Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Benefits of Adjustable Saddles

First - Thank you for your kind words about Clyde.  He was one heck of a horse, I tried to buy him several times over the years but he was never "really" available.  He's also Bonnie's half brother - same Dam different Sire. He was the first horse I rode when I came back to riding in my 30's.  His family is taking his loss very heard, especially his boy who learned how to ride, rope, and generally have fun on Clyde.

Now on to the saddle fitting...

Saddles.  My saddle is two years old.  I brought it brand new when I bought Rosie. It has the interchangeable gullet system, and I went that way on purpose.  I have two horses, two differently built horses, and horses change shape, and grow.

Yesterday I ran to my local tack store, same store I purchased the saddle at, during my lunch break.  Two things on my mind to purchase - one of these :

It's the Wintec easy measure gullet gauge that tells you very quickly which size gullet fits your horse.  It's not an exact science but it's a good start.

And I was after a book I've been wanting for awhile now - 101 Dressage Exercises for Horse and Rider.

I walked in the door, and since it's very much like walking into your neighborhood bar where everyone knows your name, I was greeted by first name  and with the statement of "Looks like you're on a mission what can I help you with?"

I explained quickly that my saddle, you could see the commission sales possibility flash briefly in her eyes, is not fitting so well.  I explained my saddle brand, Wintec All Purpose with the Cair easy change gullet system, which gullet is currently in it, extra wide, and why I felt it was not fitting.

I told her what I was after - that measuring thing-a-ma-bob that wintec makes.  She went right to where it was at.  It was pricey for what it was, but it sure looks easier then wire hangers, cardboard, and tracings, and more exact.  I also checked the prices on the entire gullet system (all sizes in one package) and individual gullets.  They didn't have the entire system, but it runs in the $100 range.  They did have some individual gullets - they were in the $25 range.

They did have the book.   So I purchased both and after work headed to the barn to start measuring, sizing and figuring out what to do.

When I got there, S told me she had the entire system and if I wanted to try any sizes to feel free.

Following the directions on the measuring thingie, put saddle on head of withers and push it back until its in proper riding position.  Mark where saddle nail is on horse and remove saddle.  Place weight bearing edge of measuring thing where mark is on horse and side straight down until the weight bearing edge is sitting flat on both sides.  Look at colored gauge and that's the size.

Rosie was in the "Blue" medium wide range.  Remember current gullet is extra wide, white, and is sitting directly on withers, spine when weight bearing.   I quickly replaced the gullet (not so easy or quick in spite of the name of the system "easy change gullet") with the blue one.  Here is the fit in photos:

Plenty of space (my hands are small) I could easily get yet another finger in there if I had one... 

Sliding down the shoulders... 

Both sides...  no struggles

And sitting level on her back...

True test was when I rode.  It still pushed down, but not flat.  I could get 2.5 to 3 fingers between pommel and withers.  She moved out nicer, felt like she was leaping into her trots, and she wasn't so fussy when doing transitions up or down.  I've also made appointment for my instructor to come out on Friday to take a look.  At this point it may be just different padding options to give it another bit of lift.


  1. Sounds like you're on the road to finding the perfect fit for Rosie. What a clever system your saddle uses.


  2. Great that you can use the system to adjust your current saddle! way better than having to replace it or have 2!

  3. Glad to hear you have the gullet sorted. I have the same saddle and to make you feel better the different gullets here in NZ are up round $90 each. So 25 sounds like a deal.

  4. I wish I could be nearer could try my seems to fit the wider horse so much better than the withered.
    Glad that you could sort this out yourself!Having the trainer look will be good too.

    Have you ever looked at the 9 video series from "Saddle fit 4 life"? It is sooo much more than just the Wither clearance. I had an awesome cheap dressage saddle for almost a year..but found out that the billet placement was my problem and the "length" of the overall saddle-though it fit my mare so very nicely over the wither and shoulder.
    SHOCKER to find her movement shoved it upon her shoulders and it would always move too..because the billets were straight down and not angled forward to her girth channel.

    I truly hope this new gullet works for Rosie. I'm still in quandary land for saddles.

  5. I also have a Wintec, but a dressage saddle. It came with the red gullet. I like the 'easy change' (which I figured probably wasn't that easy) system - how smart!
    I hope the blue gullet does the trick for you.

  6. Saddle fit is so tricky. Sounds like you're on the right track.
    Be sure to post about the 101 dressage exercises. I'm interested in what you think.


Happy Trails!