Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saddle Woe's

Saddle still not fitting correctly.  I've got it sitting up off the withers now by going from Extra Wide gullet  to Medium Wide.   It appears to be pinching at the shoulders now at the narrowest (is that a word?) part.

Went to local tack store and they have a saddle fitter as part of their staff.  I have to say she was very helpful answered all my questions with honesty and wasn't interested in selling me a new saddle.  Even though I did take a consignment home on trial - more on that later.

So I told her what I had, what the initial problem was with the X-Wide gullet it, which gullet I put in based on the measuring thingie.  What the new gullet solved, but created new issue.  I explained Rosie, and while she has some wither, she is typical flat draft back. She has enough wither that my saddle does not roll.

She said to go with the next widest gullet, which I will do, then use Mattes pad to make up any room.  If I feel it still is too low to the withers, to try a thin-line.   She said that is what she would do until Rosie finished filling out.

I also discussed Duett saddles - she said they are naturally low in the pommel and may not  be correct either, even though they are wider.   They didn't have any there, but they did have a Albion Dressage wide tree, 16.5 seat.  She said the tree itself is a bit wider and may fit nicer, it at least gives me an idea of how a different saddle would fit her.  So she set up with a demo dressage girth because I wasn't sure if I had one; my saddle is an All Purpose so that girth wouldn't work at all.

Off to the barn I went.  Today I decided to try the consignment saddle because our weather is going to turn bad starting tomorrow afternoon and I've only got it for a week.  I put my leathers on it and tossed it up on Rosie.  It appeared to sit balanced, it wasn't higher either in pommel or cantle. Billets fell in the correct locations and I could slide my hand easily between the points and Rosie's shoulders.  Plenty of wither space.  

I haven't ridden in an actual dressage saddle in years, and to top it off my leathers on the highest hole were too long.  I didn't want to punch new holes as I need help with that because of having one leg noticeably longer than the other.  So I wasn't too happy about that because my legs fell more into a chair position so most of the time I just dropped them.   I was able to get Rosie nicely forward and she was pretty responsive for her.  I just can't tell if it fits her any better.

Tomorrow morning if I have time I'm going to change the gullet in my saddle and see if I can get to a happy medium so we can continue to build her top line in.  After Christmas I'm going to have the saddle fitter come out and do a true fitting.  At that point I'll decide if I have to buy a new saddle or not.


  1. Sounds frustrating ! Hope you find the right balance

  2. Saddles are always so much fun, aren't they. I just had Sugar measured for a new Tucker endurance saddle. Hopefully, it will work well for her.

    Best wishes on finding the right saddle for you.


  3. Saddle shopping/investigating is fun and exhausting at the same time. Good luck!
    Also, if you need shorter leathers w/o punching holes, you can always wrap the leather around the stirrup iron once to take up extra leather.

  4. Saddle fitting. So. much. fun. So sorry I know how frustrating it can be. I would love to know the name of said saddle shop with consignment saddles and a saddle fitter?

  5. Hello there!
    Hoping your Thanksgiving wad good Jeni!

    Well, you're a smart cookie. You and me, were been at this for sometime. Have you watched the " Saddle fit 4 life" videos? Good stuff.

    Balance/ billets/ no bridging.
    Don't forget length of saddle shouldn't extend past the last rib on her back, or it'll get forced up to her shoulders.

    Something my sis keeps telling me is go for a wider saddle pad it up. It'll give the horse room to grow and room to really move.
    Now to find the brand that has a higher pomel!

    Hope the Albion works. I've heard good things about them.

    I had a woman contact me about coming over to her stable, try her saddles on .Very unusual, generous. I go on Weds. The saddles are the Parelli " Fluidity" . Went on the web site...crap, very expensive but -the theory is the thing.

    I'm with ya in the hunt for the right saddle fit-for our totally diverse from each other horses!


  6. The thing that is frustrating to me is that even if/when you get one that fits by the book, that is no guarantee that you or your horse will like it. I ended up trading my expensive Tucker trail saddle for a much less expensive barrel saddle that I love.

  7. And to piggy-back on what Leah says.... there's no guarantee that the saddle will fit forever - both my guys' backs have changed a bit and one of my saddles no longer fits Pippin.

    Oh, if only I had been born rich!

  8. Saddle fitting can be so frustrating. It sounds like you're on the right track though. It's great that you have a saddle fitter and can bring saddles home to try.
    Doug (my husband) has an extra wide Albion for his draft cross mare and it fits her very well. I don't think she's as big as Rosie though and of course every horse is different...
    Good luck with getting the right fit.

  9. I have an Albion SL Dressage saddle and my horse(s) and I love it. Like riding in butter. As Berlin, at age 26, has a long and low back, I also use a Mattes Pad and it does the trick. Good luck with the one you are trying. A proper fit is SO important.

  10. Saddle fitting is such a pain. I've been through it with Dusty and Blue. No withers and flat backs. I do have an Albion dressage saddle and so does my daughter but since they don't fit any of the horses I have it with a saddle fitter to sell it. Such a shame as I only used it about 5 times before Erik died. Wish it fit someone here. Hope you find the right fit for Rosie, it takes a long time but a saddle fitter is a good idea. That's what I finally did with Dusty. Had her trace her back and bought a Black Country Saddle from England that fits her really well and as a bonus fits Blue too. Love the Albions though, there just wasn't anything that fit them. Good luck. Love your new header picture.

  11. Do you read the saddle fitting blog? I've learned an awful lot from her over the years - sadly just enough that I know how much I don't know! Anyway, if you're bored at work poke through her archives. I think she'd say that changing the gullet rarely fixes the problem.

  12. Just found your blog thru Amy of Slow and Steady.

    Saddles...I am anxiously awaiting my County Connection for my 4 yr old mare. I had a saddle fitter out and ordered after trying demos - can not believe the difference a correct fitting saddle makes!

  13. Hi Jeni! I love reading your blogs and posts in the FB Dressage for Adult Amateurs group. I used to compete a draft cross in dressage and went through the same exact pattern you are. We started with the Winted Pro Dressage Saddle doing training/first level and settled on the Albion SLK w/ an XW tree was schooling 3rd/4th level. But he was 16.3 and 1450lbs! I hope the saddle situation rectifies itself soon. Let me know if you need any suggestions!


Happy Trails!