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 Discussions on Fitting Saddles to the Horse
 Please help...what tree size do I need?
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Zeva
Tenderfoot



USA
8 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2012 :  3:22:23 PM  Show Profile Send Zeva a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm having saddle issues, and while searching the Horse Saddle Shop's website for info I happened upon a link to this forum. So I'm hoping someone here can help me. Just a warning, this may be kind of long.
I got a 4 year old appendix mare in Feb. I had a mare that I sold that I had saddle issues with because I was using semi bars on her and she actually needed full bars, so she opened my eyes to wide world of saddle tree...I didn't even know there was a difference before her. So all I have now is full bars, because they worked okay on my other horse and I needed something that would fit everyone. So I started training my new mare, and notice that the full bars gave her extra space in the shoulder area, but the saddle didn't move around a lot and she never complained, so I've just been riding her in it no problem.
But she's had several growth spurts/body changes since I got her, and about 4 weeks ago when I was riding her I noticed the saddle sliding forward on her withers at the lope, and especially when I'd ask for a stop, cause she has a nice "whoa" on her. I had one person who knows more about saddle fit tell me to move the saddle back 4 inches from where I had it, but it's hard to get the saddle to stay there since she's got a very large barrel on her, and it would still slide up when I'd lope.
She's more of a Thoroughbred build up front, and has decent withers, so I tried double padding her, and using one of those smaller wither/riser pads they make to fill in the shoulder area, and it still slid forward, only this time it seemed to slide more.

I use an American saddlery barrel saddle with in skirt rigging(not my first choice of saddles, it was bought for my daughter to ride, but when the custom saddle I had made came back not the way I'd asked for it to be made twice and now I can't get it sold, I'm forced to use what I have for now) I use a wool felt contoured pad with wither and cinch cut outs. I'm pretty sure it's 3/4" thick. I also should mention I usually ride with a looser cinch as I don't like to tighten all the way unless the horse is really round and the saddle slips easily. I tried riding in a different pad that seems to be a tad thicker, with a synthetic fleece type bottom and it didn't seem to slide quite as much, but did still slide forward a little. I haven't actually rode her to the point of sweating in the saddle since it's started doing this as it slides so far forward it scares me, so I've just been riding in the bareback pad(which for some odd reason the other day when I rode it was sliding forward too) Lately, too, she's kind of dipped away(not a lot, but it's noticable) from the brush once I get back to where the back of the bars would sit on her, so I wonder if they're digging in?
I might also mention she's still built a bit downhill from hip to withers.
I just tried my husbands saddle the other day. It's a Dakota roper with on tree rigging, and still full quarter bars, but out of frustration I was trying everything. I used the same wool felt pad and it didn't seem to slide quite as much either. I do worry it may be too long on her, but she rode really nice with it. If only it weren't so big(16") it hurts my hips to ride in it. I compared the bars themselves under each saddle and the main difference I can see is the individual bars themselves are wider from top to bottom on the roping saddle. But the fact that it didn't slide as much got me thinking...
I was convinced I needed semi bars on her(even though she has good wither clearance with both saddles), but after all I've read and with my husbands saddle seeming to work a little better on her, I really looked at her back and wonder if a semi would even fit. Because, yes, she has withers, but once you go back so far, her back seems to widen out...example being-a friend had a horse that required a semi bars and hated riding her bareback because her back bone dug into you, but with my Zeva I don't have that issue...as long as you don't land on her withers, she's got a nice flatter back for riding bareback. So if I got semi bars, wouldn't it be too steep an angle for the rest of her back?
So that leaves me with my same issue...the full bars sliding forward even when I use extra padding. Do you think a different pad(like one of those diamond wool pads that have the inserts you can take in and out, or even a built up pad rather than using those small riser pads that seems so awkward to me) would help keep the saddle in place better? I run barrels and need something that will stay put, mainly for her back, but also for me so I don't go falling off

I'm also looking to replace the barrel saddle with a saddle I like better, so I need to know what type of bars to be looking for so I don't have yet another saddle to sell sitting in my living room.

Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to get as much info as I could to whoever may be able to help. I hope it's not written too confusingly, because it's a lot of info to type up. I've got some pictures, but couldn't figure out how to add them(this is the first forum I've ever been on) so if anyone could tell me how, I can put them up here so you can see how she's built. Thanks in advance to anyone who might be able to help.

hoopski
Advanced Rider

USA
419 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2012 :  5:11:16 PM  Show Profile Send hoopski a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Look here: http://www.dailyequine.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4827
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Zeva
Tenderfoot



USA
8 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2012 :  5:29:50 PM  Show Profile Send Zeva a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the link...
I actually forgot to mention in all my rambling that I did do the templates. The narrow template works best as far as her shoulders go. But my concern is that because her back doesn't follow the same angle at all(it's much wider across) that if I got the semi bars the back of the saddle would be too narrow and pinch her.
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killybean907
Clinician



USA
1082 Posts

Posted - 10/20/2012 :  04:45:26 AM  Show Profile Send killybean907 a Private Message  Reply with Quote

...another point to remember when you are looking at saddles. Some FQHB saddle trees and angles can vary from maker to maker, and the gullet width varies as well. I have a Crates FQHB with a wide gullet (7").

Good luck... maybe you could upload a couple pictures showing the templates on your horse?



It's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years.
Karen-Anchorage, Alaska
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 10/20/2012 :  07:34:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hookie has smaller withers that fit a saddle with semi-quarter horse bars but his back is wider and reuires a saddle iwth a FQHB tree.

Our solution, which works very well with Hookie, was to use a saddle, (a Dakota flex-tree from the saddleshop) with FQHB and a 1" thick pad to take up the space in the withers and still maintain the required flatness for his back.

Some pictures of your horse's back with and without templates would bw helpful.

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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Zeva
Tenderfoot



USA
8 Posts

Posted - 10/20/2012 :  10:18:55 AM  Show Profile Send Zeva a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Here is what I have for pictures at the moment.

This is the American Saddlery before a ride. I'm thinking I should probably have it back further than I do, but then the girth sits on her belly instead of where I would think it should be. But I'm no expert, so I'm not sure.


This is after. It was actually further forward, but by the time I walked her over to get the picture it had slid back a bit.


And here are some pics of her back and one from a side view so you can see her build. Sorry if they're not the greatest, but I was by myself and as soon as I'd climb up on the bucket she'd move






I don't have any pictures of the Dakota saddle on her yet.
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Zeva
Tenderfoot



USA
8 Posts

Posted - 10/20/2012 :  1:26:30 PM  Show Profile Send Zeva a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I tried to get more pictures today. The only problem is with her winter woolies already coming in, it's hard to see where the template sits. Plus, I was by myself and holding the template and taking the pic at the same time limited the angle I could get at. But I'll post them anyway.
Here is the narrow template. It pretty much sits just right on her, but when you take it back a few inches it starts to only make contact on the bottom.


Here is the wide...it's hard to see, but it doesn't make contact at the bottom. The second picture I slid my finger under the gap so you could see it's not sitting on her.



I also tried riding her with the other pad again. And this time I slid the saddle back further. It still didn't slide as much front to back, but rolled bad from side to side, especially when I'd get on and off. Which is funny, because you'd think her withers would have held it on better. The back of the saddle seems to "pop" up a little, which says to me it's too wide probably, but again could be wrong. I also didn't ride with a breastcollar thinking maybe it was pulling the saddle forward. I couldn't do much though, because it's been raining here the past few days and it was really slick out. Maybe tomorrow I can do more with her.
Here is a pic of the saddle before and one of after.

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Zeva
Tenderfoot



USA
8 Posts

Posted - 10/20/2012 :  2:10:04 PM  Show Profile Send Zeva a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And one more of her back...
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EZ2SPOT
Clinician

USA
3785 Posts

Posted - 10/21/2012 :  1:41:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit EZ2SPOT's Homepage Send EZ2SPOT a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm certainly no expert, either, but it looks to me like your saddle is a good fit. If your horse seems to do well in it, other than the problem with it sliding forward, you might want to try getting her accustomed to a crupper. I know of several people who have had to do that! You might have to have a ring attached to your saddle for it.

EZ2SPOT
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 10/22/2012 :  07:07:02 AM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Check out this post for saddle placement.

http://www.dailyequine.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4030

From your photos I think the saddle when placed in the correct position is too wide allowing the front to dip down and the back to rise.

Try a thicker pad or perhaps two. That should tighten the saddle at the withers and make a better fit.


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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Zeva
Tenderfoot



USA
8 Posts

Posted - 10/22/2012 :  09:19:52 AM  Show Profile Send Zeva a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you for your help. I did try two pads, but it just made it roll and slide forward even more. So I think I'm going to try a pad I saw that is 1" thick felt and has shims all the way along the back so you can adjust the fit. I actually decided to sell the saddle in the pictures(a friend wanted to buy it and it fits her horses well, plus I need a slightly smaller seat) I'm going to look for full bars because when putting the templates on my gelding he needs the wide. But I was wondering if there is a possibility of a saddle having the same angles as the saddle I have now, but not measuring 7" in the gullet like my saddle does? I just want to be sure I'm looking for all possibilities when searching. I wish I could just buy new(I'd love to get a Dakota from the saddle shop) but it's not in the budget right now, so will be looking for used, and mainly online. Is there a way to measure the angle of the saddles bars, or can that only be done with the templates?

And as far as a crupper goes...Are they painful to a horse at all? For instance, would running barrels with one put too much pressure/pull on it and cause pain to her?
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Zeva
Tenderfoot



USA
8 Posts

Posted - 10/23/2012 :  12:01:35 AM  Show Profile Send Zeva a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Now I'm getting even more confused...
I was looking back at pictures of that same saddle on my gelding. With the templates, a wide fits him perfect. But in the pictures(just taken in Sept) the saddle appears to pop up in the back on him as well. The saddle is Full quarter bars(measures a tad over 7" from concho to concho), so I'm confused as to why it doesn't appear to fit better. Then I also found these pics taken right after I'd ridden him, and remember thinking it was weird that he was not sweaty on the one side of his wither, but in my ignorance figured I just hadn't ridden him enough for that side to get sweaty After reading through some old posts here, I realized that it was probably because it wasn't fitting correctly. Of course at this point it doesn't matter about that saddle since I've sold it, but I want to be sure what I get won't give me the same issues. Do you have any thoughts as to why he wouldn't be sweaty on that one side?
Here are some pics of him.




These are the sweat mark pictures...



And an above shot of his back...

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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 10/23/2012 :  9:08:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Zeva

Now I'm getting even more confused...
I was looking back at pictures of that same saddle on my gelding. With the templates, a wide fits him perfect. But in the pictures(just taken in Sept) the saddle appears to pop up in the back on him as well. The saddle is Full quarter bars(measures a tad over 7" from concho to concho), so I'm confused as to why it doesn't appear to fit better. Then I also found these pics taken right after I'd ridden him, and remember thinking it was weird that he was not sweaty on the one side of his wither, but in my ignorance figured I just hadn't ridden him enough for that side to get sweaty After reading through some old posts here, I realized that it was probably because it wasn't fitting correctly. Of course at this point it doesn't matter about that saddle since I've sold it, but I want to be sure what I get won't give me the same issues. Do you have any thoughts as to why he wouldn't be sweaty on that one side?
Here are some pics of him.




These are the sweat mark pictures...



And an above shot of his back...





To me the saddle looks placed too far ahead on him in the first picture.

In the third photo the sweat marks seem to indicate that the saddle has been shifed to the left on his back which may account for the diferent side to side pattern.

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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Zeva
Tenderfoot



USA
8 Posts

Posted - 10/23/2012 :  10:58:29 PM  Show Profile Send Zeva a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I really need to work on where to place the saddle. I guess old habits die hard. I put it where it should be, then end up shifting it forward because it looks too far back to me. The saddle does tend to roll on him, so as long as I keep the saddle centered, I shouldn't get the uneven sweat marks?

I was able to borrow a few tree forms from a local tack shop. The tree forms are from Steele's equifit line. From what I understand, these trees are also used in the Dakota saddles, correct? The owner of the tack shop only gave me the first two forms(described on the steele website as semi quarter bars and standard quarter bars) I showed her pictures of my horses and told her I'd like to try semi and full quarter bars, yet on Steele's website they have one step up from those two that's actually called full quarter bars. So I was wondering if anyone knows which tree is used in the dakota as the full quarter bars, because I've only seen Dakota's advertised as semi and full quarter. It was raining so I didn't get too much time to really try them, but just quickly threw them up on both my mare and gelding and I'm pretty sure the Standard quarter bars seems to fit them both better than the semi. I'm just wondering which tree my husband's roping saddle was built on, as it was sold to me as full bars. Does Dakota put serial numbers on their saddles anywhere so that I'd be able to call and get more info on the saddle? I may also call the tack shop tomorrow and see about getting the full bars form also...that way I can see for sure where it will fit on them(I'm pretty positive it will be too big for the both of them), and compare it to my husbands roper to see if I can figure out which tree it's on.

Again, thank you so much for your help.
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