western saddle fit on OTTB

I got a new OTTB last month and neither of the saddles I currently own (Big Horn SQHB 6" gullet and King Series FQHB ~6.5-6.75" gullet) fit the horse. The Big Horn seems to fit fine over his back but is way too tight on the shoulder and withers. The King is too loose and slides around.

I tried an old Simco gaited saddle on him today and I think it fits ok and he moved ok when I rode him in it but it sits pretty low on his withers and I just don’t know.

I have no idea how to post images here. But here’s a link to an Imgur album of the horse with the gaited saddle on and some without a saddle on https://imgur.com/a/VfTDV#0

Horsesaddleshop.com has templates you can download and use to get a good idea of what type of tree your horse needs. They carry a pretty diverse line of saddles and can make recommendations for you.

[QUOTE=rrock129;7906115]

I tried an old Simco gaited saddle on him today and I think it fits ok and he moved ok when I rode him in it but it sits pretty low on his withers and I just don’t know.

I have no idea how to post images here. But here’s a link to an Imgur album of the horse with the gaited saddle on and some without a saddle on https://imgur.com/a/VfTDV#0[/QUOTE]

Do you have anyone helping you? Western saddle fit can be quite complicated.

The pictures you gave the link to, the saddle bars are too wide of an angle for your horse and that’s why the saddle sits downhill and close to the withers. It’s not a horrid fit but I think we could maybe do better.

A few things we cannot access by not being there in person: Does the saddle rock on his back? Are there any pressure points when you run your hand along the saddle tree (the actual tree; not the leather skirts as some people mistakenly do)?

Your horse does have prominent withers and a fair dip in his back, so it might be a little more difficult to find a good fit. I am happy to see that you are least placed the saddle where it belongs. Many people place a western saddle too far forward.

This website will give you some more information about western saddle trees:
http://saddlemakers.org/id193.htm

You can try the templates from horsesaddleshop.com but those templates don’t give you the whole story. For example: Two saddles can list themselves as being full quarter horse bars with a 7" gullet and they will fit completely different. There isn’t a standard.

From the pix it I agree with your concern- looks like you don’t have enough clearance over the withers- when you have a rider on that saddle it could well hit the withers. Ideally when you are sitting in the saddle, you want to be able to get at least two fingers (vertical) between the withers and the bottom of the pommel. There are of course a zillion possibilities for good fit (in my experience, alas, the pricier the saddle, the better the fit). But two warmbloods I rode some years back, with prominent withers, were good with a Tex Tan w/semi qh bars.

Long shot, but–i have an old Big Horn half-leather, half-synthetic cutting horse saddle that is a PERFECT fit for TB backs. It works with the dip and still clears the shark fin. It is worth whatever i paid and I’ll never get rid of it, because it IS so hard to find a good western saddle that works on a TB. If you can find one of them, though, it might work for you. :slight_smile:

You might try a Crates saddle if you can get your hands on one. They can be good for the curvier backs and big shoulders, altho you still might have a problem with wither clearance.

The Crates Meleta Brown Freedom saddle has excellent wither clearance.

In general, she’s a great gal to chat with. She can usually look at (good) pictures of your horse to determine if her saddle would be a good fit, and she’ll send you a loaner to try.

http://thefreedomsaddle.com/

UPDATE:

Between the horse going a bit lame from a nasty stone bruise and me injuring my back, I totally forgot I’d posted here.

There doesn’t seem to be any rock with the saddle on his back and the pressure under the bars feels even to me. I bought a new felt pad with cut-out withers and had my mom ride him for a bit while she was visiting for Christmas. He moved out nicely and seemed comfortable so I’m going to stick with it for now and see how things go.