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finding a saddle that fits

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  • finding a saddle that fits

    My daughters saddle does not fit her new pony well. We have an extra saddle that fits the pony better but DD hates it ( she is used to an extremely flat saddle with a flat seat, and no padding) so I need to get her a new saddle .
    How do I go about finding one she likes and FITS the pony well? we do not live near very many tack stores and she has not had the chance to try out many other saddles. There are a handful of teenage girls who ride at our barn but most of them have saddles that have deeper seats and lots of knee rolls and thigh blocks. I am not against these things BUT not a huge fan either.
    Basically I am starting from scratch to find a kid a saddle who has NO idea what she is looking for. Pony is narrow in her shoulders and does not have super high withers. that is about all I can tell you.
    If anyone has a good suggestion as to where to start please enlighten me!
    I know enough to know her current saddle does not fit but not enough about saddle fit to know where to go from there!
    If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.

  • #2
    I'm surprised that I beat MVP to this thread.

    Saddle shopping is a tricky thing because it's one of those things where if you get the measurements right, the rest is very individual. Your daughter has already discovered that she likes a flat seat without much padding, which is good and bad. Good, because she knows what she likes. Bad, because depending on Pony's shape, the traditional "flat-as-a-pancake" saddles (i.e. Crosby Prix des Nations, Crump Prix de Saute) may not work, because they tend to be built for a horse with a fairly flat back (not much curve from the wither along the spine) and not a ton of wither.

    The armchair saddle fitters on this board can probably give you some suggestions for where to start looking for a saddle that will fit your daughter and your pony, provided that you give us some basic guidelines.
    What is the make/model of your daughter's pancake saddle that doesn't suit the pony?
    What is the make/model of the saddle that is better on your pony, but that your daughter doesn't like?
    How is your daughter built? Does she have long legs? If so, is she long from hip to knee or from knee to floor? (If you can provide measurements, all the better.) Is she slender, athletic, curvy in build? What seat size does she ride in?
    How is your pony built? You've said that she has narrow shoulders and not a ton of wither, which is a good place to start. How about her back? Is it curvy, like a sideways parenthesis from wither to croup, or fairly straight? Is she wide-backed like an upside-down U or built more A-frame? If you can provide a picture, so much the better.
    What is your price range?

    In terms of fitting, some general guidelines are that you should be able to fit two to three fingers vertically between the wither and the "roof" of the pommel when the saddle is being sat in. The saddle should sit levelly, with neither the pommel nor the cantle higher than the other, and when the girth is adjusted properly it should not slide appreciably forward or back. It should sit levelly on the pony's back and not slide from side to side as well, although with some quite round ponies without wither this can be hard to achieve. Both when in the saddle and out of it, you should be able to smoothly slide a hand from the top of the shoulder panels to the bottom without your hand getting stuck in one place or pinched. When looking at the back panels from the rear, the saddle should seem to sit around the horse rather than on top of him. These panels should also have even contact from front to back, so that there is no one spot where the weight distribution is uneven. To see pictures of saddle fitting problems and also to read up about ways that they can be fixed, there are a couple of threads in the Horse Care forum you should check out. This is one of the big ones: http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum...d.php?t=203679. But anything with a headline involving the words "armchair saddler" might be useful.

    Ideally when you are trying saddles you will be able to go to your local saddlery and come home with a couple of models that you can ride in at home. It sounds like that may not be an option for you, but you might look into making a road trip to a good saddlery with a lot of saddle options when you have a better idea of exactly what you want, because this is the most cost-effective way to try saddles. If that is absolutely not an option, saddleries like Rick's Heritage (www.saddlesource.com) and Beval (www.beval.com for new, www.allthebestusedsaddles.com for used) stock a large variety of saddles which you can take on trial. This can get expensive because of the shipping back and forth. Definitely be sure that you can ride in the saddle before you buy it though. Girth it up, flat, and jump in it, and try to get at least three days' worth of riding in your trial period. This is too big of an investment to not get a full trial period where you can be sure that the saddle is to your satisfaction.
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

    Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
    Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.


    • Original Poster


      here is a pic of Dd on her pony, she is 12 and about 5'6" with very long legs, the saddle she is riding in is a Swain, it was MY saddle from the time I was her age ( i am currently 40) it ha nice long flaps to accomadate our LONG legs. Her legs are long in the thigh and calf as you can see, she only weighs 89lbs.
      Not sure if this pic helps with the way the pony is built, in this pic she has only been ridden about 15 times total so her head is up and her back looks a bit hollow she also weighs at least 100lbs more now.
      You can see that pony is not overly wide ( anywhere) she has a very narrow build.
      Pancake saddle is a Swain
      Saddle that fits better is a Lancer ( close contact but not sure of the model)
      DD is tall and skinny, no curves ( probably wont get any either as I had NONE until I was about 35)
      the saddle in this pic is a 16 inch
      I would say pony has a fairly flat back, no deep curve
      not a wide back but not an A either
      Price: no more than $1000
      I just bought two ponies this summer and the checkbook is starting to scream!! LOL

      hope all of this helps, and thanks!! I at least need a place to start, if I have to ship a few saddles back and forth so be it, but I still need a starting point!
      If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.


      • #4
        You might check with Bucks County. They have a very good selection of used saddles. Looking at what they have, I see a few plain-flap Crosbys and Bevals that might suit you. You could give them a call and explain your situation and they could probably give you some suggestions.

        I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by Guin View Post
          You might check with Bucks County. They have a very good selection of used saddles. Looking at what they have, I see a few plain-flap Crosbys and Bevals that might suit you. You could give them a call and explain your situation and they could probably give you some suggestions.

          We are fairly close to Bucks and I love Carla ( that is where I bought the saddle she is currently riding in in the pics LOL ) I did look at their used saddles today online and plan to call her this week. I was hoping someone could help me figure out if another flat (pancake) saddle would work or if we needed to try something with more cush LOL?? I guess its mainly trial and error??
          If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.


          • #6
            If I had to name a good candidate model right now, I'd say start with Pessoa or an Crosby Excel thing.

            Pessoa's are especially well-designed saddles and horse-friendly. But because Crosby's idea of medium is my idea of narrow, those saddles might work, too.

            Your tall-drink-o-water daughter might dig a Pessoa stadium or AO. The stadium has a pretty long flap, and the AO can be found with long flaps. The Excel comes (or *came*) in several models, and you guys might like an H (hunter). I think they made an E (equitation) version, too. In any case, the flaps on these pups are notorious for running long. That means 15 1/4" from stirrup bar to bottom where others in a similar seat size would be 14".

            I would avoid a Crosby Centennial, regardless of the way it looks from the top. Their tree and panel design will probably put the saddle too close to your pony's withers.

            In your position, I'd first go to Bucks or Rick's and have your daughter sit in a bunch and even try a few on her pony. If one didn't just sing to you, I'd then hunt on E-bay. What you want is out there, especially from the Pessoa species.

            Best of luck to your team.
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat