Pegasus butterfly saddles

I found some really old threads about this saddle but can’t seem to find anything recent. I have a very short backed little cob and a not so small behind myself. In a dressage saddle I need an 18" seat and my horse just doesn’t have enough length of back. To make things even more complicated, he also has wide shoulders and then is narrower just behind the shoulders. Every saddle I try sits well behind his last rib onto his loin and also pinches his shoulders.

I was borrowing a Schleese Obrigado which has short panels and a cutback on the underside of the panels at the shoulder area. My horse went great in the saddle, but my friend needed it back and I don’t have the $7000+ to buy one. Also, my horse is 17 years old and I know I won’t be riding him forever, so I want a saddle that will hopefully fit my next horse. I ran across the Pegasus butterfly saddles which are said to be perfect for short-backed horses and mold to fit various horse conformations with their hinge system. I am on a very limited budget and can’t afford to make a mistake here. Does anyone have experience with the Pegasus saddles? Or have other suggestions for me?

I LOVE my Pegasus Butterfly saddle. I have a Claudia jumping saddle.

I no longer own a horse, and it got difficult for me to ride the lesson horses in their saddles that “sort of” fit their shoulders. I went through the Wintecs (I personally HATE the Wintec Wide AP) and a treeless saddle (EZ-Fit). The Wintecs were a bust for me for getting free shoulder movement, the EZ-Fit was better but it was more like a hornless Western saddle, while I appreciated the freer shoulder movement I was doomed to always being behind the motion of the horse.

I finally got enough money for a Pegasus Butterfly saddle. I talked with Ron Friedman (sp?), told him which saddle had best fit ME (Crosby Wide Front PDN) and he sent me the Claudia.

It is not perfect for my body but I can definitely work with it. The freedom it gives to the top of the horse’s scapula is totally amazing, so amazing that I had to switch to wearing silicon full-seat breeches because the horse’s shoulders were pushing me across the saddle with me which ended up with the saddle shifting on the horse’s back (the cure was the silicon full seat breeches). In combination with a six-pocket pad (I use the BOT/ThinLine Contender II with the ThinLine shims as needed) I have been able to use it on almost everything I ride, from a super high croup sway back QH, Arabs, part Arabs and right now a rather flat backed QH. with some rather wide shoulders.

The croup-high sway backed QH had an extremely short area to place the saddle, maybe 3 inches of a “flat” area, and the Pegasus Butterfly saddle was barely small enough on his back to fit the saddle area while the seat is big enough for me (I’m a 17" saddle gal.) This saddle did not bother his back once the hinges loosened up, and this horse was totally willing to express his deep displeasure about anything that ever caused him any amount of discomfort. With the help of this saddle I was able to turn this sullen, hateful, anxious. balking, bolting and defiant horse into a rather neat riding horse who I really enjoyed riding.

If you get a new Pegasus Butterfly saddle the hinges have to get flexed some before the saddle sits down on the horse’s back–be prepared to tighten your girth two to three times the first few rides. Before the hinges relax some it is not a comfortable saddle to ride in, but when the hinges relax and the saddle settles down properly on the horse’s back it is a rather nice saddle to ride in.

PLUS, I can get my seat really forward in the saddle since my pubic bone does not run into the hard pommel. This has been very useful for horses that are sort of sore in their backs (lesson horses teaching the sitting trot, students slamming down in the saddle), and I can get free forward movement from these horses pretty readily when I get my seat bones forward in the saddle without having to stay up in two-point.

And when my riding horse changes all I have to do is fiddle with the shims. It is so much cheaper than having to buy a saddle that fits ME and that also fits the horse for each individual lesson horse. As the horse’s back, shoulder and loin muscles develop and increase in size the most I have to do is take out shims, not replace the saddle. The same would work for a horse that is still growing.

To me this saddle is worth every single penny I paid for it.

I found the Pegasus saddle annoying to work with, and the shimming system went against everything I have been taught about saddle fit. The two mares I tried it on didn’t like it: a placid round QH and a spicy modern warmblood with withers. The QH tried to buck, and the warmblood wouldn’t move. And this was with the saddle maker on facetime guiding us though the entire fitting process. So it gets a no from me. But I am only two data points.

My saddle fitter (and dear friend, just going to air my bias here, lol) has been selling a ton of Ryder saddles (Native, Baroque and Panamera models) to people in your exact situation: need room in the seat, but the horse has a short back, wide shoulders and needs a generous amount of space at base of withers. The Native tree is flatter, the Panamera tree is scoopier. The price point is within reach, and the trees can made wider or narrower on a saddle genie.

Good luck - saddle fitting can be a nightmare!

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Granted, I understand limited budget, but… see if you can find a W/XW County saddle. A County Perfection dressage saddle was the ONLY one that fit my short-backed, scoopy-backed, WIDE shouldered Clyde-X mare. The movement from her up & thru the back was amazing and I never looked back.

They are out there!!!

No experience with the Butterfly’s but FWIW I’ve found a Thorowgood the only saddle that fit my two short backed wide shouldered geldings AND put me in a correct position. I’m tall and carry my weight in my bum and thighs so I know what you mean about a larger seat size. This saddle has many options including a changeable gullet and a variety of girthing options. The gullet shapes are very different from the Wintecs. I’ve personally never had luck with the wintecs.

I was shocked that this saddle put me in an excellent position and immediately pleased my horses. The price is very reasonable.

The seat is leather, most of other parts are a wonderful synthetic that looks amazingly like leather and is grippy. I like that it’s a flocked saddle.

I am not in anyway connected to this company but you might try Trumbull Mountain Tack Shop, it’s one of the few places that sells these saddles. They give a good description.

Trumbull Mountain also has a good selection of used saddles, many are very good brands. Since they represent many brands they might be able to help you determine seat size for different brands. I’ve found brands sit very differently and I’ve been comfortable in everything from a 17" to a 18.5!

Someone said the Butterfly’s use shims. I’m not too worried about stable well designed and constructed shims. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to make minor adjustments as a horse changes shape or you ride a different horse. I think of it as fine tuning.

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Kent & Masters is the leather version of Thorowgood, so that might be an option as well. I have the high wither dressage and it is definitely not for short or scoopy backs, but the cob models might work better. Do a search on here before deciding to do business with Trumbull. :wink:

Thorowgood is an excellent synthetic saddle. However, the turnaround time on them at the moment is 16 weeks. Supply-chain problems due to COVID…a lot of the UK saddlers have been shipping with major delays - 10, 12, 16+ weeks. Unless the tack shop has one in stock, anyone who orders one will be waiting for a while.

I shim regularly for asymmetry, and as a quick fix right before I need a re-flock. During the fitting process with the butterfly saddle, the maker was telling us the shim the middle and not the deficits, creating a massive bridging effect with the saddle. All the alarm bells when off in my head. You should not be able to rock a saddle pommel to cantle and call that appropriate in any sense. Maybe something was lost in translation during the facetime, but I was ready to stop with that.

About shims and the Pegasus Butterfly saddles.

First, when I tried the Pegasus 8 pocket pad which came with my saddle I had BIG problems with the croup-high swayed back QH I was riding then, and on a 1/2 Arab-1/2 Welsh elderly mare whose back has started to sag (mid to late 20’s both of them). The saddle WOULD NOT STAYED CENTERED at all. I talked with Ron and he told me that these saddles work best if they are on a flat-ish surface.

Amazingly, though the QH was sort of a mean, bitter and unhappy bastard, he did not punish me at all when the saddle drifted off center by more than 2 inches, he just kept on walking on until I got myself together and the saddle back in the center. The mare did not punish me either but she was nowhere as bitter with life as the gelding was when I started riding him.

Then I got my shimmable pad with 6 pockets and I put in two bridging shims in the middle pocket on each side for the QH gelding and it was much, much easier to keep the saddle centered. On the mare I just had to have one shim in each center pocket and the saddle stayed pretty centered though she had thick, mutton-ish withers, (I had problems keeping any saddle I tried centered on her back (Stubben Siegfried, a Cloister Schofeld (sp?) dressage saddle, Wintec GP, Wintec Wide GP and the EZ-Fit treeless saddle).

Until I can find that mythical regular treed saddle that fits every horse that has ever been born I will go on enjoying riding in my Pegasus Butterfly saddle since the horses move SO MUCH BETTER when I ride in it and I can get it to satisfactorily fit all of them (no bucking, no swerving, no fits of indignation, just calm relaxed horses happily striding along according to my riding teachers.)

I rode the QH gelding for a few years with the Pegasus Butterfly Claudia jumping saddle and the shimmable pad with 2 bridging shims in the center pockets for YEARS. His back never seemed to get sore (I would “scrub” his back after riding with the HandsOn grooming gloves without any flinching or dirty looks from him) and he improved enough so that I ended up enjoying riding this extremely badly conformed horse who, at over 20 years of age, had decided that ALL saddles and ALL riders were EVIL! My riding teacher who sort of had a soft spot for this badly trained gelding approved of the way I was riding him and rejoiced in his improvement and the fact that he actually ended up enjoying me riding him (he turned positively affectionate when we put the saddle on in the cross-ties) and went from being a super resistant horse to one who let my aids go “through” his body so he could move properly under me.

I HAD TO learn how to ride in this saddle, after almost 50 years of riding. There is a learning curve. Silicon full seat breeches ended a lot of my problems of the saddle shifting side to side since I can keep my seat bones centered in the saddle. The shims in the center pocket of the six pocket pad were enough to keep the saddle more centered side-to-side on the QH gelding’s badly sagging back. But then I had to learn how to ride effectively in the treeless saddle too, for many of the same reasons.

Thanks for the replies so far. I will look into the Ryder saddles as I’ve never heard of them. As far as the W/XW county I don’t see how that would work. My horse is a medium tree. He’s not terribly wide. He’s just wide through the shoulders which always get pinched under the front of the saddle. And a Thorowgood is what I had first. It didn’t work on my horse, even after being professionally fitted. It’s not made for a short backed horse. It’s just a standard length panel, no different from any other saddle. It sat back behind his last rib and interfered in the loin area. What I need is something specifically made for horses with short backs. Any other suggestions out there?

Well, my other thought is the Portos I from Stubben. It’s marketed for Icelandic horses who have very short backs.

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Good idea, I will look into that.