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saddle fitting help!!! TB/Morgan cross and new horse owner!

Hi! I purchased my first horse at the end of May. He’s a 7yr TB/Morgan cross. I didn’t realize how hard he was going to be to fit! I’ve been shopping around and tried a Wintec 500 and a Collegiate Convertible Diploma. My boy is pretty wide in the shoulders (wore the extra wide gullet in the collegiate, but I still felt like something was off and I wasn’t IN LOVE. He has high withers and a low back. If I can figure out how to attach a picture I will…

I’ve always been taught that the saddle should fit without a pad, but I am losing hope on finding a good saddle for him. I’ve been reading so many threads that say avoid the M. Toulouse like the plague. Should I consider a monoflap saddle since I don’t need any more bulk? I’m just getting to the point of being overwhelmed and can’t make a decision. My budget was around 1200.

I want the saddle for flat work and to eventually do more jumping. I also really enjoy trail riding, but right now my trails are pretty short and few. Thanks!!!

You can’t attach a picture unless you’re a premium member. However, you can post a link to a site like photobucket.

You’ve tried two saddles, I’m not sure it’s quite time to give up hope. :lol:

Post some pictures (they need to be hosted off site and linked to), and I’m sure we can point you in the right direction.

Neither of the saddles you listed are ones that I would recommend for a horse with high withers, fyi.

Pictures posted

I guess I forgot to mention I also tried about 14 western saddles. The previous owner told me that he did well in semi-bars and almost “any saddle would fit him.” It must have been when he was 3 and I don’t think so! His withers are also pretty long as well.

I uploaded a picture of him to pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/pin/238550111487554503/

Here is a picture of him in the collegiate convertible diploma. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/238550111487554507/

I also tried a few other english saddles, but the two were the only serious considerations. Several others gave me a really bad chair seat, I felt off balance, or were nixed upon initial fitting.

Smartpak reps were trying to convince me to go with the Toulouse Genesis system, but I’ve heard so many bad things about them I’m afraid to shell out a lot of money for something that won’t hold up. I’m only 24, so I have hopefully MANY years of riding to go!

Any thoughts on Exselle debut CC ?? I’ve heard some good things about them, but again pretty new to the saddle shopping.

English/hunt seat is not popular in my area (hence just trying western saddles first, since he is pretty all-around.) I’ve tried looking up saddle fitters, but the only close by only fits County (out of my price range.)

Your horse is lacking top-line muscles, so I would go for a regimen of longeing while you work on finding a saddle, using lots of transitions to keep him engaged and using his hind end. As he muscles, his back will change shape. If you buy something that fits him right now without a pad, it won’t fit him very soon as he develops fitness. Get the muscles developing, buy a saddle that gives him a bit of room to continue developing and fill in the difference with a sheepskin pad.

To help me help you more with specific saddles there are specific angles I’d like to see. Like these: http://pieceofheaven1951.blogspot.com/2013/02/dressage-saddle-fitting.html Good luck!

I don’t find it at all surprising that neither the Wintec nor the Collegiate seem to work for your horse, as they are essentially the same saddles (more or less, depending on exact model) in synthetic vs leather. The gullets are certainly the same, and have an interesting configuration that render them not particularly useful for many horses.

While your horse’s back will change with work, I still think it might be worth it to have the County rep come out and to try some things. Once you know what works, you can look for something used. I have purebred Morgans (too wide for Bates/Wintec/Collegiate XW) and also ride TBs - I have a County for the Morgans (XW tree) and County would also be my first try in fitting a TB back.

He doesn’t have a low back - just high withers :slight_smile:

You need a saddle that’s either got a cut-back pommel, or one with a “cathedral” pommel.

As said, the 2 English saddles you tried are built in the same shape tree, so one wouldn’t fit if the other didn’t.

I think County is going to be a little too curvy for this flat back.

What’s your spending limit? You might look at the Duett saddles, as they would fit a wider shoulder, and IME, they are flatter front-back, being too flat for my not very curvy WB.

Black Country also has some flatter treed saddles which are also capable of fitting wide shoulders and staying off higher withers.

Your horse appears to be angular laterally with a wither and an average back. He very well may fill and become much less angular. I would be careful of going too narrow to clear the wither and thereby pinch the shoulder. That is often why people feel they are in a chair seat. If the saddle is too narrow, the saddle will be pommel high, cantle low and the result is a chair seat. At this time I would opt for something with a deeper front panel and full front or wither gussets or use a correction pad while your horse develops more. A wool flocked saddle is helpful as it can be adjusted as your horse develops. Something like a Kent and Masters jump saddle is one thought that comes to mind.

I’ve had great luck with Courbette and Albion on my Morgan horses. Working long and low will develop the topline.

Saddle update

I’ve had great luck with Courbette and Albion on my Morgan horses. Working long and low will develop the topline.[/QUOTE]

I talked to Lynnda at Classic Saddlery. She said “Your saddle is too far forward, he is a very deceiving horse to fit but if you place the point of the tree (bottom nail head just below the “Dee” ring) behind his shoulder movement you’ll find most saddles will fit better. The Wintec saddles have a very straight rail (rail is shape of tree between pommel and cantle), your horse needs something with more curve to the rail to fit the shape of his back.”

Both saddles she mentioned were Toulouse Lucia II (wide tree) w/leathers and the Jennine Genesis w/o leathers for around 950. I don’t want to spend more than 1200. I keep reading good and bad things about Toulouse, so I’m trying to decide if I should go for it. I’ve heard they have quality issues, and the genesis tree has a guarantee for 10 years (not sure how old this one is she’s selling.) I also heard the brand basically try to replicate higher-end saddles. Apparently some people love them-some hate them…I’m just torn. I really value others opinions. The genesis I can ride in, since it’s used but the Lucia is brand new, so I can only set it on his back to see fit. I need a 17.5 seat.

Would you suggest a pad like this http://www.statelinetack.com/item/roma-protek-saddle-pad-with-lift-back/E006268/ I’m pretty sure they had something like this at SMWC to help fit saddles to lots of different horses.

I’ve been lunging him since I got him. The arena is incredibly sandy (I’m not a fan, but don’t really have any other options.) But, I have seen a lot of development in his chest area and just overall. I’ve put out some ground poles for him to move over when I’m lunging, but any other groundwork suggestions/techniques to use to build topline are appreciated. He is on Smartmuscle as well, in case I didn’t mention that before- we’ve used it for about 2 weeks.


I’m looking more into Courbette, thoughts?

Toulouse would absolutely not be my first choice saddle for any horse. I’ve heard too many stories of problems with the tree and poor customer service, but even more so, I’ve seen enough of them after a few years’ use - I really don’t think they wear well at all. The Toulouse saddle replicate other brands in look, but they don’t generally compare in the balance, quality, etc. Some are, of course, better than others, but it’s still not a road I’d go down.

You’re going to be much better off going with a higher-end (but likely not as “trendy”) used saddle than anything new. It might take some work, but you should be able to find Albion, County, Black Country, Frank Baines, Smith-Worthingon, etc in your price range.

Duett and Thornhill would be options that you could get new in your price range that are pretty decent saddles for the money. I would buy one of those before I would spend money on a Toulouse.

Definitely take some tracings and start working with people long-distance - Kitt, Jay, Nancy (Duett), and Cordia Pearson (saddlefitter.com - Thornhill and Smith-Worthington), and even Smith-Worthington directly. They can really help set you in the right direction.

Thanks for the info! I emailed saddlefitter.com- they seemed to fit a lot of Morgans and some TBs, so hopefully I will hear back from them soon.

It seems like you are getting the help you need, but I saw your horse’s shape and wanted to share my saddle fitting advice with you-- here is my horse http://www.pinterest.com/pin/525584218986735530/

yes he is quite fleshed out right now, but he was not always. he has really difficult to fit back. i tried about 10 saddles on him, including getting his tracings and measurements and sending them to Trumbull Mtn and getting their saddles on trial-- none fit.

i know that you said County was out of your price range-- its out of mine too (thank god for my mom and dad)-- but what i ended up with was the new model County Sensation, with skidrow panels and gussets. when you look at it, it fits perfectly, but even so, we both seem to prefer it with a mattes pad. to be fair, the county rep i’ve worked with told me upfront that due to his unique back, even with the custom saddle he might need the mattes. my vet/chiro made the same comment. but its not like the sheepskin pad is masking an ill fitting saddle, it sits perfectly on his back, and he goes fine without a sheepskin. its just that the drop from withers to haunches is pretty substantial and with weight in the saddle it feels more level with the sheepskin. this is the FIRST saddle that does not pinch his shoulder or sit close to his wither!! totally worth the explicit amount of $.

What I learned: I have always had high withered horses and i went to a college where saddle fit was of great importance in the riding program, so I thought i was pretty well versed in saddle fit. my horse’s fitting issues had me stumped and its because no one ever said BOO about length of points on a saddle.

essentially, because of the drop behind the wither and his particular shape, a saddle with average length points, even thickly gussetted, was going to sit too low in front without extra padding. so this new model County sensation has longer points made for this type of saddle fit issue.

this is kind of how i understood the effect of points on saddle fit:
imagine that you have really ridiculously long lower legs, and you’ve found a stool that allows your feet to lay perfectly flat on the floor, knees bent at 90degrees. then a normal size person sits on this stool and their feet can’t lay flat on the ground. that normal size person is the average saddle on your horse. you are the perfect saddle on your horse. This explains why you might have the tree size, tree shape, gullet and gussets all “correct” for your horse by some standards of measurements…but maybe it still doesn’t fit right.

I hope this was a teeny bit helpful. I was riding my horse in an old stubben with a corrective mattes prior to this, which was working quite well for flat but started causing problems once we were doing more jumping. but, my horse is the princess and the pea. if possible, ride your horse bareback until you can get a saddle that fits. i rode Mick for 2 months bareback and just worked on hills, cavalletti, and transitions to build his topline.

Please don’t buy a saddle YOU can’t ride in before committing! I recently had my fitter out with several saddles that all fit my horse (two by the same company even) and I found one horribly uncomfortable, one ok, and one super comfortable.
I will second looking for used high quality saddles like county, Albion, or frank baines.