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Wintec saddle sliding backward?

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  • Wintec saddle sliding backward?

    Never thought I'd be posting here as I've never ridden western before (well, I've had a Wintec western years ago I used to trail ride on around on my trainer's farm) but I recently picked up a "warmblood" (looks like a Lipizzaner) mare for my SO to putter around on and he wanted a western saddle. He is not in good health and will do no more than walk around the arena once a week or so, most likely on a lead line, so I didn't want to spend a lot of money on a good western saddle.

    Anyway, the mare is quite muscular, almost 16H, uphill build, good size wither and laid back shoulder. The Wintec is new (semi QH bars). I asked another boarder who barrel races and has ridden western for years if the saddle fit with a 1" thick wool pad and she said yes. We even added a rear cinch and breast plate.

    This boarder (who is not a small girl) got on and rode her. The saddle was girthed tight enough not to move with the woman's weight in the stirrup for several seconds before swinging her leg over. But as she rode at a walk and trot the saddle crept back a bit. I've never had that happen with an English saddle or even with my old Wintec on my Arabs. Unfortunately, none of my English saddles fit this mare, the trees are all too wide, so that isn't an option either.

    The experienced western rider said we could try rolling up a thin wool pad in the front to keep the saddle in place. As neither I or the SO will be doing anything remotely athletic with this horse (for now) this might work but I was wondering what is causing the saddle to shift back like that. Any ideas?
    Last edited by rcloisonne; Sep. 24, 2013, 12:39 PM. Reason: further clarification ;-)

  • #2
    If youa re an english rider, it might be that you are putting the saddle too far forward. The western saddle will sort of "settle" to where it belongs.
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    • #3
      I'm guessing, also, that you had it too far forward to start with. The front of the tree should sit just behind the point of the shoulder, and if you put it in front of that it will slide back once the horse starts to move. Got pictures of the saddle? Take a few both with where you think it should be, and where it slips too once she starts to ride. We can help you with whether it's a problem.

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Thanks but I had the woman who is a western rider place the saddle on after it happened the first time although she checked it before she got on the horse the first time. It looks straight and level when girthed up.

        Perhaps I'm not explaining it correctly but the saddle slides backwards as if the horse had low withers and butt high conformation and the rider is pitched uncomfortably forward. We haven't tried the rolled up in front thin pad yet but I ordered a wither relief pad to raise the saddle in this area (my local western tack shop didn't have one) hoping that will prevent the saddle from sliding backward. Fingers crossed!

        I'll try to get pics the next time we ride. Appreciate the help, believe me! This is probably just a cheap saddle thing but good grief if it's that bad why do people still buy them?

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        • #5
          Odds are the bars are wider apart under the fork than under the cantle. On a horse with a level or downhill build, that will tend to walk the saddle back.

          If you join this forum and download the "orientation" file about 5 posts down you can get a better visual: http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/forum1/188-4.html

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          • #6
            I will add here that most people measure 'uphill' or 'downhill' based on withers/croup line.

            Dr. Deb Bennett has a different way of looking at 'uphill' or 'downhill' etc than that, it has to do not with withers/croup but with core of loins and base of neck.
            Adam, so you have any suggestions that illustrate that well?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Fillabeana View Post
              I will add here that most people measure 'uphill' or 'downhill' based on withers/croup line.

              Dr. Deb Bennett has a different way of looking at 'uphill' or 'downhill' etc than that, it has to do not with withers/croup but with core of loins and base of neck.
              Adam, so you have any suggestions that illustrate that well?
              Thanks, yes, forgot about that! I take it for granted now.

              I use Dr Bennett's method because it concerns the spine moreso than the outline. I see a lot of dressage horses in particular marketed as uphill when they're really just downhill horses with high withers. That is to say, when you compare the height at the wither to the top of the croup, the wither is higher. Yet if they simply have tall withers, the back itself can be downhill and you run into saddle fit problems like the orientation PDF describes.

              To use the method I mention, you need to learn to see the widest part of the neck at about c6. You then draw a line from there to the point of hip (when he horse is standing naturally), and that line will generally be a very good approximation of the line of the spine in the saddle fit area.

              If you look at this: http://www.easphotography.com/Tindur...kupClipped.jpg

              It's the upper orange line I'm talking about as being the normal way, and the middle orange line being dr b's way. They're pretty even here, but if his withers were higher, it would change the upper line without changing the lower one. This is a youngish photo of my gelding, who is now a degree or two closer to level in the back.

              If you want a thorough treatise, the May 2010 issue of Equus features both with withers height AND features my fuzz ball as a model

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              • #8
                Also, you said you're mare is a muscular build and a bigger horse, but your saddle is a semi-QH bar. I would also take a chance in saying that your saddle is probably too narrow.
                "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

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                • #9
                  it's too narrow and it's walking itself backwards off the horse.

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by aktill View Post
                    Odds are the bars are wider apart under the fork than under the cantle. On a horse with a level or downhill build, that will tend to walk the saddle back.
                    Thank you all for your input. I have been ill and in and out of the hospital for the past few weeks with only smart phone access to the internet (don't have a laptop or i-pad). Sorry I haven't responded sooner. Chronic illness sux but I've learned to live with it.

                    I believe aktill has nailed the problem. This is a cheap saddle (but very comfortable) with a poor fit for this horse. Since were not going to be doing anything more than walk - trot in a ring and maybe a little trail riding at a walk, and as long as she's comfortable in it (seems to be) we'll keep it.

                    Especially interesting is the definition of uphill and downhill by Dr. Bennett. I'll have to get some confo picks of the mare and try to draw the lines. She has a really weird hip and croup (warmblood?) and is a tad saddle-backed. The western lady loves riding her and said she feels like a couch with a turbo option.

                    She sets up nicely and has a very comfortable trot, surprising as she has quite a bit of knee action. I can feel she would love to go for a gallop across a field but I'm not up to it and neither is the SO. She also has a very good Whoa installed, the most important thing a horse can be trained for, IMO.

                    Anyway, the tree is not too narrow. Full QH bars would sit right on her withers if I were to push it that far forward. Actually tried a nice leather barrel saddle on her with full QH bars and it was much too wide. We have added a thick wither pad (makes the saddle narrower) and that has helped tremendously. I wouldn't want to do anything like cutting, roping or barrel racing in this set up but it's fine for what we want to do.

                    I've learned a LOT from this thread and truly appreciate everyone's suggestions and knowledge. Thanks for sharing!

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