Western Saddle fit for a downhill Quarter Horse

I am curious what everyone’s experience with saddle fitting a downhill QH.

My filly is 2, on the smaller side, probably 14.1 hands now, but is pretty downhill, and will finish growing downhill.

Currently I’ve been putting a Billy Cook with a Wade tree on her. It’s semi QH bars, and I’ve been using a wedge in the front and a 3/4" felt pad, but it still slides forward and pops up in the back. She’s in that weird narrow wither, flat back, butt high growing phase. The last couple rides, I have only ridden her with a bareback pad, just so it’s more comfortable for her.

I figure, light rides until fall, then she can have the winter to grow, but ultimately, she’s gonna be a pretty downhill mare.

What do you guys with downhill horses use for saddles? Pads? Wedges? Any specific brands that tend to work with these types of horses better?


I don’t think a downhill build needs a special saddle or multiple pads, but just a saddle that fits her. She may end up being slightly downhill but not so dramatically that you need to pad heavily to level the saddle?

They do make pads that are built up at the withers that I remember using years ago with no problems.

Sliding forward and popping up at the back says it does not fit her correctly. I know it feels like you will topple off over the head when they are having a growth spurt but if the saddle fits it isn’t too bad.

This is out-of-the-box thinking, but have you considered adding pads under shoes in front? In other breeds, this is a fairly common practice to level the back, so horse can gait better. Could be true gaited horses, multi-use Arabs and Morgans showing in Western, English pleasure type classes. There are quite a few downhill horses in these breeds, but shoeing with pads prevents you seeing it, horses last longer when padded. Not very noticeable at all, especially when hoof blacked to seal the pads. Blends right in.

Do you have access to a Farrier that does fancy English type horses? It does not take much padding to level the shoulders and croup. Some kind of multiplier effect by the time it goes from hoof to shoulders! Minimum padding should NOT give her extra motion or knee action, just remove the downhill look.

Such shoeing changes should also help her “last longer” in use without all the landing force on her front legs and hooves. Force is increased when you add a rider to her own weight at landing. With pads (leather if you can get them) she travels level, so no increased landing forces.