Saddle fit help - dust marks?

Long time lurker, first time poster here! Quick backstory, 9 year old ottb gelding, been sitting in a pasture for a few months after I moved across the country. Got him up here in the winter and had a fitter out who determined that neither of my beloved (foam, non-adjustable) saddles fit. He’s got a short flat back and is level front to hind end (not quite downhill) with a relatively low wither. He is a potential candidate for a hoop tree due to well sprung ribs needing a crazy wide channel. Fitter no longer is coming this far out since the others in the area backed out, so I’m on my own until I find another fitter, hence why I’m here on the board!

I bought a used Thorowgood T4 Cob all purpose saddle with the intent to make this my ‘get fit’ saddle, while I save for something nicer. This model is supposed to be hoop-ish, much less of an A frame tree than the Wintecs. I followed the manufacturer’s instructions on how to select a gullet plate, and put the wide plate in. Saddle sits level with good contact as far as I can tell, and has spine clearance with me on board as well.
Any armchair fitters care to look at the dust marks from our ride today? Past two rides have been short and stirrupless, this is the first time I did any trot under saddle with stirrups in order to get a decent sweat/dust mark. Just used a square pad (my EquiCore system actually), no half pad or anything. I can get more pics, this is what I have now.


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You want to go to an online site like Trumbull Mountain which lets you sent in wither tracings for them to evaluate against saddles they feel will work.

Using saddle pad marks is generally a very poor gauge of saddle fit, for reasons of how dirty one side of the horse is vs the other, how dirty the front half of that side if vs the back half, how balanced the rider is, etc

As well, these pictures are either tiny thumbnails, or so huge and I can’t reduce them, to be unusable

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Okay thanks for the input! I cannot figure out how to make the pics work… still learning the forum. I’m not currently looking for a new saddle, just trying to gauge fit of the one I have.

I can see the photos, but they are just of a horse’s back. There isn’t a picture of a saddle pad. Did you mean to look at the marks the pad made on his back? I don’t see much, no sweat marks too look at.

Just an anecdote: my saddle fitter gets very frustrated when she is simply sent pictures of dirty saddle pads or sweaty horses to analyze how well a saddle fits. It tells her nothing.

Make an appointment with a qualified saddle fitter who will watch you ride and discuss a “dynamic” fit. I say “dynamic”, not knowing if it is the right term. But the fit while you are riding, not just static or standing still.

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He’s not fit enough to sweat so I was hoping the dirt marks would substitute. But I hear what y’all are saying! I can work on getting better pics of the actual saddle.
Sadly I’m asking for help here because my one fitter isn’t coming out this way anymore (I’m the only one this far out now… it’s only an hour but that’s far by the area’s standards) and I’m struggling to find another one.
If anyone is willing to help a girl out and tell me which pics to get for a better idea I’d be grateful! I’m digging around on the forum and see front, back, side view and 3/4 view of the saddle girthed up without a pad. Is this correct? Otherwise if anyone knows fitters in the central Wisconsin area that I could reach out to… coming up empty on google.

I’m telling ya, go to and do their wither tracing stuff. It’s free :slight_smile: Or it used to be :slight_smile:

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What everyone is saying is that evaluating the fit of a saddle remotely takes a good eye and experience. You could work with tack shops that do have a lot of experience with remote fittings. @JB mentioned Trumbull Mountain; there’s also Pelham Saddlery. There are others as well, I’m sure.

Smith-Worthington saddlery provides a great resource on saddle fitting for both horse and rider:

Saddle fitting guides for horse and rider

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Okay thanks everyone for the resources! Glad to have somewhere to go since I was feeling very stuck. I appreciate the help!

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Stay away from Trumbull Mountain unless they have changed hands again. The original owner decided to retire and sell the store when her husband had a serious medical problem . She spent months looking for new owners and sold it to 2 individuals who appeared to be most suitable. She and a couple of employees stayed for a bit to ensure a smooth transition. Her husband recovered but she passed away from brain cancer a number of years ago.

I did some business with a saddle fitter who had worked with the original owner and the new ones. She said in an email about a year ago that they were not paying people when their saddle sold until the customer forced the issue. There was a fitter who sounded like he knows what he is doing. He would chime in on a saddle thread and made Trumbull look good. There was some suspicion [in 2019-2020] that they are going to file for bankruptcy.

There have been many posts on this board about problems getting paid when their consigned saddles sold. The new owners ran the business name and the legacy of the original owner it into the ground.

From the email I received:
“About Trumbull Mountain, reading that thread last night made my blood boil a little bit. Unfortunately I’m too aware of what’s going on there. I legit can’t believe they’re still in business.
They still owe me money too, but they paid off a large chunk of what they owed me so I’m calling it a win. However, if a class action lawsuit was filed I would definitely join ranks. I seriously considered filing in small claims court, I’m close enough to VT that it would be do-able. They are, without a doubt, stealing people’s saddles. I can’t help but wonder how many people either forgot they have a saddle there on consignment, or are assuming their saddle hasn’t sold yet when it really has.”

I purchased 2 consigned Albions from Pelham Saddlery in New Hampshire. A few people from the barn did also. They have hundreds of new, used, and consigned saddles and will do a trial period. Customer service is excellent.

I learned to do tracings with directions online. I bought a flexible ruler which makes it much easier to do it accurately. A second person also helps. I use a piece of cardboard and a sharpie. I passed muster with the Saddle Doctor. I brought my saddle to a show for a few years where he had a booth and he adjusted it there. Saved big bucks on shipping charges.

Awww man, that makes me SO SAD! And angry too, but so sad for the loss of what used to be a great place :sob: