Saddle for a Short Back?

So I’m looking at a short backed horse. My wade is too long I think. I need suggestions for a saddle that is shorter and won’t break the bank. I’m 5’7" and my wade has buck rolls and has a 15.5 seat. Picture is of current saddle on my 16’2 hand horse.

Just how short backed IS the new horse? Unless you have something exceptionally short, like an Arabian or pony, you don’t have to worry excessively (usually!) with a western saddle’s length. (But of course the bar shape needs to fit the horse’s shape so you don’t have bridging or anything). There are exceptions of course (my first two horses were Arabians and I had a heck of a time with saddle fit) but on a normal type horse, western saddles are made to go back farther than English saddles. You don’t have to worry about the last rib rule on a western saddle. They generally ALWAYS are longer than an English saddle as a matter of course and the horses do great with them if they fit well otherwise.

On the horse above, the saddle could actually come back farther, it’s right up on his shoulder blades. You can see how the seat tips up and really wants to sit farther back to be more level. I often saddle saddle my horse a little forward and then let the saddle work it’s way back into it’s “home” position. But after a bit of movement it shouldn’t stay as far forward as shown in the photo above.

Rod Nikkel has so much wonderful information on western saddle fit that if you haven’t checked it out, you should. It’s my favorite place to go for western saddle information. Here is a random page I picked because it’s on saddle fit but you could explore the site for DAYS and not see it all. :smile:

I LOVE your saddle and stirrups by the way, they are my favorite style to ride in!

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PS. If the new horse really IS super short backed, look for Endurance or Arabian saddles (if the tree fits his back shape). That is the only way I really know to get super short western saddles. Maybe barrel saddles as well. But I haven’t found any tree styles more comfortable (for me) than a good ranch saddle like you have. :slight_smile:

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Allegany Mountain Trail Saddles can build you anything you want. They do make a Wade if you are looking for something similar to what you are riding in now.

I have one of their trail saddles that I had custom built around 4 years ago. At that time, the price was around $2400, I believe.

I have seen some Arabian saddles advertised recently. Here are two sites that usually have decent quality used saddles.

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TW Saddlery can be good for short backed horses and they have a traditional Wade style as well as the Texas Wade. I’d recommend the butterfly skirt. Plus they are all leather but not super heavy. Might not be your budget new, but there is a good FB group for used ones.

ETA whoops just saw your photo and looks like maybe that’s what you have already??

Thanks. Agreed the saddle is a bit too forward. I always reposition it when I cinch it up to ride. Love Rod Nikkel’s information.

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Thanks! No, my saddle is a Mayer Saddlery wade with 3" models. I’ll check out TW.


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Depending on what kind of saddle youre looking for…
Martin Saddlery make a “Futurity cow horse saddle”. It is a single skirt and only 26.5" long, a bit lighter, made for short backed, cow bred colts. Finding them used is a little tough though, they sell fast.
With that said, I’m not sure how much you’re really gaining. How long are your skirts?

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I’d have to measure them. Thanks!

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Have you tried your saddle on the horse you are looking at? For most short backed horses a round skirt is usually good.

It might be a good fit.

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I am guessing the only part that might appear “long” is the skirt? And as long as your saddle pad is holding the skirt away from back such that it isn’t digging into their hip as they move, I think it would work.

The saddle itself is built on a longer tree😒

That’s unfortunate. Is it really 25" like you measured?

Yes. Unfortunately. And it looks huge on her.

Dang it.
If you’re not opposed to a cutting saddle, Jeff Smith builds one on a Beau Galyean tree. It has the same seat as a Buster Welch but wider and less rock to fit wide, flat backed colts. Might be easier to find used compared to the Martin futurity saddle.

Are you sure? The tree length usually corresponds to the saddle size – so an 18" is longer than an 15" – but the saddle size isn’t going to change no matter what brand saddle you get since that relates to you.

This article might help

The saddle is also too big all over for her. The rounded skirt is almost on her hip. Great article. Thanks for sharing.

Can you put up a picture of her with it on?