Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Saddle Fitting

 I had a bunch of other pictures I wanted to share, but I was sooo busy today that I never had a chance to post them.  I have to go to sleep soon, but thought I would hop on here really quick and show you all the saddle pictures I got yesterday.  I was taking pictures by myself (and Chrome didn't want to stand still) so they aren't fantastic, but it might give you an idea...  it's weird, but it looks like it fits to me...  maybe it just feels weird because I'm not used to an Aussie saddle...  I did find a fleece saddle pad though that's thicker so I'll probably try it tomorrow to see if it makes a difference.  :D  You can click to enlarge the images.

A picture of him wearing the saddle without me on him.

 Me sitting on him.  I held my arms and the reins up out of the way so you can see the saddle, but it's still hard to see it...

The front clearance.  It's clearing his spine (it was not crooked, I titled the camera because I was holding it in front of me pointed back at me and I couldn't see what I was taking a picture of lol), but only by a couple of inches... maybe it's because I'm used to a Western saddle?  I'm used to the pommel clearing by several inches.  I haven't sat in an English saddle in so long I can't even remember how much clearance there is in the front LOL!

Looking down at his shoulders.  Now you see why I keep saying he feels so narrow LOL! 

Closer up shot of the saddle.  This was after I rode. 

You couldn't see the sweat marks on his body so I took a picture of the saddle pad instead.  He's the only one who has ever worn this pad and I'm 99% sure he's only worn the Aussie saddle with this pad.  I think he wore the white pad with the English saddle I have (that is too small for me).  So what are these marks saying?  It almost looks like it's bridging in the center, but when I ran my hand under the saddle the pressure felt even all the way down his back....  It didn't feel like it bridged at all.

Also after I untacked him I ran my hands over his back so I could feel the sweat marks (they were really hard to see) and he was sweatiest on his back where the cantle of the saddle sits... there was almost no sweat on the front behind his withers.  Here is a picture to kind of show you what I mean....

You will probably have to click the picture to enlarge it to read it lol.  I ran my hand down his back on both sides and when my hand got to the part where the most sweat was his ears flicked back, but I don't know if that's because I pressed down harder or because that's where my hand stopped or because he couldn't figure out what I was doing.  He didn't throw his head up or try to move or act like he was in pain or anything.  I'll test it again after the next ride to see if he does it again.... heck his back muscles could be sore just getting used to carrying weight in a different spot since I normally ride bareback which has me sitting closer to his withers, it may not be the saddle at all... or he may not be sore lol.  I don't know. I really wish I could find a chiropractor.  I hate moving.

So anyway I am definitely saving my money for a dressage saddle because as nice as the Aussie saddle is for long trail rides it does not make it easy to get into a correct dressage seat so I don't see it working out well for dressage lessons (which I hope to start taking as soon as we finish building our house).  I'll keep an eye on his back and keep you guys updated!  Thanks in advance for your comments, advice, tips, discussion, references, etc.  :)  You guys are awesome!


  1. In my nowhere near expert opinion, I think that the saddle sits a little forward on him and not quite balanced. In the pictures of it after you rode, it looks like the cantle is almost higher than the horn. That would lead me to believe that the tree is possibly too wide, and when you ride it is slipping down over where it should be held up in the front.

    Howeverrrrr, with that being said, it is an aussie saddle, which I know have slightly higher cantles, so I could just be seeing something that is different from what I am used to.

    It's hard to tell, but I think it might look like before you rode it was more even, but after you rode the front had slipped down onto his withers/shoulders more, which would make me think its too wide of a tree.

    As for the sweating, when it's warm out but I don't make my pony work much, she will sweat on the back half of the saddle area, but not so much the front part. Since you felt pressure all the way down, I think maybe part of his body could possibly just get warmer or react more to sweat, as long as it is consistent on both sides of his body.

    With all that being said, everything I said is what I have seen from experience trying to fit a hard to fit pony, but obviiously I'm not an expert. Saddle fitting is so frustrating, I wish they could tell us what they need!

    With an english saddle on my Pony, it was too tight, and I kept going up in size on tree, until she was positively swimming in it, until finally I realized it was too tight because it was too wide and slipping down more onto her shoulders instead of being held up near the wither and spine. Definitely frustrating!

  2. What you're saying is consistent with what I was thinking. :) The Aussie saddle guy from the company where we bought the saddle said that you have to look at the seat instead of the cantle/pommel like you normally would. He said the seat is supposed to be flat where you sit. I'm not 100% sure what part he's talking about though. When I'm standing there looking at the saddle in front of me the seat looks flat, but when I ride it feels like the front tips down. I'm going to try a slightly thicker fleece pad today and see if that helps. If it makes the tree too narrow down his back I'll get wither/riser/shim pads for the front. :D

  3. That's what I was thinking, is that a wither pad/shims would help lift that front end up!

  4. I HATE saddle fitting, it's soooo darn hard!! Good luck! Have you ever tried a type of skito pad ever? Those are nice too(not the cheapest, but worth it if you have for years). But it still might not help this situation?? Here is one site.

  5. Does look like it might be bridging a little.

  6. I'm terrible @ saddle-fitting. But just wanted to tell you stalk eBay and type in "dressage saddle" and see what you find. I found a really, really nice saddle that wasn't a name I recognized, and I bought it for $225 + shipping. Turns out it's an Argentian-made saddle that's popular in Australia and sells new for $2,000--3,000 Australian. It's in excellent condition, but I got it super cheap because it's not a brand that is popular here. Just looking at the pictures, I liked the lines and thought it looked like a very well-made saddle, and fortunately I was right.
    Sometimes you can also find older models of the more popular brands that are still in good condition being sold for reasonable prices.
    Best of luck!

  7. You are pretty tall right? I feel like you need a bigger seat just because with the bigger seat comes more room for your legs. If you rode with a longer stirrup it might work better but you are probably like me and want a short stirrup for youngsters. That saddle doesn't give much room for a long legger to shorten them.

    In your from above shot it does look like it is pinching a bit in his shoulders.

  8. Yay glad to have you back Super! :D I am very tall and I did notice the stirrups seemed short on our last ride so I'm going to lengthen them a bit. :) I also think it's a muscle thing. After my last ride my quads were soooo sore from putting my legs in the correct position. I just need more hours in the saddle I think. I'm going to check out the saddle pad you mentioned. Sounds like it might come in handy with Chrome's changing body, especially as he builds new muscle. :) Thanks for commenting!

  9. I agree - I'd build a shim pad, or just find some shims to slid in under the front half and see how it fits.


  10. If you don't feel comfortable in long stirrups just yet hang on to the saddle. Or be like me and have several that work for different lengths, lol. If you take the arch out of ur lower back it might help too. I tend to arch my back too much and find I'm more effective w my seat and legs when I keep it flatter.

  11. I've never seen a saddle like that. It must feel very odd.

    Mango Momma


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