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Sara
Beginning Rider

Russia
90 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2008 :  4:12:17 PM  Show Profile Send Sara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi everybody!

I do need some help with my saddle which I recently bought - a Cyrcle Y flex tree trail saddle. I did try the templates first and, to what I can judge, the saddle fits my horse at the withers OK (although I don't have that much experience with western saddles and no one here to advice).

At the same time my filly has a rather short back (45" from withers to tail) and after about one month of riding (3-4 times a week, 1-1,5 hours of not very heavy work) she began to complain about her loin. Her back is quite straight, so I don't think there is bridge effect, so my two guesses are
1. this saddle is just too long for her and doesn't fit at all
2. her previous saddle was way shorter, so her muscles are not used to such a shift of weight on her back.

If the later is the case, then she might get used to it if I start slowly and gradually, but if if it's just too long for her, then I'll sell it and find a way to get myself another one.

The problem is that I live in Russia and I had to go to US to get this one, as it's almost impossible to get one here, but I'll think of something.

Here are some photos




Here is her previous saddle, to compare


I really need your advice so that I don't make the situation worse!

Thanks a lot!!

UPD: Here she is whithout a saddle

Edited by - Sara on 02/07/2008 5:07:20 PM

hoopski
Advanced Rider

USA
419 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2008 :  6:10:42 PM  Show Profile Send hoopski a Private Message  Reply with Quote
First I'm no expert. I probably have more questions than potential answers.

What is your horse doing that leads you to think she is complaining about her loin?

How much longer do you think the new saddle is?

From the pictures it looks to my untrained eye like the old saddle is sitting a few inches farther forward than the new one (see girth location and position relative to front leg - stirrups look to be in about the same position though). Could that be part of the problem?

Lets hear more about riding in Russia!

Edited by - hoopski on 02/07/2008 6:16:05 PM
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tchighhope
Advanced Rider

USA
257 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2008 :  9:33:13 PM  Show Profile Send tchighhope a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sara,
I'm no expert either, but looking at your pictures- the first thing I would do is get a thicker pad under your new saddle. The pad on your old saddle looks perfect. The blanket under your new saddle looks like it would not keep the back of the saddle from rubbing on her back. It looks too thin in the back to provide much protection from poking on rubbing her.
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Sara
Beginning Rider

Russia
90 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2008 :  06:59:50 AM  Show Profile Send Sara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, the new saddle is 27" long and the old one is about 22" or 23". The way she complained - she would stiffen her muscles when I pressed with my fingers along the spine. It wasn't that critical that she would sit down from pressure, but it was still still quite evident. She would also drag her hind feet during the warm-up on the lunge, if she was ridden the previous day.

I've tried different pads with the new saddle, including the thick black one. In the picture #2, where it looks like a thin blanket, there's a Fabri-tech Cush-n-air Contest Saddle Pad (p7702)- it just happened to be exactly the size of the saddle's skirt, so you can't see it :)

It's true that the old saddle slips a little forward, because it has a 3/4 girth ring. And its stirrups are a little bit backward. It also leaves small dry spots on both sides of the withers - that's why I would like to change it.

Riding western in Russia is a challenge, since almost everybody else rides English, so there is very little help :) So, most of information I get from DVDs, books and internet :)
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hmeyer
Clinician



USA
2194 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2008 :  08:32:09 AM  Show Profile Send hmeyer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Welcome to Daily Equine!!
The usual disclaimer... I'm no expert either!
But it looks to me like the new saddle is higher in the back end than the old saddle. Did anybody else notice this? Could it be that the new saddle has too much rock for your straight-backed horse?
Nice looking filly, by the way. What part of Russia are you in? Looks pretty cold there.
We'd like to hear more and see more pictures of your area.

"You learn a thing a day, you store up smart" - Festus Haggen

"A manís soul canít be hidden,
From the creatures in his care." -
Hard Candy Cowboy by Debra Meyer



Edited by - hmeyer on 02/08/2008 08:32:46 AM
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ILoveJoe
Clinician



USA
2499 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2008 :  3:26:59 PM  Show Profile Send ILoveJoe a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Welcome to De!
I am certainly no expert but it does look like the new saddle is too loose looking in the back, and does look too long compared to the first saddle. Was there a problem with the first saddle? It sure is pretty btw. Both are nice saddles.




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Sara
Beginning Rider

Russia
90 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2008 :  3:52:54 PM  Show Profile Send Sara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ILoveJoe

Welcome to De!
I am certainly no expert but it does look like the new saddle is too loose looking in the back, and does look too long compared to the first saddle. Was there a problem with the first saddle? It sure is pretty btw. Both are nice saddles.



Thank you! I think we both have grown out of the old saddle a little, unfortunately. It was hand-made by a local saddlemaker according to the tracing of Belka's back when she just started being ridden - about 2 years ago. Since then she might have become a little wider, so now this saddle leaves small dry spots at both sides of the withers.

It also feels a little small for me :) Other than that it is a very good quality saddle. If I have to sell my new saddle, I will probably ask him to make me another one. The only problem is that he works alone and has a lot of orders, so you have to wait for about a year till he makes one for you :)
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Sara
Beginning Rider

Russia
90 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2008 :  4:04:42 PM  Show Profile Send Sara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by hmeyer

Could it be that the new saddle has too much rock for your straight-backed horse?
Nice looking filly, by the way. What part of Russia are you in? Looks pretty cold there.
We'd like to hear more and see more pictures of your area.



hmeyer, thanks! I'm from Moscow and there's winter now - so it's really somewhat ugly. We used to have colder and more snowy winters, but this year it's only ice around as it snows, melts and freezes again. Quite disgusting! Here's a piece of summer:


and some early fall


and here's winter two years ago:


If it's interesting, I can make a topic in another (more appropriate) forum ant tell you more

BTW, I made a test today - I put the saddle on Belka's back and slid my hand under the saddle in the front, middle and back, but the pressure seemed more or less even in all the points!

Edited by - Sara on 02/08/2008 4:06:48 PM
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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2008 :  01:13:34 AM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There is a very good chance that there is too much rock for her straight back. Bridging is when there is not enough rock and all of the pressure is put on the front and back of the bars. Not enough rock means that all of the pressure is put in the middle of the bars. This(along with a too wide saddle or an over tight girth) can cause the back to pop up.

It does not look too on long her. I have a short backed mare and that same saddle rides farther back on her because of how short her back is. What I do is measure from the back of the shoulder blade to the hip, minus a few inches and as long as the skirt is under that(the more then better) then the saddle should be short enough. This saddle isn't hitting your mare's hips or anything like that.

You said that she started this a month after you started riding with the new saddle, how long has it been going on?

Could she be in heat or having some other medical issue that could be causing this pain?

Is it a new pad also? Could that be rubbing? Is the hair roughed up in this area after a ride?

She is so flat in the back I wonder if a mule tree would work. I believe those are flatter then the normal horse tree. Not sure if it would work but maybe something to look into.
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2008 :  06:06:51 AM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Sara, Welcome to the Forum.

I would sure like to see more pictures from your part of the world.

I agree with Stormy that the saddle is not too long but that the problem lies in how it fits your filly's back. Her back does look quite flat across and is very level front to back as well.

I suggest that you print off the gullet templates from Chuck and verify the saddle fit for both width and angle on both Belka and the saddle.

I would also suggest that you use something ( a piece of heavy gauge wire or flex curve) to check Belka's side to side profile every 4 inches or so from the withers back as far as you need for a saddle, transfer these to a template similar to those from the Saddle Shop and check the saddle at the same intervals.

Make another set of templates to measure the profile of Belka's lengthwise back along her back where the saddle tree would contact her back and check the saddle.

This is the only way I know with out having a professional saddle fitting template to verify the saddle fit for a hard to fit horse.

I can explain this in more detail if necessary.

If the templates shows that the saddle fits in the gullet, across and lengthwise then the problem lies elsewhere and you may have to seek medical advice from an equine chiropractor.

If it shows that it doesn't fit then you know where and can use the templates to make sure your next saddle fits.

You might want to explore a thinner gel type or air ride pad for your original saddle (if it fits except for a couple of dry spots at the withers)to relieve some of the pressure while she is getting fit. It is s possible that her back will change enough as she becomes more fit and older. I have has some luck with this with Hookie.

By the way how old is Belka?

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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Sara
Beginning Rider

Russia
90 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2008 :  1:51:00 PM  Show Profile Send Sara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks a lot! I'll check her length from shoulder blade to hip, and I'll do this and see.

quote:
Originally posted by Hook

I would also suggest that you use something ( a piece of heavy gauge wire or flex curve) to check Belka's side to side profile every 4 inches or so from the withers back as far as you need for a saddle, transfer these to a template similar to those from the Saddle Shop and check the saddle at the same intervals.

Make another set of templates to measure the profile of Belka's lengthwise back along her back where the saddle tree would contact her back and check the saddle.


quote:
Originally posted by StormieYou said that she started this a month after you started riding with the new saddle, how long has it been going on?


Well, I checked it several more times - after few days on the lunge her back would be OK, then after some riding she would again complain the next day. So, I put this saddle aside for a while, let her have a rest for a couple of month with work on a lunge only, so now I think what to do next :)

quote:
Originally posted by Hook
By the way how old is Belka?


She is 4,5. About 1,5 years under saddle. Such a kid :)

(Posted some more pictures in Saddle Shop Corral: http://www.dailyequine.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5657)

Edited by - Sara on 02/09/2008 4:02:59 PM
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BethAnn
Trainer



USA
864 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2008 :  05:03:32 AM  Show Profile Send BethAnn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When you are mounted can you stick your hand under the front or is it riding on her withers?I went through a ton of issues and several saddles only to discover my horse has high withers and needed extra room.It just appears your saddle is closer to her withers than the old one.Just for your info though I know next to nothing about fit just wanted to chime in with my experience!
BethAnn

BethAnn Stewart
Palmyra,Indiana

Lovie-gypsy vanner
Lad- Clydesdale


Do not take up the warpath without a just cause and honest purpose. Pushmataha-Choctow leader
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Sara
Beginning Rider

Russia
90 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2008 :  3:07:50 PM  Show Profile Send Sara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
When you are mounted can you stick your hand under the front or is it riding on her withers?


It doesn't lie on the withers for sure. It might be a little wide for her, but it's OK with a thick pad. And then, the problem is not at the withers, but at the opposite side of the saddle!

I've made a tonn of pictures today with all the tracings, looks, etc. (sorry if too much :))

Here are my two saddles - the old one to the left, the new - to the rignt


I made the back tracings about every 4 inches and check them against both saddles. Starting from here:
1.


Old:

(here is why it leaves dry spots, btw)

New


2. (1+~4")


Old


New


3. (2+~4")


Old


New


4. (3+~4")

(the wet spots on her loin is a special treatment which I applied after work just in case)

Old


New


5.


Old


New


6.


Old


New


Here is the length from shoulder blade to the hip


It's almost exactly the length of the saddle skirt


I don't know if the pictures are clear enough, but from what I could judge, the new saddle must fit better than the old one! Even if there are some differences between the back tracing and the saddle tree, they are not more than 1/4" (including any rocking), so a thick pad should take care of that, imho.

Edited by - Sara on 02/10/2008 3:30:11 PM
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Sara
Beginning Rider

Russia
90 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2008 :  3:25:33 PM  Show Profile Send Sara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And here I made some pics of how the saddle itself lies on a bare back



Front:






(may be just a little wide, but with a thick pad should be OK?)

Here are Chuck's templates with Belka's withers tracing, btw






I don't know what's the width of the saddle, but my guess is 6,5"

Back:










(this is our barn, btw)


And I also made the pics of pads that I have
1. A thin blanket with sheep fur on it


2. A pad with fleece lining and ~3/4" felt inside


3. A thin blanket


4. Fabri-tech Cush-n-air Contest Saddle Pad


5. Thick pad with opening at the withers



From what I understood from all the replies - it makes sence to try it with a thick pad (#5 may be? Or (#5 + #4)?) starting from just walk and then adding a little jog, may be uphill/downhill, etc. just to train her muscles to carry more weight close to the loin?

Does it sound reasonable?
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Chuck
Forum Admin



USA
1265 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2008 :  7:25:41 PM  Show Profile  Visit Chuck's Homepage Send Chuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Sara,

Thank you for taking the time and effort in taking and posting the good detailed pictures. It does look as though the new Circle Y saddle should be a much better fit than your old one. As far as I can tell, your new saddle should fit well, although I am thinking that the front could have a bit of a more narrow angle (from the looks of picture 6.5" NN against your wither tracing cut-out). Do you have the model # of your saddle so that we can determine the gullet size/angle? If you purchased from us, I can look up your order #. I noticed a few of your saddle pads are contoured, if your horse has a flat back, you may want to consider a straight saddle pad, rather than a contoured pad. The back of the saddle does seem to rise in the rear, but that is not necessarily where the tree makes (or doesn't make) contact with your horse as the tree ends a few inches from the back of the skirt. Is there solid contact between the tree and your horse's back? Your saddle has 3 different rigging positions, I would recommend the 3/4 position, but as far as I could gather, that is what you are using.


Chuck

Horse Saddle Shop

http://www.horsesaddleshop.com
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Sara
Beginning Rider

Russia
90 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2008 :  04:58:58 AM  Show Profile Send Sara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Chuck!

Yes, the saddle was bought from your site, I think it's this one: http://www.horsesaddleshop.com/roundskirtflextreesaddle.html - regular QH bars, size 16 (#1554)

quote:
Is there solid contact between the tree and your horse's back?


As far as I can tell - yes, I checked it by putting my hand between the saddle and the horse's back and the pressure on my hand was more or less even across the length of the saddle.

quote:
Your saddle has 3 different rigging positions, I would recommend the 3/4 position, but as far as I could gather, that is what you are using.

Won't it slip too much forward and on the shoulders then? As she's a little narrower closer to the elbows, that's where the girth ends up regardless of the rigging position...

quote:
I noticed a few of your saddle pads are contoured, if your horse has a flat back, you may want to consider a straight saddle pad, rather than a contoured pad.


The black and the felt ones are definitely straignt. The felt is the one I used most often, so it has the contur of the horse's back by now!



Edited by - Sara on 02/11/2008 05:01:20 AM
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2008 :  06:06:37 AM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sara, you have done the best job of checking saddle fit with appropriate pictures that I have seen. Good Work.

I think you have ruled out saddle fit as the problem. I do think that the Circle Y would place you a bit further back on you horse back and Belka may just need a bit more time time get used to balancing you in the new position.

If you have access to an equine Chiropractor I would suggest that you have her checked. Hookie has had to have his back adjusted in his loin area from time to time and it makes a huge difference.

I think it is neat that you bought your saddle from Chuck.

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

Edited by - Hook on 02/11/2008 06:08:12 AM
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EZ2SPOT
Clinician

USA
3785 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2008 :  06:58:41 AM  Show Profile  Visit EZ2SPOT's Homepage Send EZ2SPOT a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Hook


I think you have ruled out saddle fit as the problem. I do think that the Circle Y would place you a bit further back on you horse back and Belka may just need a bit more time time get used to balancing you in the new position.



I agree with Hook; ANY change in a saddle is bound to feel different to a horse, and some adjustment time is necessary. Maybe if you stopped using it for a few days, then just took shorter rides, and gradually accustomed your horse to the change, that would help.

The saddle looks to me to be an excellent fit.

EZ2SPOT
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Sara
Beginning Rider

Russia
90 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2008 :  12:28:40 PM  Show Profile Send Sara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks a lot to everybody! Meanwhile I've been accurately riding in the old saddle for the past three days - so far it's OK with Belka's back. So I'll try to gradually change to the new one!
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hp_farms
Groomer

Canada
26 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2008 :  1:41:07 PM  Show Profile Send hp_farms a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sarah, I have a little something for you to do before you have anymore problems. This will sound right out of this world, but its true. My old farrier was doing the horses feet and a border had a mare and everytime the owner touched her back she would pretty much collapse. The farrier also put a bit of pressure along the back and sure enough, she was in pain. He then said to watch him. he proceeded back and put his hand under the mare at her udder area and then brought his hand up and put pressure on her back, and she stood like a charm, no pain at all. I of course said "what did you do" He said I took the crud out between her teats. That poor sore back mare was 100% fine after that. Maybe give that a try if you haven't and good luck with solving your mares problem.

Laura
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Sara
Beginning Rider

Russia
90 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2008 :  2:12:26 PM  Show Profile Send Sara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by hp_farms
He said I took the crud out between her teats.


Thanks, Laura! I didn't have an idea that this may be the cause of back problems!!! I actually do this regularly (if I understood it right :)) so it's not the reason in our case!

So far the back has been fine (but I haven't tried the new saddle so far - want to wait till spring). Some days ago Belka was let out with a very big gelding and he apparently tried to "marry" her! And she complained about her back again for a couple of days!!

Seems to be fine now but I'll wait some more days before I saddle her!

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Sara
Beginning Rider

Russia
90 Posts

Posted - 09/20/2009 :  8:16:01 PM  Show Profile Send Sara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So, what can I say... I put this saddle on my mare after she gave birth to a foal and her "maternity leave" has finished. And... she never complained about her back again! I guess her back became somewhat stronger because of the foal. She also became a little wider - now her withers is the same angle as the template (it used to be couple degrees narrower - http://photos.streamphoto.ru/0/c/4/907f8f230274c8d00444d85f863664c0.jpg)

So I sold the small saddle and we work in the new one now





However... I will still sell it because it's too big for me :)) Have to use a saddle shrinker to ride :)) But at least I know what size of a saddle is likely to fit my horse :))


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ILoveJoe
Clinician



USA
2499 Posts

Posted - 09/20/2009 :  11:07:49 PM  Show Profile Send ILoveJoe a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Your mare looks great.....did you mention a baby and NO pictures of it. *GASP*

You ride so well.




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Sara
Beginning Rider

Russia
90 Posts

Posted - 09/21/2009 :  4:24:57 PM  Show Profile Send Sara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks, ILoveJoe! (These are just selected pictures :))

I posted some pics of Belka and the foal here http://www.dailyequine.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5657&whichpage=3 !
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akitaakita
Tenderfoot

6 Posts

Posted - 04/13/2010 :  11:25:43 PM  Show Profile Send akitaakita a Private Message  Reply with Quote
No expert and sounds like your doing ok now, but as a general rule and teh way I understand it the saddle bars should be no longer than where the last rib connects to the spine. SO find the last rib and trace it up if the bars are longer than this last rib the saddle is too long.
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