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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2005 :  10:35:06 AM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
While at it, my horse has high withers AND they are long. (This isn't just a nice, tidy little rise she has, it's high and then a very gradual slope downward to her back, and I think the bony structure extends farther than normal.) The natural tendency would be to place her saddle farther back.

After watching a saddle fitting show (Palm Partnership) I tried my western saddle on my horse without any pad to see where its contours best fit her body, and just to see general compatible shape between saddle and horse. I didn't have enough withers clearance without a pad rising the saddle up. I'm not sure I expected to, but I'm just noting that. I then tried it on with a synthetic "sheepskin" pad -- nice padding, but not as thick as my wool/felt pad with withers cutout. (And that is a thick, fairly stiff pad.) Now suddenly there was more wither clearance with the lighter pad, and it LQQKED like enough. The back of the saddle wasn't rising up as it tends to with my thicker, more dense, stiffer wool-felt type pad.

So, generally, how far forward do you put your western saddle? Is the horn over the withers (assuming "normal" withers)?? On Horse City (brief segment on saddle fitting), he said to purposely place it too far forward to start with, then slide it back until it finds its "seat." That's easy to do without any pad, but much harder with one. It seems to "seat" in several positions, so it's not an easy "that's it" kind of thing to determine. And it's also a lot harder to feel under the saddle (and pad) to evaluate fit.

I know this is a hard question because maybe you'd have to see it in person (and I *could* take pictures with and without for reference). But is there a general rule of thumb as to what you want to look for in saddle placement? And (with a pad) a general rule of thumb for fit?

Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5092 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2005 :  12:04:30 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
OTW; When you sit the saddle too far forward before sliding it back, the front of the saddle (the pommel will usually set higher than the rest of the saddle. A rule of thumb that I find works real well is when you slide your saddle back to where it should sit, the top of the pommel should be the same height as the the top of the cantel. That is, of course, if the saddle fits the horse correctly to begin with.



"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning
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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5092 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2005 :  12:04:30 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
OTW; When you sit the saddle too far forward before sliding it back, the front of the saddle (the pommel will usually set higher than the rest of the saddle. A rule of thumb that I find works real well is when you slide your saddle back to where it should sit, the top of the pommel should be the same height as the the top of the cantel. That is, of course, if the saddle fits the horse correctly to begin with.



"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 11/19/2005 :  05:08:48 AM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
RH, regretfully it doesn't shake out like that (pommel being even with top of cantle). Some pommels are higher, some lower, so those reference points are far from a constant. On the show I watched, for instance, they chose an arbitrary spot on the cantle with their English demo and called it "even." (It was at least an inch below the top of the cantle.) With Western, they chose "just below the horn" as a guide, and that was also a guess. She was actually looking more at her ruler, getting it horizontal, and called wherever it landed "just below the horn." I'm talking about a Western saddle. Now, as for sliding it back until it "seated" on the horse's back, that was easy without the pad. With the pad under it that was impossible because it APPEARED to be "seating" not only when I slid it back, but also if I slid it back a couple more inches. That was a big variety of placements where it felt "seated." All I know is that I "happened" upon a position ONCE where her canter felt normal, and it wasn't more than an inch or maximum-two back farther, and again I felt like I was riding on square wheels. Also with the pad, I had a heck of a time feeling for evenness between the saddle (pad) and horse's back. It's a heavy saddle, relatively, and so if you're fitting your hand under it... let's just say it didn't tell me much of anything. I also tried the saddle with no pad to see where it "seated" but the second you add a pad of ANY thickness, you're changing the entire fit.

This may well fall into the "impossible question" category.
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 11/19/2005 :  05:08:48 AM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
RH, regretfully it doesn't shake out like that (pommel being even with top of cantle). Some pommels are higher, some lower, so those reference points are far from a constant. On the show I watched, for instance, they chose an arbitrary spot on the cantle with their English demo and called it "even." (It was at least an inch below the top of the cantle.) With Western, they chose "just below the horn" as a guide, and that was also a guess. She was actually looking more at her ruler, getting it horizontal, and called wherever it landed "just below the horn." I'm talking about a Western saddle. Now, as for sliding it back until it "seated" on the horse's back, that was easy without the pad. With the pad under it that was impossible because it APPEARED to be "seating" not only when I slid it back, but also if I slid it back a couple more inches. That was a big variety of placements where it felt "seated." All I know is that I "happened" upon a position ONCE where her canter felt normal, and it wasn't more than an inch or maximum-two back farther, and again I felt like I was riding on square wheels. Also with the pad, I had a heck of a time feeling for evenness between the saddle (pad) and horse's back. It's a heavy saddle, relatively, and so if you're fitting your hand under it... let's just say it didn't tell me much of anything. I also tried the saddle with no pad to see where it "seated" but the second you add a pad of ANY thickness, you're changing the entire fit.

This may well fall into the "impossible question" category.
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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2005 :  12:32:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
Could you maybe take some photos of it in the right spot? Then you have some type of general idea to compare to when you try with pads. If you have photos of what works and what doesn't it will help you try your eye to what looks right. Personally I don't care for a thick over all pad. Once you hit that 3/4"-1" mark it just makes a good fit go bad.
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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2005 :  12:32:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
Could you maybe take some photos of it in the right spot? Then you have some type of general idea to compare to when you try with pads. If you have photos of what works and what doesn't it will help you try your eye to what looks right. Personally I don't care for a thick over all pad. Once you hit that 3/4"-1" mark it just makes a good fit go bad.
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2005 :  10:09:31 AM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
I made an error in the previous post. I meant to say some CANTLES are higher than others. In particular, I'm thinking of a deep seated dressage saddle that has a higher than average cantle. I keep getting drawn to dressage saddles, as I've heard several people say they love them for trail riding -- lighter on the horse and very comfortable for rider. Though western is the only thing I've ever ridden in, what I don't like is that I feel I'm riding the saddle, not the horse. You can't feel the horse's movements underneath you, and I'd like to be able to do that. Cloud responds pretty well to very light aids, so I'd like to take advantage of that and who knows, at some point, maybe take a few dressage lessons so I can develop a better seat (important in any form of riding) and also, ideally, teach her some very basic dressage. I'm not sure she's the horse for that, but hey, it would be fun.
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2005 :  10:09:31 AM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
I made an error in the previous post. I meant to say some CANTLES are higher than others. In particular, I'm thinking of a deep seated dressage saddle that has a higher than average cantle. I keep getting drawn to dressage saddles, as I've heard several people say they love them for trail riding -- lighter on the horse and very comfortable for rider. Though western is the only thing I've ever ridden in, what I don't like is that I feel I'm riding the saddle, not the horse. You can't feel the horse's movements underneath you, and I'd like to be able to do that. Cloud responds pretty well to very light aids, so I'd like to take advantage of that and who knows, at some point, maybe take a few dressage lessons so I can develop a better seat (important in any form of riding) and also, ideally, teach her some very basic dressage. I'm not sure she's the horse for that, but hey, it would be fun.
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2005 :  5:34:41 PM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message
Our Tex FLex saddles sit a lot closer to the horse and give a btter feel than some western sdddles. YOu can actually feel the fex of the horse under you as they move.

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2005 :  5:34:41 PM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message
Our Tex FLex saddles sit a lot closer to the horse and give a btter feel than some western sdddles. YOu can actually feel the fex of the horse under you as they move.

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2005 :  6:53:48 PM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
Hook, I'm sorry, I'm pretty new here (prolific, but new). What's "our"??
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2005 :  6:53:48 PM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
Hook, I'm sorry, I'm pretty new here (prolific, but new). What's "our"??
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EZ2SPOT
Clinician

USA
3785 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2005 :  7:59:26 PM  Show Profile  Visit EZ2SPOT's Homepage Send EZ2SPOT a Private Message
Or you might want to try an Ortho-Flex saddle, which also allows you to feel the movement of the horse. I agree with you, OTW, about many Western saddles leaving you with the feeling you are riding the saddle instead of the horse!

EZ2SPOT
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EZ2SPOT
Clinician

USA
3785 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2005 :  7:59:26 PM  Show Profile  Visit EZ2SPOT's Homepage Send EZ2SPOT a Private Message
Or you might want to try an Ortho-Flex saddle, which also allows you to feel the movement of the horse. I agree with you, OTW, about many Western saddles leaving you with the feeling you are riding the saddle instead of the horse!

EZ2SPOT
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2005 :  9:03:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message
Our is my wife's and mine. We have three Tex Flex saddles by Textan. One is a working pleasure saddle and another a show saddle built on the same tree that my wife Pern uses on Profit. I have a Tex Flex games saddle that I use for Hook. The tree is pretty normal at the gullet but the cantel portion is attached with a steel flex design that flexes both along the length of the horse and across the horse. When you ride on it,it conforms to the horsee back and flexes with their body as you ride. The design is not very thick so you are also in closer contact with the horse.

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2005 :  9:03:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message
Our is my wife's and mine. We have three Tex Flex saddles by Textan. One is a working pleasure saddle and another a show saddle built on the same tree that my wife Pern uses on Profit. I have a Tex Flex games saddle that I use for Hook. The tree is pretty normal at the gullet but the cantel portion is attached with a steel flex design that flexes both along the length of the horse and across the horse. When you ride on it,it conforms to the horsee back and flexes with their body as you ride. The design is not very thick so you are also in closer contact with the horse.

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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