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Saddle Fit Western Saddle

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  • #21
    Get the tree first. Saddlemakers have multiple trees and will ship you samples. Place the trees on her back and check how those contact her back. Find a good fitting tree and then order your saddle. It just doesn't work to specify the bars without first specifying the tree-maker, because there is no industry standard of what is or isn't QH bars. Of course, her back can change with condition, but start with a well-fitting tree.


    • #22
      You are not altering the hoof, you would be leveling the body. A fraction of a inch in a front pad, could have rump and withers even. That would remove excess impact on her front legs and hooves in each step. Some times a horse is born with uneven front and back ends. So horse spends life landing harder in front, which involves not only hooves, but the entire leg column. This probably will affect her working career, shortening her usability. Doesn't have to happen. Just saw an Arab heading into show season wearing front pads to level him up, and expecting to perform and win this season with a heavy show schedule at age 25. Horse has been a regular top 5 in his region for many years in several catagories, under various riders. The pads keep him comfortable. I see front pads help a lot of horses, who were unlucky in their body builds.

      Quarter Horses, Western Breeds carrying QH blood, are known for being built downhill. These animals, also are known to breakdown, have a variety of front end lamenesses. That low front end take more impact with forces of weight on shoulders, with their downhill bodies.

      I kind of look at the front pad as taking horse off "high heel people shoes" jamming his toes into the dirt every step. Pads make horse move like he is wearing athletic shoes, level hoof for landing. You would not consider wearing high heels as your only shoe all day long. High heels give you foot problems by reshaping your toes, bones, maybe back issues, along with being rather uncomfortable landing on your toes with full body weight each step. Feet are not made to wear high heels without resulting in foot problems. Good horse conformation does not include downhill build as a good choice of bodies. Helping horse land level could improve how it moves in work, how long it will last in a working career.

      Sorry, I will strongly disagree with your idea that riding correctly, exercising to build sling muscling, is EVER going to level a horse body that has quit growing. If only it was true!! There would be a lot of folks out building level horses thru more riding!


      • Original Poster

        Goodhors, I appreciate your opinion but I disagree. A horse can be built slightly downhill but move with an uphill tendency. A horse is a Dutch warmblood not a quarter horse and has a correctly set on neck and body structure. In the Summertime by often used glue on aluminum front shoes. These shoes are thicker and she actually does not do as well as them as she does a regular aluminum because of the extra thickness. So in my horses case building the show up in the front would not work. I've spoken with the saddle maker in Montana actually, the tree maker and the saddle I am being sent belongs to someone who had it made specifically for a horse built like mine. Hopefully it will fit and that will be the end of it. Very nice to allow me to try his saddle.


        • #24
          Yep, I can see you are not understanding the idea I am trying to share to aid your horse. A thicker shoe is not going to give the same in results as a regular shoe and pad, with their effect on the horse and horse movement. Horse doing worse in a thicker aluminum shoe, might also be partly the effect of traction aluminum gives, one of the reasons they wear so quickly. With your closed mind about information being shared by other folks, not just me, I won't waste any more time here.


          • Original Poster

            Goodhors, my horse wears aluminum front shoes all the time. It's the glue on aluminums with the added height that causes a problem. And I appreciate that you will no longer waste your time educating me as I'm sure it will be better spent educating others.


            • #26
              Maude, I'd start with a 1/2" or 3/4" pad. As her weight fluctuates you can add or subtract Navajo blankets to accommodate.
              I prefer an inch or two of pad sticking out for both ends of the skirts. But not too much either. Most 32×32 pads will be sufficient for the dropped rigging. Stay away from the close contact cut or butterfly style pads with dropped rigging.

              Diamond Wool makes a good economy contoured felt pad in the $100 range. Or 5 Star makes the best, in my opinion, for about $250+.
              I also have quite the collection of navajos, varying styles and thickness. Some meant to be used folded in half. My horses tend to drop a little weight in the spring and the fall when I'm the busiest. Rather than buying 29 different saddle pads, it's easier to swap out blanket toppers.


              • #27
                Honestly I would not buy a pad until you've figured out the saddle first.

                If you have a good-fitting saddle, less is more on the pad. I am a big fan of 5 Star pads. I use 1/2" pads on my guys.
                It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.


                • Original Poster

                  Aces N Eights and Beau159, thank you for your suggestions. The saddle shipped today and it's getting shipped through the saddle maker to save me on some shipping costs. He's throwing in a wool pad that he makes that looks very similar to a 5 star pad. It's 3/4 inch thick so I can go from there. Here is a picture of the saddle I took from a video.