Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saddle Fitting For the Wide Backed Horse

If you have read anything about saddle fit, these types of back are one of the more challenging backs to fit a saddle to. Rocker and sometimes bridging are a couple of the more common issues to contend with.

With the start of the ride season just weeks away, the process of finding a new saddle to fit Maggie has begun. It seems like just yesterday I was going through this same process for JB, who , is surprisingly wide for a smaller framed horse. I found the answer in the Duett Companion Trail saddle. It's by far the best saddle I have ever ridden in.

Maggie will be more of a challenge than JB ever was, and that was a challenge. JB atleast has some withers to speak of. Maggie's build features the classic old style Morgan, known as the Lippitt Morgan. In the beginning, the breed consisted of 17 mares and 8 stallions going back to one stallion known as Ethan Allen II. It's hard to find a good Lippitt these days as breeders have introduced all kinds of other traits into them that, frankly , just don't belong. traits like color, height, and a myriad of other things. Maggie is one of the full blooded Lippitts and is as classic as you can get. Well sprung ribs, strong shoulders, short coupled, no withers, strong as an ox , and unfortunately, wide as a table. The Morgans were bred and used as cart horses, but Morgan's are also one of those breeds that can excel in many disciplines. For Maggie, it appears she'll continue down the endurance path but in order to do that with any success, I need to find her the right saddle.

Another Duett is a heavy contender, but I want to consider the Specialized as an option. I have looked at these in the past, a few years back for JB. At the time, they just weren't making them wide enough. They have since made some improvements and made a wider option on the tree. I took some measurements of Maggies back and have sent them off for Dave and Amanda at Specialized to review. Their initial impressions were wide tree and mule bars. No surprise there. It just so happens that a Specialized dealer here in Montana has a demo of a wide tree saddle. She also has a tree with the mule bars that she can send me. Mule bars are a bit shorter and flatter, made to fit, well, mules, or in this case, like Maggie.(shhhh, don't tell Maggie she has to wear a mule tree) Here are some photos of my wooly mammoth.Pardon the hair...Its winter in Montana..

Here's what I like about the Specialized Eurolight.

-The placement of the low spot in the saddle- its very balanced compared to alot of endurance saddles out there.
-The lightweight feature, 12 lbs.
-The adjustable stirrup position.If I want to jump in it, I can. If I want to ride dressage I can.
-The ability to adjust it to fit a couple of different horses using the shims
-The ability to adjust the fit for a horse as his/her back changes with age/condition using the shims.
-The minimalist build while keeping the attachments leather. I like to have as little leather between myself and my horse as possible but I want leather, not nylon or some other synthetic material for my girth or leathers.

I will keep you posted on the process. With any luck, the things I like about the saddle will work out for Maggie. If not, Duett will win out again.

Stay tuned


Funder said...

Wow, she does have a really short flat back! Good luck on the Great Saddle Quest.

cheyenne jones said...

Man! Thats a flat wide back, mind you, mine isnt far away!

Anonymous said...

Hey! My GF has a Specialized for sale! It's in super excellent condition (I swear she's not ridden in it more than ten times) and way cheaper than brand-new, not to mention ready now and not in however many weeks. Not trying to be a pushy salesman lol but thought I would put it out there!

~ Amanda

Anonymous said...

How did the Duett saddle work out for Maggie? I have a hard-to-fit Icelandic who needs a different saddle.