Lavinia Mitchell/Balance Saddles?

sjp1

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So new lad is an irish cob x shire x hackney. He does have a wither but I suspect because the saddle he was ridden in was ridiculously narrow before I got him. I have always been a lover of Swain and Humphries saddles but even having had the saddle fitted by wither template by a Kay Humphries fitter - the top and bottom of it is that the gullet is far too narrow and is pressing on his withers. I need a very wide gulletted saddle with wide panels and probably an xw or xxw width as he has piled on the pounds out during the day on grass with no saddle to ride him in. Saddle fitting is a nightmare and there don't seem to be very many good saddle fittters around here - lots of horses on the yard have been 'fitted' with saddles by various fitters, only months down the line they have major body issues.
 

Orangehorse

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I think Lavinia sells her own saddles now, not the Balance saddles. However, she did come out to me to check my Barry Swain and saddle that had originally been bought through a Kay Humphries fitter.

Lavinia said that the saddle was OK, but as the horse had aged his back had dipped a bit, so she supplied a pad that lifted it up a bit and he has been fine since and when he has physio his back is 100% no issues. I had to buy a new girth though and wondered why it was harder to get on - he had grown by over an inch!

I had a Balance saddle on another horse but it was never successful, I spent an awful lot of time jumping off to adjust it and it really wasn't that safe I decided in the end. I did manage to sell it OK.
 

sjp1

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Thank you Orangehorse. I would prefer to buy a second hand saddle that is a bit wider than necessary and pad it and then sell it on and get another slightly wider rather than a saddle that swamps the horse and has to have a huge amount of pads underneath it to last it a lifetime. Interesting though about your experience of Balance saddles - seems such a good idea, but jumping off every five minutes to re-adjust is not ideal at all!!
 

sbloom

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LM/Balance are aimed primarily at building healthy muscle on "normal shaped" horses, in fact they started out with TBs with high withers who classically lose muscle very easily and are often fitted too wide. The saddles will sit well on some wider horses, but not all.

I run this group on FB for used wider saddles, have a look https://www.facebook.com/groups/1641386762817197/
 

SEL

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LM/Balance are aimed primarily at building healthy muscle on "normal shaped" horses, in fact they started out with TBs with high withers who classically lose muscle very easily and are often fitted too wide. The saddles will sit well on some wider horses, but not all.

I run this group on FB for used wider saddles, have a look https://www.facebook.com/groups/1641386762817197/
I have a Balance saddle which I might as well sell - will pop it on site at weekend. It's very comfortable but the horse is retired so it's just taking up room.

OP - worth going on their website and checking out their philosophy though. They intentionally pad out saddles to ensure muscles can develop.
 

sjp1

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I have a Balance saddle which I might as well sell - will pop it on site at weekend. It's very comfortable but the horse is retired so it's just taking up room.
What size style etc is yours?
 

sjp1

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LM/Balance are aimed primarily at building healthy muscle on "normal shaped" horses, in fact they started out with TBs with high withers who classically lose muscle very easily and are often fitted too wide. The saddles will sit well on some wider horses, but not all.

I run this group on FB for used wider saddles, have a look https://www.facebook.com/groups/1641386762817197/
I thought TB's were generally fitted too narrow - hence the large dips very often seen on TB's behind their shoulders?
 

Pinkvboots

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I have a LM saddle on one of my Arabs that has a wither but is very wide on the shoulder and rib cage, he did have a bit of muscle damage from a too narrow wrong tree shape saddle that I naively thought fit him at the time, I can honestly say it was the best thing I did she fitted it with the shim numnah and 5 years on his back has changed beyond belief, although her saddle did not suit my other Arab who is very non wither and flat backed, so I would definitely have an open mind.

I would be happy to send you pictures of his back profile or the saddle just pm me.
 

sbloom

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I thought TB's were generally fitted too narrow - hence the large dips very often seen on TB's behind their shoulders?
Yep sorry, type, fitted too narrow to gain clearance instead of fitting a decent width of tree more akin to the healthy back shape, and using flocking or padding to balance the saddle.
 

sbloom

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And i wouldn't touch with a bargepole again... horses for courses. She is also extremely expensive to get out.
I will only address the second point, any specialist who comes a greater distance will cost more, either in call out or in fees, I totally understand it can be very expensive, but if you spend half your day travelling it's go to be covered. I know you know that, but sometimes people can be very rude about it, those that value us know it's worth it.
 

mariew

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I will only address the second point, any specialist who comes a greater distance will cost more, either in call out or in fees, I totally understand it can be very expensive, but if you spend half your day travelling it's go to be covered. I know you know that, but sometimes people can be very rude about it, those that value us know it's worth it.
I fully agree with you SBloom, i don't mind paying for time if i don't fancy/or there are no other alternatives locally, you pay your money, you take your choice as my old teacher used to say. In fact i think you are totally correct that often people expect a lot for very little money when in fact we should often be paying more across a lot of things, not just in the horse world.
 

texenstar

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I put both of mine in LM Saddles using an LM saddler. They came out and and assessed which size would be best. I managed to buy two second hand LM Saddles then got the saddler out again to re flock and adjust the pads. Best decision ever and I would not want to use a different saddler or saddle make again :)
 

Identityincrisis

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I use a Saddle Company saddle with Balance pads. I really liked the Balance concept and having had my Anglo fitted in a Wow and him having muscle atrophy in his shoulders, I wouldn't use anything else now.
 

Leo Walker

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And i wouldn't touch with a bargepole again... horses for courses. She is also extremely expensive to get out.
She caused me a large amount of trouble by misidentifying one of her saddles. She also refitted one of her own saddles to my friends horse that absolutely did not fit. She now denies that the saddle was supplied by her, when it absolutely categorically was. She used to be a very good fitter, but I would no longer recommend her or use her.
 
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