blanket. Not large. Honestly, if something as "normal" as a wide tree Vega Jump fits her, I can't imagine your girl is harder to fit
                  ______________________________
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I use a Saddle pad, Beval Theraputic pad and a Beval Pommel Pad on my TB cross. He had big withers and this is what fits him the best.
                    www.justworldinternational.org

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      So, to get a better set of suggestions, we really need to see a couple of pictures at least - straight on from the side, and a 3/4 front view. The horses should be standing square, on a flat level surface, saddle girthed, no pad.[/QUOTE]


                      Yes please, may we see?

                      I was paying careful attention while tacking up the TB's yesterday, so I have fresh eyes.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My new horse has really high withers. And while he is still getting muscle on his back I also had an issue with his high withers. I actually took a half-pad and altered it. I use a normal saddle pad and then I use a wool half pad ( like this one http://www.doversaddlery.com/diamond...-1917/cn/1405/) and I cut out the part that would sit at the withers. Because the gap would be so wide it would actually slide down the horses back I loosely sewed together about 4 inches back. This way I have absolutely nothing on his withers and it lifts my saddle off of it. I hope I explained it right. When my saddle fitter came for my other horse he suggested it for him, so I just got a slightly thicker one and tried it on Forrest and all is well.
                        Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
                        Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
                        Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
                        Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          cswoodlandfairy, that sounds like a nice combination of a thicker pad and some shimming You could have done the same thing with, likely, just a set of shims by the withers on top of a thicker fleece pad, without having to "ruin" a half pad. But, actually, by cutting that half pad, you really took out the BIG problem I have with them, so that's great
                          ______________________________
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JB View Post
                            cswoodlandfairy, that sounds like a nice combination of a thicker pad and some shimming You could have done the same thing with, likely, just a set of shims by the withers on top of a thicker fleece pad, without having to "ruin" a half pad. But, actually, by cutting that half pad, you really took out the BIG problem I have with them, so that's great
                            Thanks! It works great. I was able to sew it so it didn't look like I cut it. It works wonders. For my older gelding I have a thinner Wintec one that I cut out the wither area. My saddle fitter suggested it and said it was either creating a real wither relief pad or buying a Mattes which I don't have that kind of money. It has significantly helped with my saddle fit! I definitely recommend it as a cheaper fix!
                            Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
                            Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
                            Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
                            Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I use a Beval wither relief pad. It's the only thing that works.
                              * * *
                              Wedonit
                              Ch. G, 2000
                              Stalwars x Theydonittoknight

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                similar challenge

                                I didn't want to start a new thread and this search result seemed pretty close...forgive me, I know saddle fit is a common topic!

                                I have a similar problem to the OP: wither pressure from the saddle which seems to be both top to bottom and side to side. This is with a narrow tree County Symmetry that was bought for this horse, but at a younger age and a much different (less) level of work.

                                I had the County rep out and she said the tree seemed right. She removed some wool where knots had formed, replaced it with lanolin-free wool, and added additional wool. My horse was a bit fussy and she said he may not like the panels stuffed "hard." (He is pretty expressive with the saddling faces and makes it hard to tell.) She opted to leave it slightly soft and said she wanted to look at it again in 8-10 rides to see if it settled and needed more.

                                I rode in it only twice and already I'm down to about a finger and a half of clearance in front, and it looked like the sides of the pommel were making contact on the sides of his withers as he walked as well, so I re-contacted the rep early.

                                She hasn't seen the horse again yet but is now thinking that he may need an XN and/or different model with shoulder gussets, etc. I hesitate to do this, primarily because I'm in the process of getting the horse fit again and while I realize he's now 15 and will not regain the back of a 10-year-old, I would hate to make a considerable investment in a new saddle that itself may not fit in 6 months.

                                Does it make sense to shim/pad this saddle to make the horse comfortable in the interim? (Is it possible?) I do have a Mattes correction pad I could try. I've always hesitated to pad to fit so I'm not very padding knowledgable.

                                I'm also wondering, how common is it for a horse to actually change tree sizes?

                                I will do pix if you like!
                                Talk to the Hoof

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  If the SIDES of the pommel are making contact with his withers, that is way, way too narrow

                                  Way.

                                  I don't know the general quality of County fitters, only knowing that the one I had to my farm was quite good. But from what you describe, I'd say that fitter doesn't know what she's doing.

                                  A N tree, bought for a younger, less worked horse is NOT going to fit not. Just not. Replacing knotted/lumped wool is good, but putting new wool back AND adding more sounds like the very wrong thing.

                                  Vertical wither clearance should not be achieved by making the tree more narrow, unless the tree is just sitting too low because it's too wide.

                                  This is not a shim situation, this is not a situation any pad can fix. Lack of horizontal wither clearance means the tree is much too narrow.

                                  And yes please to the pictures No pad, girthed, side view and 3/4 front view. HOrse needs to be standing square on a flat level surface. Show the whole horse preferably, but at the very least show the entire saddle, shoulder, and girth.
                                  ______________________________
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by leelee View Post
                                    I seem to get a lot of OTTBs with high high withers. My saddle, which normally fits a big wither well, it still hitting the wither on one horse. The padding I use is a baby pad w/ a sheepskin wither relief pad. I've decided the sheepskin pad is not thick enough to lift my saddle off the wither. Do the plain fleece wither relief pads lift the saddle more? I also have a wool felt wither relief pad but stopped using it because I heard it can make some back sore?

                                    Any thoughts?
                                    Your saddle's tree is too wide for the horse if it's hitting the wither. The only pad I've found that effectively lifts the saddle is a Saddleright pad. I have the leather one and it's awesome, if expensive. The Saddleright website is a bit disorganized so don't let that bother you - I actually had a long conversation with them by phone before I ordered mine, they were very helpful.
                                    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I have to second the Saddleright recommendation, though I am intruigued by the option of cutting up a thick half pad. Sounds like a good solution.

                                      Anyway, I've had mine for a loooong time. More than ten years and it is going strong. It's literally good as new. Not only does it work with a wide saddle and tall withers, it believe it really helps the horse's back. I've foxhunted with it and without it and I have to say that I really feel it in MY back when I don't use it. I can only assume the horse feels the difference as well.

                                      It has a money back guarantee, so if you have the money, I would say it is worth a try. (This is assuming the saddle is actually too wide.)

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Oh yes, the Saddleright pad! I've had mine for over 10 years and it's still as good as new - wonderful, wonderful things.

                                        Yes, the website is a bit, ummm, annoying so don't let that put you off.
                                        ______________________________
                                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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