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Saddle for a Haflinger

Hi everyone! My Haflinger usually uses a medium gullet Exselle saddle – we are looking around to see if we can purchase another saddle for him. Problem is he’s been out of work because of injury. We have tried his regular saddle on him recently and it seems like an OK fit, wish it was a tad roomier. He has used a medium gullet Bates before and that seemed to work for him.

Looking at other saddles and am worried that a medium will be too narrow for him but a wide too big. He’s not a huge Haflinger, seems to carry the stockiness in his legs, but is large enough for me to be concerned that a medium will pinch.

I like the XCH gullet idea but want a good quality saddle to last. What do you guys think about the Pessoa XCH? Really wanted a close contact and seemed like the XCH usually came in AP.

Also was browsing at Antares. Saw a saddle described as a medium gullet and measured from point to point as a 4 3/4. Also saw a wide/AO (seller describes this saddle as fitting Warmbloods well).

Is XCH the way to go? Or should I go with a saddle that is more $ but lasts longer?

I took pictures of him tonight. Not perfect, but hope it works! He has been out of work for 6 months about because of a splint bone injury. We’ll be riding him again in about two weeks (at this point, we’ll probably ride him bareback as his regular saddle is a little narrow now he’s out of work).

First picture: http://tinypic.com/r/2ch6hoi/5
Second picture (his spine): http://tinypic.com/r/zn3git/5
Third picture (w/ saddle): http://tinypic.com/r/2meqow5/5
Some photos of when he was in shape: http://tinypic.com/r/2vvrpy9/5

Thank you so much!

I ride my Fjord in a Pessoa A/O Pro with the XCH system. She takes the MW plate usually or the W when she’s been out of work for a while. We are both very happy with this saddle.

My particular saddle has the flatter Bayflex foam panels - this was a “must have” with the shape of her back and the saddle fitter wasteland that I live in.

Ovation is a “sister” brand to Pessoa and has the XCH system. Ovations are one of the best values out there in the $1200 and less category, in my opinion.

If I wanted to spend more money and if there were saddle fitters around here, I would probably look at Black Country or Kent & Masters, but the older I get the happier I am when a less expensive option works well for me and my horses.

The saddle in the photos seems to be a little pommel high and is “perching” a bit, which makes me wonder if the tree type is correct for him. Many of the Haffies I see are better suited to a hoop tree, and while I can’t say for sure if your guy falls into that category w/o seeing a template of his back, I can say that there are no changeable gullet saddles out there (except the WOW) that offer a hoop-shaped plate.

If you have a good local fitter, it might be a good idea to have him/her take a look and make some recommendations. If you don’t have anyone local, you can work long-distance via templates and photos with a place like Equestrian Imports or Panther Run Saddlery. Both places have fitters who’ve done successful long-distance work for years.

Nancy at Duett saddles will be able to help you. They are designed to fit Halfie type backs. I got one for a very wide pony, and we shipped several saddles back and forth before finding the one that worked.