Can re-flocking help?

Vindaloo

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I finally got back to the UK and collected my new Kent and Masters high wither dressage saddle and armed with three different bars flew back to India and popped it on Casper.

Finally settled on the medium bar, gave approx three fingers clearance in height and sat beautifully when viewed from the front. Seemed a little close to the spine towards the back though. That said, at no point did it touch and he went just WOW in it. Clearly he appreciated this not wither pinching saddle which didn't need breast plate to keep in position.

Lunged him in it, no movement, no jumping up and down on his back, to my mind though, it just looked as though it could do with coming up towards the cantle a bit to be perfect. After riding, examined the cloth and the sweat marks were uniform and not touching anywhere they shouldn't.

However, two weeks in and the flocking has settled to an alarming degree and definitely did touch his spine. I have been fanatical about keeping an eye on it and so am now not riding until it is sorted.

So, the question is. Can this be remedied by adding flocking? At the front all is good and looking along the gullet there is good width either side of the spine, it is simply not sitting high enough off of his back. He has had a poorly fitting saddle previously and needs to build up his back muscles considerably (work in progress) so his spine is a little higher than ideal. Once those muscles are built up, the saddle will sit higher in any case but for now I need to know if re-flocking is the answer.

As i'm not in the UK it is impossible to get a saddle fitter out but there is a chap on site who can at least re flock to what degree, well who knows i'm a bit at his mercy really.

I'm not getting back on him until this is fixed and would really appreciate any advice.

Thanks.
 

ThePony

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Yes, flocking can make a massive difference. A new saddle will usually not be fully flocked and so it will settle with use. It will have synthetic wool flocking (will look like grey wool) but can be added to with real wool. Should help. If you find they when flocked the saddle isn't as smooth as it should be (if the guy isn't brilliant at it!), then you can beat the flocking to help. A saddler would use a metal smasher with leather wrapped on the end to prevent marks - I'm sure you could fashion your own!
 

sbloom

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It is unusual for flocking to compact faster at the back than the front. Could you take some pics of the saddle, girthed firmly, with no pad, from the side to show the front to back balance, and from the front so I can double check the width for you? The shot from the front obviously will be slightly from the side, should show some of his shoulder (make sure you're putting it far enough back as well!) and needs to try and show the pocket where the tree points sit, and the angle they form with the ribcage. If that makes sense :D

Then I'll be able to answer more fully. It's sometimes hard to bring the back up enough without making the panel a bit too curvy for the horse, it depends how much flocking you need in it, and I can advise your flocker how much to put in and where, if that helps.
 

Vindaloo

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Right, i'll go tomorrow armed with camera and get them on here asap. Your instructions do make sense, just hope my skills as a photographer are up to scratch.

Thepony, I have to say that the flocking does seem to be on the lean side and VERY soft so I would agree with what you are saying about it only being not fully flocked.

Apparently we have wool at the yard for flocking and i'm all up for fashioning my own tools if need be.

Right from the start I had question re the flocking and have changed from a medium wide down to the medium (after a week of riding in it) so it would ssem that the reduction is uniform. I just haven't been able to adjust at the back, only at the front.
 

ThePony

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Some horses do better with deep gussets at the back (my mare needs them in our dressage saddle), one without could be 'encoraged' to fit with flocking, but with softer flocking then it could flatten alot at the back first!

I would be wary of an even slightly too narrow gullet. If in doubt, the next size up with a half wool pad would keep the saddle in the correct place, while allowing your horse to develop behind the withers. I have found thorrowgood/K&M/Fairfax tend to run a little small on the sizes - my mare is a wide in her Fairfax, but down to a MW for her dressage saddle which is an albion. Also, don't be fooled into thinking that because he is a tb that he will be on the narrow side, some are as wide as buses even though they might not appear it!
 

sbloom

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Right, we definitely need to get your eye in re width of the tree rather than just clearance - you're best off getting the right width and then using padding if you have to, rather than going to the wrong width tree. I'd recommend, if you have the budget for it, ordering a Mattes correction numnah, as you have no saddle fitter and questionable flocking potential, this will be much safer than altering the flock, though I know the odd person is a natural at getting flocking flat and smooth first time.

You can order any pad from Mattes (and all the measurements are on the website) and then add the correction system - not cheap but OH so useful.
 

Vindaloo

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Ok, am getting onto the mattes site now. I am happy that there is a nice width of gullet, he has a good clearance either side of spine (but will see what you think when I get the pics loaded). I know for sure that over here they all seem to use terribly narrow saddles. All seem to be copies of our old English saddles from pre independence day!

I think I might have width right but clearance not so good and can see that with padding it could be rectified. I wasn't sure if that would be the route to go or getting it flocked.

Yep, Thepony I did keep that in mind when ordering the saddle. I don't believe for a second he needs a narrow. I'm sticking to my guns out here on that front.

In fairness YO agrees that the width is right for him
Thanks so much both of you. Will be back on here with pics as soon as I possibly can.
 

shellonabeach

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I have thorowgood saddles on my horses (they also make the Kent and Masters) and my saddle fitter said they come with insufficient flocking so that they can be flocked to fit by the saddler.

Hopefully this means that your saddle can be sorted with a bit of extra flocking
 

cremedemonthe

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Was Caterham on the Hill, Surrey now Wales
All new saddles (traditional flocked saddles that is), whether cheap and cheerful or embarrassingly expensive, will come under flocked. When we make saddles and are lacing the panels in, if the panel is flocked too much at this stage it is almost impossible to lace the panel in and you can damage the leather covering the tree if you put too much tension on it trying. Having a under flocked saddle at the time of sale also means the Saddler fitting it can flock it to the horse's profile, ensuring a perfect fit. Alot of horses muscle up slightly differently on one side, so we can adjust it to fit.I usually flock up a new saddle and go back after a couple of weeks, depending on the amount of use of course, for a final check. The flock tends to expel alot of the air out of the fibres in those 2 weeks enabling you to get another load in to "top it up" if too much flock is added in one go it can compact too much go lumpy if you're not careful.
Oz :)
 
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