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Saddle fit help!

Looking for some guidance on saddle fit for my 5 y/o OTTB. New to western and I wish I made this jump sooner. Just exploring all things w/ this horse. He had the winter off and is back in work. He wears an 80" blanket and a Medium County jump saddle…

I had this saddle on trial and it is sent back as it didn’t fit well (Im pretty sure). Joey (horse) was a champ…didn’t mind the extra weight or rear cinch.

Please give me pointers… and what would work in regards to saddle brands and tree size. I do have access to people who can help look at a saddle when I get one.

I want to trail ride/western dressage and clinic with a barn who does ranch-type things. I’m so sorry that it took me until 47 y/o to find this group of amazing, kind and accepting riders. So much of the ‘english’ riding world could learn a few things from you guys. Pics w/ videos posted. TIA!!

As someone who just went through western saddle fitting a wide short backed fjord, it doesn’t look terrible to my “not saddle fitters” eyes. It seems level/balanced, it doesn’t look like it would pinch. Have you ridden him in it yet? Helpful to see what they think and if you can get him a little sweaty, that can tell a story too.

As far as “tree size” you basically get two options, Semi QH bar (for narrower horses) and full QH (for wider ones). They will measure different brand to brand.

If you know people that have western saddles, try on as many as you can, or go to a saddle fitting clinic. I ended up with my Bob Marshall because the BO had one she loaned us to see what we thought. Playing the Buy and Hope game really stinks.

In addition to the Semi QH and Full QH bars you can also find Haflinger and Draft ( i have both of these).

In the front shot I wonder if it may just pinch him slightly ?( where the conchos are) when girthed up? I can be way off but you should be able to easily slide your hand underneath the whole way when girthed up and feel no tightness/ pressing or digging in.

I found having a fitter out to do tracings and then sending those to a reputable saddle shop was worth the small fee she charged. I got a well fitting one the first time when I sent those and it was the Draft cross saddle my QH needed.

I would have never thought that. I’d still be trying saddles!

It isn’t just the width but also the bar angle and the shape of his back from the withers on back. It can really be a nightmare unless you have one of those easy fit horses. We have 1 ( out of our 3) and I am so thankful .

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Some dealers will provide demo saddles that you can try for a couple of weeks. I have a Steele trail saddle that was custom made to fit both me and my horse, and we’re both very happy with it. I tried one of their demos before I ordered, so I knew I would like the saddle. Check them out at http://www.steelesaddle.com.

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Good option too! I never went that route since I was buying --as I call it–off the rack.

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I didn’t think the saddle looked too bad, as far as your video. Maybe a tad bit long for him, as the corner of the saddle may poke into the hip if you are doing smaller bending circles.

Were there any tight spots on the shoulder?
Any dry spots?

Why did you feel it did not fit well?

Saddle fitting is a nightmare. :laughing: Really and truly. I do feel that English is so much easier b/c you can actually see the tree and see what it’s doing, and of course that is not the case with a Western saddle.

It’s trial and error. You won’t know if a saddle fits until you put it on your horse’s back.

If you can, ask all your friends to try on their Western saddle. Seriously. (And most will be happy to do it b/c they know!) If you find a friend’s saddle that looks decent, take a picture of the serial number and try to find your own.

Or take your horse to a Western tack store if you have one within driving distance and try some saddles on your horse. Bring a trusted friend because some salemen are just that; salesman looking to make a sale.

Unfortunately, you just cannot compare brand to brand because there is no standard in the western industry. One brands semi-QB bars might fit like another brands full-QB bars. And then one brands 7 " gullet might fit like another brands 6.75" gullet. They aren’t even measured in the same way sometimes.

I myself have had great luck with the Circle Y Flex2 saddles. I primarily barrel race but I have used their trail saddles in the past too. Most horses fit the regular tree. I have one extra wide beast that fits the wide tree. Now, if you do plan to do roping, then a flex tree isn’t the saddle for you. But if you are more doing trail riding and or dragging a log on a course, then it’s fine.

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That is what I was wanting but sadly after getting tracings it was just not wide enough :cry:

Hmmm, I doubt that. I’m looking at your video and your horse looks to be nowhere near as wide as my Red, who wears the wide in the Circle Y Flex2.

He wears the Lisa Lockhart tree (which then was called the Badlands Tree and now called the Sarah Rose tree) which is a 7" gullet with a 90 degree bar.
The regular is still 90 degrees but a 6.5" gullet.

Their trail saddle tree has a 95 degree bar in both a 6.5" gullet (regular) and a 7" gullet (wide).

What kind of tracings did you do?

Have you considered a DP Western saddle? They have the adjustable gullets - not the type you change out, but it changes with a turn of a wrench tool. I have two and find they fit so many different body types. I have used them on they narrow TWH and my sofa-backed Gypsy Vanner. Pricey, but worth the money. Just MHO.

I don’t have a video of my horse on here ( or anywhere at all) So you must have confused me with OP ?

A 7 inch gullet is not wide enough for my guy. I had a 7 in a Lady Fabtron that he went beautifully in until the summer of his 4th year. Then we had dry spots as he widened.

The fitter did wither , behind the withers along the back and the contour of the the spine.

Again, I was shocked he needed something that wide as he is a bit broad but he doesn’t look that wide but the sweat pattern is perfect and he goes well. Go figure.

I did. My apologies.

No problem. I am easily confused :slightly_smiling_face: