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Dumb question, saddle placement?

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  • Dumb question, saddle placement?

    Okay dumb question. I have been riding for 40 years. I always thought I knew where to place the saddle, one of those things you don't give much thought to. Easy to see when it is too far forward or too far back. However a friend of mine has on several occasions commented that I don't have my saddle placed far enough forward. I googled it and found a saddle fitter's description saying a "finger's width" behind the shoulders. The same saddle fitter also said most people put the saddle too far forward and it is uncomfortable for the horse. I always just used the method slide the saddle back and it will find it's natural resting place. I don't know why I am asking I think I know what I am doing but now starting to second guess myself since I have been told that I am wrong. Anyone noticed some people putting their saddles too far forward?

    Thanks in advance I know dumb question.

  • #2
    I see A LOT of people that put their saddle too far forward, which doesnt allow the horse to use his shoulder fully. Ill look to see if I can find some pictures of too far forward, and just right.
    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


    • Original Poster

      Thanks AliCat! I ride several different horses/ponies and it seems a little different with each one depending on their confirmation which is why I always just used the method of slide it and let it find its proper resting place. I see other people sort of pull the saddle forward after it looked just right to me and then the girth is essentially right behind the horse's armpit. Just looks uncomfortable to me.


      • #4
        I use the withers as guide. I put the saddle close to the withers, but not so close that it will get in the way of the shoulder's movement. I try to picture the shoulder's range of movement to make sure the saddle is not interfering with it.
        Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

        Originally posted by DottieHQ
        You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.


        • Original Poster

          I just looked at William Micklem's book Complete Horse Riding Manual and I feel better. I do think lots of people have their saddles too far forward.


          • #6
            When I rode, I put the blanket and saddle a smidge too far forward, cinched up just tight enough to hold the saddle on and untracked the horse about 12 steps. Exactly twelve steps, too. Too many steps, the saddle slides too far back, too few, it doesn't 'seat' just right. Then finished cinching up. Always my saddle was in the right position. The thing which drives me bonkers is people don't tent the saddle pad/blanket above the withers, just let it pull down when they cinch up. I like a tented arch which with the 12 steps (no pun intended) the pad/blankie comes down just right.
            GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!


            • #7
              I think most people put it too far forward too. My daughter who is a newbie does it on occasion and I try to point it out to her as I fix it. There should be a few fingers width between the cinch and front legs. I don't measure as it just seems that is where I put it anyways. After you have been riding for a long time you can just tell when things are off ( usually).


              • #8
                I've been riding mostly TBs and TB-x's...they practically have a map on their back saying "put saddle here"! Generally, I'll put the saddle a bit forward and then push down near the pommel until the saddle stops sliding backward easily. If it's a horse I haven't tacked up a lot, I'll feel for the back of their shoulder and make sure I've got at least several fingers between that and where the tree point is. I'm long legged and ride in forward flap saddles, so I look for where the tree point is, not the flap, as that could be misleading. For most of the TB types, with a longish, flat, girth groove, where the girth goes is a non-issue, it goes where the billets say it does . I have been riding a little mare recently, with more of a belly and a short, forward, girth spot. Argh...where the saddle wants to be on her back and where her girth needs to go do not line up! Time for an anatomical girth.


                • #9
                  I place and wiggle it backward till it finds it's own resting spot but it's still pretty far forward. That's a hunt seat saddle, a park saddle wants to be waaay back. For the gaited folks a free shoulder is extremely important and they'll put a saddle on further back - going to the opposite extreme.
                  Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                  Incredible Invisible


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by goneriding24 View Post
                    The thing which drives me bonkers is people don't tent the saddle pad/blanket above the withers, just let it pull down when they cinch up.
                    I thought everyone did the tent thing. Apparently it's just everyone at my barn...
                    Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

                    Originally posted by DottieHQ
                    You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.


                    • #11
                      Girth should be about 4-5 finger width from the elbow.


                      • Original Poster

                        thank you all, you have been very helpful!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Niennor View Post
                          I thought everyone did the tent thing. Apparently it's just everyone at my barn...
                          Bothers me so much when people don't pull the pad up/tent it.


                          • #14
                            The saddle goes where it goes and the girth, same. You can't say x" from anything with any accuracy. Every horse is different.

                            Not that it matters much because if your horse has a big shoulder, it will push the saddle back to where it needs to be anyway. Next time your friend comments on your saddle placement, just say, "Thanks" and carry on.


                            • #15
                              It varies from horse to horse an saddle fitter should be able to tell you about your saddle and your horse.

                              f the saddle fits the horse it will move into the corrct position on its own. If the saddle doesn't fit there is no right place.

                              Some horses are built to carry a saddle further forward some are not.
                              A pussycat of a horse with a chewed off tail won the triple crown, The Cubs won the world series and Trump won the Presidency.
                              Don't tell me 'It can't be done.'


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by hunterrider23 View Post
                                Bothers me so much when people don't pull the pad up/tent it.
                                It's how i learned not to put a saddle too far back. If you can't make a tent on top of the withers with the addle pad, then you'll probably end up putting the saddle too far back.
                                Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

                                Originally posted by DottieHQ
                                You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.