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Saddle fitters - rear of saddle lifting off back?

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  • Saddle fitters - rear of saddle lifting off back?

    I've noticed that when my head puts his head/neck down, the cantle and rear of the panels lift off his back a few inches. (While I'm dismounted, obviously. )

    This also seems to happen while jumping -- I'm looking at some photos, and right as we take off, the rear of the saddle and pad are suspended in the air.

    I'm guessing this is *not* supposed to happen, so what does this mean?
    Road to the T3D
    Translation
    fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
    skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

  • #2
    Originally posted by FrittSkritt View Post
    I've noticed that when my head puts his head/neck down, the cantle and rear of the panels lift off his back a few inches. (While I'm dismounted, obviously. )

    This also seems to happen while jumping -- I'm looking at some photos, and right as we take off, the rear of the saddle and pad are suspended in the air.

    I'm guessing this is *not* supposed to happen, so what does this mean?
    No, it shouldn't happen, and yes, a saddle acting as a bit of a rolling pin on the rather thin muscles of a horse's back hurts!

    In general, the lifting cantle means your saddle is too wide in front. If it raises up a great deal, that usually means the tree is too wide. If it's more subtle, that can mean that the saddle is fine in front but too wide or shaped wrong at the waist of the saddle-- the narrow section of the "hour glass" of the panels. Some trees are built curvy than straight-- think banana versus rectangular. Those can mean a saddle with the same kind or shape of panel will have a natural tendency to roll or stay stable.

    This is the basic information you need to know. If you post pictures-- COTHers can help. Most useful are shots with the saddle on the naked horse, usually ungirthed. When you put the saddle on your horse's back, slide it down from the withers until it stops. No matter what you do, this is where your saddle will end up, and where you should evaluate it's match to your horse's back.

    A useful set of views:

    3/4 view from the front showing the leading edge of the panel/flap as it follows the angle of the horse's back behind the shoulder. Take a shot of each side as horses can be asymmetrical.

    Side view. This will let everyone see the balance of the saddle from pommel to cantle.

    Back view showing the way the panels follow the "roof top" shape of your horse's back underneath the cantle/back part of the seat. To get this picture, I like to stand on a step stool behind the horse so I can really see the panel and back as they meet. If we stand on the ground, there's a big horse butt in the way of what we need to see.

    I hope this helps and that your pictures tell a really obvious story so that you can know what to do.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

    Comment


    • #3
      OP -- You have access to an excellent saddle fitter. Contact Bill Wood. http://www.thesaddlefitter.com/ He'll tell you the truth and if he can fix it.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Argh, I had a reply all typed out and COTH ate it!!

        HH -- thanks for the link, I'll check into it.

        MVP -- I took some photos last night, unfortunately I forgot to do just the plain side view, but hopefully these will give some insight. I can fit about 3 fingers from his wither to the pommel. Also, I swear these panels used to sit evenly on his back... now they're not touching as well as they used to! I feel terrible for not noticing.

        He is in the process of putting on more muscle, but the dip behind his shoulder concerns me.

        All photos can be seen here: http://img12.imageshack.us/g/leftsideflap.jpg/

        Left side from front
        Left side flap
        Left side from rear

        Withers
        Wither, close-up

        Right side from front
        Right side sweat flap and panel
        Right side panel

        Butt shot
        Road to the T3D
        Translation
        fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
        skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

        Comment


        • #5
          Sorry saddle doesn't fit. Too wide in front, tree looks to be too curvy, rear of saddle doesn't make contact with horse. Side shot would show that clearly.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Wah! 1) I feel bad for making my horse ride in an ill fitting saddle, and 2) it took me SO LONG to find this one... and it fit him well last year! Poor guy... I'm a bad horse mom.

            Anyone want a Barnsby Diablo?
            Road to the T3D
            Translation
            fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
            skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

            Comment


            • #7
              Can it not be reflocked or fitted?

              Comment


              • #8
                Fritt you are NOT a bad horsemom!!! You are a good horsemom for noticing that the fit had changed and looking into it! Good advice above about Bill Wood. I personally would have him come out, take a look and see what he advises.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Trying to get some of the other boarders to get in on having Bill Wood, but no one's really interested. Is there anything I can do in the meantime? It seems like using a sheepskin pad with shims won't do much, and it might alter the fit of the tree to the point of where it's too narrow... But a pad just for the rear would probably raise the cantle too much.
                  Road to the T3D
                  Translation
                  fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
                  skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Fritt
                    If you post some pictures we can advise you better.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I am the queen of shims -- thanks to my assymetrical horse.

                      IMHO, saddle is too wide in front. So I would concentrate on adding a shim to both left and right front. See what happens. then add a second shim -- until you feel the front is raised up enough and the cantle is making more contact. I'd personally recommend using a saddle pad with four corrective pockets into which you can put the thin wool shims. (mattes makes one as do others) as opposed to putting a Mattes corrective half pad on top of a saddle pad. I've found that this automatically adds too much "stuff" under most saddles.

                      Even without people at your barn wanting to join in with Bill, he's not expensive, and is likely to be scheduled to be near you at some point in the near future . . . I'd give him a call.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Great, thanks!

                        AR - I'll try to get some better photos, keep forgetting to bring my camera to the barn!
                        Road to the T3D
                        Translation
                        fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
                        skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The 3/4 shot from the left, the side view showing the outlines of some ribs in there and the butt shot suggest to me that your horse lost a lot of muscle on his top line since the time this saddle fit well.

                          I can't tell if he's the tall, lanky 1960s TB type or not. But the shape of his back looks that way now. Is the thin by his standards? How old is he?

                          Yes, you have vertical clearance for his withers, but also a big ol' pocket of space in the "wither hollows section." Honey, that's your problem in my opinion. With a hole that large the saddle is too wide at the point in front that bears its weight in front and stabilizes it. If he is missing muscle long his spine all the way back, then nothing there-- underneath the seat--is keeping it from rolling forward and back, either

                          If this were my horse and saddle? I'd feed up my horse if this weren't his normal weight. I'd spend some time building his topline back up if this looked like a "more angular version" of his normal self. Lunging in side reins, riding bareback, walking or trotting on hills can all help. I'd experiment with a thick half pad. Because your saddle does have lots of clearance for his withers and you have hollows to fill in, this might be just the case in which a half pad works well.

                          In general, I try *not* to buy saddles unless I think the horse is going to stay the same shape for a while. I have no shame about trying funky pad combinations as a temporary fix.
                          The armchair saddler
                          Politically Pro-Cat

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The best photo would be a side shot that shows the saddle and the whole horse standing square. It sounds like it is rotating on the points of the tree. Not only will he be happier with a fix you will probably feel a big difference as well! I'd bet you're fighting your saddle for a balanced position because it's tipping you forward as well...

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Thanks all!

                              MVP - He's a 9 y/o OTTB gelding, 16.1 hh. We're working on building up his topline, he lost quite a bit over the winter and has been in a regular program for that. He's on the slim side and has been notoriously hard to keep weight on. (Don't worry, we've been feeding him Weight Gain 3000 "Beefcake" to get him fat. J/K. ) The vet looked at him and gave some recommendations... he's getting better, but he still could use a few pounds. Also, he's also pretty slab-sided, plus has had some back issues due his SI (hunters bump), which doesn't help.

                              I just ordered a Thinline Trifecta pad (w/o the sheepskin), but in the meantime I'll borrow someone's half pad to see if that helps. The only other one I have is a Supracor pad, and it seems to pinch his withers. Prior to this, I was using a regular Thinline pad.

                              Subk -- I don't really notice myself fighting for position, but I do have pretty long legs... maybe that sort of counterbalances it...?
                              Road to the T3D
                              Translation
                              fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
                              skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by FrittSkritt View Post

                                MVP - He's a 9 y/o OTTB gelding, 16.1 hh. We're working on building up his topline, he lost quite a bit over the winter and has been in a regular program for that. He's on the slim side and has been notoriously hard to keep weight on. (Don't worry, we've been feeding him Weight Gain 3000 "Beefcake" to get him fat. J/K. ) The vet looked at him and gave some recommendations... he's getting better, but he still could use a few pounds. Also, he's also pretty slab-sided, plus has had some back issues due his SI (hunters bump), which doesn't help.

                                I just ordered a Thinline Trifecta pad (w/o the sheepskin), but in the meantime I'll borrow someone's half pad to see if that helps. The only other one I have is a Supracor pad, and it seems to pinch his withers. Prior to this, I was using a regular Thinline pad.

                                Subk -- I don't really notice myself fighting for position, but I do have pretty long legs... maybe that sort of counterbalances it...?
                                Thanks for the info. Those horse might be the type that loses muscle and fat in the "wrong" places first and too easily.

                                You have a good plan-- more groceries, work on the top line and some half pads to borrow and try. Seriously. Give all that some time to work before you saddle hunting.
                                The armchair saddler
                                Politically Pro-Cat

                                Comment

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