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Saddle fit question - short term options for poor wither clearance

I have re-started a couple of OTTBs. I have found it helpful to have a saddle with an adjustable gullet (I personally like the old Wintec Pro Jump) because I do think their topline changes.

Otherwise, I buy an inexpensive older saddle that’s a bit narrower than what I think they will ultimately need and then flip it later. If you buy used, you can typically get your money back when you resell.

Just don’t end up like me with a “library” of saddles.


Now, if your horse also has hollow areas behind the withers, there also are some jelly half pads that are shaped to fill that area in.


Anyone know where to find such a pad?

Anyone know where to find such a pad?[/QUOTE]

Acavallo sells one. I have their full massage pad and just love it.


However, I do agree that if a saddle is on the withers that’s one time I don’t try to make the saddle fit, I use my narrower saddle. I don’t like think pads are a great fix for wither clearance especially when jumping because my experience is that it might look fine enough when you are sitting on it flatting, but on the landing side of a jump there’s a lot of risk there’s going to be pressure on the withers. I wouldn’t do it unless you consistently jump around with your fingers under the saddle gullet to check and make sure that isn’t happening. On this 3 year old it might be OK temporarily because she’s probably not jumping it. if it feels pretty good while she’s sitting on it, it’ll probably get her through the winter.

And Bogie, if you have more than a horse or two, I think it is eminently sensible to have a library of saddles! I have a few and usually have something that will fit about anything well enough.


And Bogie, if you have more than a horse or two, I think it is eminently sensible to have a library of saddles! I have a few and usually have something that will fit about anything well enough.[/QUOTE]

I’m glad you understand :D. My friends all think I’m crazy. I don’t admit in public how many saddles I currently own.

I do understand. I put my “number” in my original post and then edited because it sounds obscene. :lol: “A few” sounds more…reasonable. A person new to horses came over to ride my pony the other day and was all like, “wow, you have a lot of stuff.” um, yeah…I need all this stuff…sort of. Or I might. Some day. I did once and I might again, why sell it…though I probably should sell at least some of it. Every now and then I sell something when I see someone needs something I’ve got lying around unused.

If your saddle is wide enough, but sitting on the top of the withers, these work perfectly well for the short-medium term: http://www.doversaddlery.com/roma-wither-relief-lift-front/p/X1-19456/

You can get them padded up in the front, padded up in the back, or with neither (my preference). I used one of these on a shark-finned TB, and it did the job. Of course, if you pad up the front of your saddle, you may end up sitting off balance, keep that in mind.

If your saddle is nearly perfect, and your horse is in work and muscled, the little shimmed pads like Mattes are great. But if he’s a serious coat-rack who will change shape enormously, I’ve found they don’t help enough. I would usually use a foam pad with a newly OTTB, and then go back to a fleece halfpad once they muscle up some.

If your saddle is too low, and also narrow and wanting to pinch the sides of the withers, then no pad will help, and you’ll need another saddle. Is why it’s always good to have a saddle with a nice wide channel and MW-ish gullet: you can often pad up to get wither clearance, without causing pinching.