RL Saddle Question

  • Okay first things first, my aunt has a saddle(She can't remember the seat size of it and I fit comfortably in a 17") she's going to give me, but she doesn't know the tree size of it and I won't be able to see it till late Saturday night, the horse I ride is a Medium Wide. I've been window shopping around online and I remember a horse I did lessons on at my first stable had a pad that went under the saddle that adjusted the saddle so it wasn't to high in the back. My riding instructor told me that the tree can be adjusted but I don't want to put money down to adjust the saddle tree(if that's even possible). Is there a pad that could be put under the saddle that would make it fit/feel like a medium wide saddle should my new saddle not fit him?

    I wouldn't use it straight away this saddle was sitting in the barn for years and it might not even be in the best condition so would be a month before I would put miles into it. And I do have permission to use my bosses's saddle but her leather is difficult to pull the irons down plus she leaves her stirrups long and I like mine short(so I can post and work on what my instructor taught me)

  • Competition Committee


    Saddle fitting is something that many people don't consider when buying a saddle/receiving one, and a properly fitting saddle can mean the difference of a happy horse that wants to work for you and a horse that is in constant pain. Ideally, you should have someone who has fit saddles in the past to look at it on your horse before you ride in it. Most vets can fit saddles, as well as many trainers, so if you're unsure, I would recommend asking someone to look at it if ever there is a vet at your stable (I.e if someone's getting shots, health certs, sheathes cleaned, etc.) Most vets would be willing to take a look provided they have the time.

    In response to your actual question, I will tell you how I have fitted saddles in the past. (ALSO: what I am about to tell you is for an english saddle, I personally don't know anything about western saddles). There are many ways to do this, and I will link some internet resources for you to peruse at your leisure. Firstly, you should put the saddle up on your horse without a pad on to check the fitting. You'll want to make sure you have at least two fingers' worth of room in between the withers and the bottom of the pommel. I've been told that a perfectly fitting saddle will sit comfortably on the horses' back, and that you'd be able to ride in it without a girth and it will stay on. (not sure how true that is, that's just what my boss, who is an equine vet, told me).

    It's easier to make do with a saddle that is too wide than a saddle that is too narrow. If you have less than two fingers of space in between the withers and pommel, your saddle is too wide and will slide around. This can be helped by using a half-pad under the saddle and a thick saddle pad. They make all kinds of half-pads (I personally use a sheepskin lined pad on top of my run-of-the-mill dover all purpose pad for my jump saddle, as my horse is a medium wide but my tree is a wide, and I have never had any problems), but I've heard good things about slightly cheaper gel pads or foam pads. Honestly, I would say you should have a second opinion regardless, though I would see if you either have a trainer or a friend who can take a look at it before spending money on having the saddle altered or by buying a pad.

    Check out these online guides for more information:

    Dover's opinion
    Horse.com's opinion
    Smartpak's opinion

    If you have any more questions, you can always call a vet or an equine chiropractor. Hope this helps!

  • Administrators

    To add: no amount of information on the internet will be better than having an experienced person or trained expert look at your horse and saddle in-person, and it's not worth risking your horses health & happiness by skipping this.

  • Thank you both. I don't know what breed Brandy(assuming this was the horse my aunt rode in shows) was and I have never seen this saddle at all when I visited Cache and CJ(when they lived on my grandpa's property). I'm going to have Shannon(the stable owner) and hopefully another boarder who takes care of one of the aged mares on property and gives shots to horses that need them look at the saddle on Sunday when I bring it over. I don't have any plans to use it anytime soon as it most likely has accumulation of dust that needs to be cleaned off. I'd have to buy the right size girth for this horse, leather and irons, as well as saddle pads and anything else I could potentially need.
    This is a saddle I can't see myself using till next year being honest cause I don't even know the shape of it(lightly used can mean two different things in my family)

  • Update: I got the saddle and the tree looks to be wide enough to fit him. But tomorrow is fitting day so we'll see how it goes. I'm going to look so weird black bridle, brown saddle XD

  • Day later....

    The saddle fits! She is letting me borrow leather, irons, girth, foam pad(to level it out) and a saddle pad. I even rode him today with the saddle but he was not happy. He's use to the endurance and multipurpose saddle that they have not a jumping one so I think when I get the leather to be more relaxed I'll ask my boss if her husband can also work with him with the saddle(since I'm only on him twice a week)

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