Narrow or wide saddle for no withers?

Hello everyone! I have posted so many topics about my one mare with no withers and a short back. This whole saddle fitting thing has been nothing but a struggle. I have posted on Facebook groups asking what type of saddle would work best, and I came across two opinions. Some say that a wide saddle, such as a haffie saddle would work. Others say that a narrow saddle would work because it won’t pull down once cinched up. I always thought a wide saddle would be the way to go because it would settle down nice and even, but others on the narrow side claim that if you put the saddle on right, a narrow saddle wouldn’t pinch the shoulders. I am so confused and honestly at the point of giving up. Should I get semi bars? Arabian saddles? Haflinger saddles? I don’t know at this point.
~A very confused person

Yes. I have found so much information on English saddles, but I’m looking for a western saddle and I am lost. Good luck to you too!

You need a saddle where the width and angle of the bars matches the horse’s shoulders. This could be narrow or wide depending on the horse.

I have a very round TWH with no withers that takes a wide tree. The saddle sits correctly on her back with plenty of clearance.

My TB takes a narrower saddle with more angle to the bars.

The same as an English saddle, take a wither tracing and see if the saddle looks like it will fit.


Wide for a no-withered horse.

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My mare was a wide, short backed, no withered horse in her younger days and saddle fitting was a nightmare. Get a saddle fitting tool @ ( wither tracing saddle fitting curve). I used one to measure my mare and it worked like a dream.

At least it gives you a place to start. You will need a WIDE saddle most likely. Good luck.

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Exactly. Don’t get hung up on the withers right away, start with the shape of the horse’s shoulders/back to determine the right bar angle and width and go from there. The withers get factored in when fine-tuning.

Poke around this site for a ton of good information. The Nikkels used to make custom saddle trees, and the tree is the foundation for saddle fit.

It can be overwhelming, but it eventually starts to make sense.

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If you don’t mind me asking, what saddle worked for this horse? I’m having the same issue with my TB and I can’t find one that’s wide enough in the angle of the bars.

I have no idea what brand. I picked up an old old saddle cheap off eBay. It’s an old style wood and rawhide tree. The leather was so bad I had an Amish saddlemaker strip the tree and replace the leather.

Here are pictures of my saddles. Both are old wood and rawhide trees, I have no idea how old.

So what have you tried on your horse?

It’s really difficult sometimes for someone to TELL you what to use, because each horse is an individual and there is no standard between saddle brands. You just simply have to start putting saddles on your horse’s back and see what fits, and what doesn’t fit.

Saddle fitting is frustrating and time consuming.

As a general rule, horses with very little withers often are a little wide build, and thus will usually need a more full QH bar saddle, but there are plenty of horses that do not follow that guideline.

You won’t know if a saddle will fit your horse until you try it on.

I ride a mutton-withered mare that (so far) needs to go with a breast collar, even in eastern dressage. Her western tack works great on her though, big wide saddle, with 1" pad. I ride a mule that is built like a potato, i actually don’t think there are any bones in there at all!! His saddle is broad and flat, and he needs both cinches, AND a breast collar AND breeching. I have a huge Percheron whose withers are so big and so long that it’s nearly impossible to tell where they begin and end! (i ride him bareback! haven’t even tried to fit a saddle on that huge guy). A couple of my mustangs weren’t gelded until they were 12 and they have gigantic shoulders that have movement well beyond their withers…not aboard them yet, but they’re gonna be ‘fun’ to saddle.

I don’t have any advice for you, just wanted you to know that i feel your pain LOL.

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