Saturday, November 8, 2014

werkin on saddle fit

I've mentioned a few times that we've got some saddle fit issues. Arabs are notorious for their short backs and highly sprung rib cages - it's what allows them the lung capacity and physical sturdiness for incredible stamina and endurance. 

'this seat is taken'

But it makes it a PITA to fit a saddle to them. So far, this beat up old wintec has been mostly getting the job done. But it's not perfect. These first two pictures show the saddle with no extra padding - this is how it lies along Isabel's back unaided. 

no padding

My concern here is the lack of contact between the rear panels and Isabel's back. This leads to rocking - especially when we're jumping. If we get a wonky distance, it's almost guaranteed that the saddle will jam up into the hollows below Isabel's withers. 

I used DIY foam shims to accommodate this, but they got nixed by my chiro. You can see them in the below picture: two shaped pieces held together by a strap that fit nicely into place under the saddle front. I liked these shims... but still felt like they weren't getting the job done (as evidenced by Isabel's worried expressions when it was time to saddle up). 


i really wanted to like you. but alas, no such luck

A few people recommended a rolled up towel, but (the sloppy look aside) I thought the towels got squished too easily. My trainer recommended no-bow bandages (esp since they have a foam core), and another blogger agreed that it was a good quick fix. 

So here's the saddle with 14" no-bow bandages folded in half across Isabel's withers:


corrective padding

Just on looks alone, I think it's an improvement. The seat is more level, and the panels have much more contact across Isabel's back. Plus, the saddle doesn't rock any more. 

the secret weapon

all put together

I guess the proof will be in the pudding, so to speak - and I plan to test this out in today's lesson (we haven't really ridden this week - Isabel was a bit stressed after all our recent shows and needed a breaky-break). 

But I'm interested in hearing any initial thoughts or opinions from any of you (esp since I'm nowhere near expert when it comes to this stuff). Does this look like an improvement? Or is the padding maybe too thick?


And in other news, I stopped by the consignment shop to use up my credit before it expires (yay for selling nice TS show breeches that didn't fit any more!!). Picked up some fun stuff - but will write about that later. Also spent some time ogling the saddles just cuz. 



Hm... this one is a little strange looking - looks maybe custom?


Wait, wow, that's REALLY tiny - the normal sized pen is almost the same size as the seat!?!!



Annnnddddd wow, this one is even tinier! Granted, that's a pony blanket it's sitting on, but STILL. 

These saddles are absolute works of art and appear to be completely functional (including billet straps and stirrup bars and hardware), with everything to-scale. Except, what on earth are they actually scaled for??? Wild...

22 comments:

  1. I have heard that it's super difficult to fit a saddle to an arab! That sucks :(
    You should google 'lamfelle'. I have one of their half pads and I love it - it comes with foam inserts and you can double them up and adjust them to improve saddle fit. I think you might find one useful!
    If they aren't available where you are I'm sure there's an alternative brand!

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    1. I'll definitely look into that- thanks for the recommendation! I've tried approximately 8 million different half pads, w varying degrees of success (thus the DIY efforts), but refuse to give up lol

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  2. That saddle is teeny-tiny, could it be for a Shetland or Falabella or some such miniature breed? Although it is so small on that saddle pad maybe it is for a rocking horse or something....
    Glad you've found a chiro approved solution to saddle it issue. Fingers crossed it works for your lesson!
    How has some savvy saddle fitter not jumped all over this niche market? Sporthorse Arabs are not at all uncommon, you'd think there'd be more saddle options than custom

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    1. There are actually quite a few Arab-specific saddle companies, but the saddles are pricey and hard to find used.... And it's hard to justify purchasing that myself considering Isabel isn't my horse. It may come to that tho, we will see

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  3. Hopefully that works for you! Looks like it will help. Maybe you just need that last saddle for Izzy instead. ;)

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    1. Lol maybe! She'd probably love that saddle bc there's no way I'd ever fit in it- which is fine by her!! All the same, I hope the new padding works out

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  4. Saddle fit the bane of all horse people, unless you have gobs of money to throw at the problem! Good luck with the fix.

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    1. Right? As soon as you think something works, the horse's back changes... Sigh. Fingers crossed this works!

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  5. Dang that's saddle and I think the #1 bane of the equestrian world = saddle fit

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  6. I hope that fix worked out for you guys. She's lucky you are working so hard to get her as comfy as possible!

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    1. thanks! i just wish i could do more!

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  7. Ahhh that tiny saddle is so cute! I've never had wintecs fit horses that were wide or flat backed, they always tend to rock and be too narrow (although I haven't dealt with any of the new wintecs so they might be different).

    My advice would be to play with the pads but at the same time, look for a deal on a wool flocked saddle that you can have a saddle fitter fit to her. I found my custom (brand) dressage saddle for 600 dollars. It's an older model and VERY beat up, but the custom brand goes for 3-4k normally. I got it fit to his back by my saddle fitter. I dunno how much of an option doing that is, but it's what worked for me! I think they have saddles made specifically for those round arab backs, one of my clients has her springy arab in an Albion SLK.

    Good luck!

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    1. thanks - that's good advice on a wool-flocked saddle. if i do end up buying a new (to me) saddle for this leased horse, that's probably the route i'd choose. the wintec is just sooooo close tho! both my bio-mechanics trainer and chiro have said that i shouldn't worry about finding a new saddle, since this one just needs a few tweaks... but none of my tweaks seem to work!! ugh #firstworldproblems lol

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  8. Oh saddle fit... it's there to drive us all crazy right?

    Hopefully you will find a solution!! :)

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    1. Thanks- and that is absolutely the truth...

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  9. Hope the new padding works for Isabel!

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  10. I tried nine saddles before ordering my Alta Escuela, which would not work for jumping. I would suggest mapping her back. It takes about fifteen minutes and some stiff wire. Here is a website that explains who to do the mapping: http://www.crestridgesaddlery.com/build-a-back-map.html

    Once you get the wires set for your horse's back, you can flip the saddle over and lay the wires on the bottom of the saddle (in the same order the saddle would go on the back) and see where the saddle does or does not fit. I found that most saddles don't have the correct rock, or are not wide enough across his loins.

    Hope this helps and good luck.

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  11. Those tiny saddles are so cool!! Sorry I'm no help on the saddle front. I hope it works out!

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