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Saddle fit

Much to my surprise my new to me mare is a bit too narrow for my Eamor.
I’ve been enjoying doing trail rides in my western saddle but my primary saddle is a dressage saddle, so I’m just looking to make the fit as best I can for occasional riding. As I trail ride with an elderly friend it is almost exclusively at a walk.
The first pic is my standard gear but as you can see, the gullet is very close to her wither and with any weight in the saddle, there’s barely a half inch clearance.
The next saddle picture is with a cut back thick pad. This seems to give enough wither clearance but I’m still concerned about the actual fit even padded up like this. Do you think there will be a problem?

I trail ride extensivley in my dressage saddle. I even got extra D rings on the back so I can tie things to the saddle with latigos. I’ve done everything I would try in a western saddle, back country and hills and some gnarly mountain terrain. I thought I would need a western saddle but it’s been fine. Some endurance riders use dressage saddles too although there are specialty endurance saddles now.

I absolutely know I can trail ride in my dressage saddle, I bought this saddle when I was 16 and want to go back to using this saddle from time to time but I don’t want to cause my mare any problems.

I was even wondering if I could put my half pad with wither inserts under the saddle?

How is the sweat pattern with the thicker pad? If the only issue is that the saddle is just a tiny bit wide and fits her shape otherwise then I would go with that.

If she rides well and there are no dry spots then I would say you are good to go. Many horses do just fine when it isn’t a 100% perfect fit all over. Just be mindful of her attitude and sweat patterns for changes.


I haven’t ridden with this pad yet.

do you have a photo of the saddle on her without a pad? From these photos it looks fine. even with just an inch clearance. but it would be best to see how the saddle fits without the pad.

I should have thought of that, I will post one later. thank you

Her wither actually touches the gullet but the shape is better than I thought it was.

Your bar angle seems to look pretty decent for her, so just would seem the gullet it too wide.

You might be able to get away with a small shim, but I wouldn’t go too much because you don’t want to affect that bar angle.

I honestly think the purple pad looks fine. Who cares if there is only a small amount of clearance … just so long that there IS clearance and the saddle never touches the withers at any time. There’s no rule on how much clearance there is supposed to be. Now if you really feel like you are sitting downhill, then you (again) might want to try a small shim, but just depends how it looks.

I feel like the thicker pad makes the bar angle wrong, or maybe it was the photo. Just looks funny.

Agree with the question on how do the sweat patterns look?


thanks for the feedback, yeah when I put weight in the saddle there is only the barest of clearance at a walk, at a faster gait the gullet likely touches.
I don’t like the way the thick pad fits, think I’ll wander down to the local tack store and see if they have something in-between.