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Is it possible to cut square skirts down?

I have a short-backed Arab and western Reiner saddle with long square skirts. The skirts butterfly out near his hip. Is it possible to have them cut down or rounded? I get that it would disrupt the tooling. I’m just thinking about his comfort.

Just chopping off some skirt in back might change the balance and weight distribution. They do make show saddles with rounded skirts many Arabian riders use and any saddle maker can incorporate rounded skirts if you want to explore going custom.

If you anticipate staying in Arabs, you might want to consider that option. Sometimes what makes Arabians so beautiful is a PITA to find tack that fits.


Honestly, coming from a predominantly western rider, who grew up on Arabs, boards at an Arab show barn…

You’re better off finding a saddle with rounded skirts and an Arab tree than butchering your saddle. The skirts are designed that way for a reason, and changing that without changing the tree is going to screw with a lot of stuff. Balance, weight distribution, pressure points etc…

Circle Y and Billy Royal have some really nice Arab saddles. I rode in parades for over a decade in a Billy Royal.


I am surprised that folks think the skirt has something to do with saddle’s balance or weight distribution – to me, that is the tree. I had a choice of skirts for the saddle I ordered, and it didn’t change the choice of tree or type of saddle.

Just confused, I would think it is entirely possible to shorten the skirts. Might not look as nice, but I wouldn’t think it would affect fit or balance or weight distribution.


Oh, the saddle fitting woes! Thank you for the input. The problematic part of the skirt doesn’t seem to have anything to do with balance or support, but it would definitely wreck the look, and it is a beautiful saddle. I’ve kept it because I have a young QH mare I can probably use it on, eventually.

I never seemed to have this problem in my oblivious youth, but it feels like I’ve spent the last 30 years of my adult horse life searching for a saddle that fits my horse and me and whatever we’re currently doing.

I have an older Billy Royal show saddle that I used for years, but that horse passed away and the saddle is now decorating my spare bedroom. It’s way too heavy for me to lift anymore, anyway. I did buy a Billy Royal work saddle–very comfortable for me, rough out so it’s really secure, but too tight in the shoulders for my new baby, despite being an “Arab” saddle.

The saddle skirts help stabilize the saddle and the tree that’s in it. The tree in a Reiner is not going to be the same tree that’s in an Arab saddle. So the skirts will be different, to support the tree that’s in it. :slight_smile:


The skirts do not balance or stabilize the tree. That’s what proper rigging placement does on a well fitted saddle.


Can you sell the old Billy Royal, even though it probably has sentimental value, and put that money toward an Arab saddle or one with rounded skirts that’ll fit your horse?

I can’t comment on if cutting off the back corners would change the saddles fit and balance but I wanted to chime in in case you’re possibly new saddle shopping.
Continental saddlery makes a skirt that is specifically shorter for shorter backed and smaller horses.
Other brands may not specifically make a shorter skirt but depending on the model, some are definitely shorter and rounded

I will get something with rounded skirts. I don’t want to uglify the Reiner and then figure out that my Arab still isn’t comfortable in it. :roll_eyes: And thank you for the recommendations.

Funny how the trends change. There are many more round skirt styles available now. When I bought my Billy Royal show saddle, rounded skirts were out, at least at class A arab shows. It’s a good thing to see people more focused on fit and function. But I won’t part with the old show saddle even though I have no plans to show again. The horse who wore it was the horsey love of my life.


Can you post a picture of your saddle on your horse? I also have Arabs and a reining saddle (by Rocking R) with a butterfly skirt. It fits them great. I had to look a bit to find it, but there are certainly more like it out there. This is my 13.3 HA wearing the saddle (I couldn’t find one without a rider, sorry):

I do not recommend anything with an Arabian tree. For some reason, they’re made to fit narrow horses - the exact opposite body type of the vast majority of Arabians. I’ve never owned an Arab or part Arab that didn’t need full QH bars to accommodate their super round, flat backs.