Thursday, March 29, 2012

Saddle deliberations. Here goes...

Maybe just one more...
Okay guys, a BC Vinici saddle update. I have tested a MW and W, and neither is 100% perfect, both are close-ish. Before you say, hey, keep looking, understand that I have looked at maybe 12 saddles, and these are by far the best fitting.  I love this style for me, and Ri is reacting well despite some needed tweaks.

I'd like to ask you guys what would you do? Remember that Riley is six years old and his back is likely to change, and that there is two centimeters difference between the MW and the W.

-- Since my last set of pix of this saddle, the fitter has flocked up the front. It did make a difference.
-- Girthed up, no pad, without me in the saddle, I can see daylight all the way through the spine/gullet area and it all looks good. There is at least 3-4 fingers clearance -- more really.
-- I think the points align really nicely with his back.
-- When I sit on him in the saddle with no pad, it's close to the wither. I can fit a finger under the pommel, and it's  not  resting on his wither, but it's close -- of course I never ride without a pad.
-- The big fluffy mattes pad seems to lift it nicely.
-- Ri definitely reacts better to being saddled in the W tree. He objects more to the MW.
-- He goes better in the wide, but the wide, with a mattes pad, is just a hair  wiggly from side to side. 

-- It absolutely won't work as is, but a tweak could make it perfect. Or...
-- I could pay to have it widened and have it still be too narrow. That would make me really sad.
-- I could pay to have it widened and Ri might grow to need yet another tweak. Then no more adjustments on that tree, right?

What do you think?


  1. My $.02 from my experience is that when a horse begins working in a saddle that has more room than they previously had (i.e., the wide tree) there won't be restriction on the muscles anymore and they may grow/expand much more quickly than you'd expect (within a few weeks, in my experience). Combine that with the fact that he's a 6yo WB and therefore still growing, and I'd go with the Wide Tree.

  2. Oh, my. Well, you know at least in part where I stand...but I think I'd rather go wider than worry about a too narrow tree.

    In the first place, I think Riley is telling you something when you girth him up, so that's worth listening to.

    In the second place, I theorize that a too narrow tree will actually inhibit muscle development by not allowing "room" for the wither back muscles to develop, especially in the wither area.

    Could be a little additional creative saddle pads might help the saddle be more stable?

  3. You know the answer, grasshopper. Riley likes it better W. Move on.

    You will get this thing adjusted every 6 months. Just make sure you have some good half pads, shims, and a kick ass fitter.

    good luck!

  4. Well I can't offer you advice it's just good to know there is someone else out there having problems with achieving the perfect fit. My four year old frustrates me with saddle fitting.

    Being a college student I can't spend a thousand or more on a saddle he will outgrow. I settled for a Wintec Pro Dressage with the interchangeable gullet. The fit seems almost perfect but because he is downhill the saddle slides a bit more forward then I like. -.- I had my experienced barn manager check the fit and approve it but it bugs me that it isn't just right.

  5. Go with the wide and pad to fit. The Tad Coffin saddles are like that - all W tree with a pad system to fit a narrower back.

    Riley might develop more muscle as he goes and if you stuck with the MW you would be more likely to revisit the issue in the future.

    At the end of the day, for me anyway, "pretty good" is acceptable and better than a lot of horses receive. And my actual riding skill is half the battle -- what good is a perfectly fitting saddle if I'm riding like a sack of potatoes? :)

  6. I think you have to go with the W, especially if Riley objects to the MW at all. As he fills out, you will probably need less padding and the saddle may feel more stable (in theory). I bought a MW Albion for my horse (which is pretty wide) and clearance over the withers improved as he gained more muscle. The saddle actually fits him better now then it did when I first bought it for him. Hopefully, Riley's will work out the same way. If you start with tight, there is no where else to go.

  7. I would go with the wide. That's why they make Pads! :)

  8. I would go wide and utilize the mattes.

  9. No doubt, the wide. He's gonna get bigger.

  10. I'd go wide and get something like a Skito pad to go under it.

  11. To piggyback on everyone else, get the wide. And to piggyback on Lauren, I'll say that if the W is a little wiggly side-to-side, you'll just need to focus on a strong core and riding very well so that the saddle DOESN'T wiggle -- because YOU aren't wiggling!

  12. Definitely the wide. You can play with some pads to see if it will help the shifting. Maybe a neoprene girth, too? You can tell from the pics that he still has a baby back. I bet he will grow into that one sooner than you think.

  13. Go wide. I'd like to see a photo of the saddle slid back a bit further (ignore where the girths straps fall). I reckon it would be better balanced then.

    You could try taking the front girth strap out of the keeper, angle it forward about an inch, and see how that goes? This is how my saddle is fitted to my horse with a similar big shoulder with the same lumps of fat and a forward girth groove.

    You may not get the perfect fit, but if the horse and rider are both happy, isn't that what you're trying to achieve?

  14. I would go wide and pad it up as needed. I feel your pain, I'm (hopefully) finishing a year long saddle search with a new Thornhill (wide tree as well!)that's on order :)

  15. Being someone who has has 4 saddles in 4.5 years I would suggest going with the saddle that gives you the most room for Ri to grow. My current saddle is a wide and I use a Thinline Correction pad that is quilted only with no sheepskin. I can feel the horse more without the sheepskin. I can add front, back or mid shims and the shims also come in a variety of thickness options. I change shims as needed without having my saddle fitter out every few weeks as muscle grows. It is great to be able to make minor adjustments on the spot that make Padre' happy.

  16. I applaud your decision to choose less than 100%. There is not perfection in saddle fitting as all horses change shape, even at maturity. The closest you get is the closest you get. Otherwise, you would more likely than not go insane and spend all your money looking for something that does not exist. Riley reacting well to it is what is most important. Hurrah for you!!!! :) - Friesianwelshx

  17. I think the wide is your friend. If he was full grown and not likely to change much more the MW might be the better bet but since he's still growing & developing I think the W is the better bet.


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