Miracle fit anything saddle?

Vindaloo

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Oh if only there were such a thing.......I posted a while back asking how on earth I was going to sort Casper out with a well fitting saddle over here. Thanks to those of you who replied with advice. I have been watching saddle fitting vids on youtube over and over, taking notes etc and am going to go up tonight, measure him and take lots of pics.

I will initally purchase a dressage saddle and wondered if any of you could recommend something? I am going to go for second hand but will buy new if nothing turns up.

The dilemma I have is that I will have one shot at this, I will buy in the UK, bring it over here and PRAY I have done my homework correctly and that it fits. There are NO qualified fitters out here so re-flocking etc is nigh on impossible.

Should I buy the saddle and then arm myself with all manner of pads/risers etc etc.

No point at all in looking at the one he is ridden in currently since I am damn sure it's a terrible fit (which is giving me sleepless nights). He has to have a breastplate to keep it from slipping back and a huge pad at the back. Horrible, horrible, horrible. Thankfully he shows no obvious signs of discomfort. Is good to tack up and works well BUT his work is moving on a bit now and there are little things which are making me more and more desperate to get that damn saddle off his back. It's blooming uncomfortable for me too (but that is a MASSIVE second consideration, his welfare comes way before the holes I currently have in my butt...no I am not joking).

I am so stuck since he is only exercised under saddle or lunged. Not riding simply isn't an option unless I have the poor fella standing in 24/7 which is not going to happen. Walking out in hand/hacking can't be done either since it's not safe.


They have no turn out and there isn't a damn thing I can do about it. Oh how I long to get him home and into a field.

I'm home next week so will be looking around but if anyone has any advice on types of saddle i'd be grateful.

Many thanks. DM.xxx
 

unbalanced

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What about getting a saddle that is going to be a little on the wide side and then using an air pad to fit. I use a Theraflex pad which had good reviews when they pressure tested them in Germany or alternatively there is Korrector.

Theraflex is based on the camping mattress so it self inflates to disperse any pressure then you add shims to the pad wherever you need them to make the saddle fit and balance better.

Korrector you inflate yourself according to instructions you get with it to allow for the (mis) fit of your saddle and horse. It has different airbags in the front and back and left and right so you can customise the fit reasonably well as long as the saddle is a bit too wide to start with.

Or what about getting one of those saddles with the easy change gullet systems which I think are Bates or Wintec depending on whether you want leather or synthetic. Good luck!
 

Tinypony

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Flipping heck! In your position I'd go treeless. Probably a Heather Moffat Fhoenix Vogue including a high wither numnah, backsaver and wither pads. In other words, get everything you need to accomodate fitting your horse and any shape changes he has. They come with two different shaped gullet templates included, that you can swap by undoing the velcro pouch in the saddle. I would email them because they will amost certainly have a saddle you can pick up while you're here, maybe an ex-demo. http://www.fhoenix-saddles.com/
The compromise with these saddles is that it's difficult to mount from the ground when using them, but it's better for your horse's back not to do that anyway. Some people find them a bit unstable, I personally don't. However if you had that problem I'd rather be contacting them for advice on that than worrying about having brought a treed saddle that didn't fit and not being able to do anything about it. I use the same saddle on three very different horses, appropriately padded, and absolutely love the saddle.
 

unicornleather

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Arm yourself with a good set of templates of the horse's profile, this will help you narrow it down to a reasonable fit.
Oz :)
 

missyme10

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There are several saddles that are fully adjustable, thorowgood have a model called the T6, check them out.
Wintec also have their version, and i know other do ones with changeable gullets but dont know the brand, bit of on line research will help x
 

Piglet

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Heather Moffett Enlightened Equitation saddle which is tree free but looks like a conventional saddle, they have a dressage style or GP, very comfy for horse and rider
 

MissTyc

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What a situation!

I think I would be tempted to go for a lighter synthetic range, specifically thorowgood -- you can then pad out as needed, but at least have some options in terms of adjustability.

Is there any chance you could find a master saddler in the UK who would be willing to give you some lessons? A friend of mine had the same problem as you when she moved to somewhere in the middle of nowhere in the USA. She is now the person who fits everyone's saddles for about 300 miles east and west. She realised she might as well pick up the skill for herself since she'd be needing it ... and then found a market as well ;).
 

smellsofhorse

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Have you thought of a treeless?
Might be a better way to fit yourself.
The length will still be important but no width to worry about.

Not so good for jumpin though.
 

flyingfeet

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I'd buy an adjustable gullet saddle - Bates, Wintec, Pessoa Xchange etc

Then I would also invest in a pad which has multiple shims (6 at least) and then you can cover all the bases (hopefully you won't need it)
 

Tinypony

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Heather Moffett Enlightened Equitation saddle which is tree free but looks like a conventional saddle, they have a dressage style or GP, very comfy for horse and rider
Yes, that's the Fhoenix range. Op wants a dressage saddle, so I'd suggest the Vogue dressage, I hack in mine, but I'm not very interestd in jumping. If you're into jumping then probably the GPT to get the more forward cut for your knees. Or the GP for the usual all-round saddle.

These saddles aren't technically treeless, they have a "soft tree", but that means they are pretty much treeless in the conventional sense.

Personally I'd rather go treeless and fit it properly, which isn't too difficult with the Fhoenix saddles, than to treed and try to pad to compensate. It's going to be down to personal preference and possibly experience though.
 

Kao

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In your situation, I really would go treeless.
I may be a little bias since whenever I ride, I ride treeless but with the time and money you'd spend on a tree'd saddle + riser pads, air pads etc; you would be a lot better off to buy a treeless.
At least you'd then have no worries of it ill-fitting.

Good luck with whatever you choose. :D
 

tristar

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after selling tack for 45 years, i would suggest thorowgood.

their trees are very symetrical no probs with twisting, not always the case with even 'top' brands i would'nt touch with a barge pole

they supply a fitting chart and template bendy thing which i find very accurate.

the stuffing used is very resilient yet spongy and very rarely needs changing.

they offer a good customer service, second to none

the highest score i got in a test was when i used a thorowgood, previously having allsorts made to measure etc and feel that horses school and go well in them, they are comfortable for horse and rider.

remember to fit it very slightly high as it will come down as it settles, and after about 20 sessions it will feel very different to when new for the rider
 

Vindaloo

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Ok, i've never considered treeless before but the heather Moffat ones look interesting. I have absolutely no experience of them what so ever so will do a bit more research. You've all given me so much to think about which is great but i'm breaking out into a sweat worrying about making the wrong decision.

Getting in touch with a master saddler is good advice and for sure, if I learn how to fit correctly would imagine will be called upon to help out quite a few people since, as I said, there just isn't anyone out here.

Thanks so much everyone. Fingers crossed i'll have a happy horse and a comfy bum in the not too distant.
 

Tinypony

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Let us know how you get on, hope it goes well. I've ridden treeless for years and just love it, but you need to make the choice that will suit you. (First Phoenix agent in India??)
 

Vindaloo

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Ha, first saddle fitter, first agent... I could be busy. Am not convinced on the treeless but have just had a look at Thorowgood as Tristar suggested and I think that may well be the way forward. All those options for changing the width etc can only be a good thing.

I'm starting to feel a bit more positive now.

The luxury of having master saddlers at your doorstep back at home is not to be sniffed at. That and Supermarkets... sorry, totally off topic.
 

9tails

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I personally think you would be better off with a GP thorowgood. Only because if you get a dressage saddle and then want to jump, you will find it rather limited in a dressage saddle.
 

w1bbler

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if you've got the budget WOW saddles have interchangeable gullets - so you could go out armed with a few & also the "flair" air bag system for fine tuning the fit. You can also change the flaps so it can be your stressage and jumping saddle.
For all the hassle, you live in a great place - spent 4 months there years ago & loved it - miss the curry for breakfast lunch & dinner
 

bumblelion

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I can't recommend saddle company saddles enough. They're fully adjustable also, although I get a fitter out to ensure it's the right fit for my horse. They have serge underneath which is extra comfy for the horse. Do many types, leather or synthetic in their models. I'v got the genoa (leather) event for my tb and he goes really well in it, gives a lot of freedom to shoulders. Looking to get a secondhand one for my id, got quite a few on ebay at good prices! As far as I know you can take a template of your horse and then send to the factory and they'll adjust it there for you, I think even the sc fitters do this service too, instead of coming out.
 

Amaranta

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I had terrible trouble finding a saddle for my 'princess on a pea' mare, I considered a treeless dressage saddle, but really did not like it. My friend had a wintec pro saddle that she lent me and it was the only one the horse did not go bridle lame in, so, using that logic, I bought the leather version of the Isabel Werth - Bingo! It has interchangeable gullets, but more importantly the right shaped tree for my mare - it is worth a shot with your boy :)
 

kerilli

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crikey, what a difficult situation.
i'd go for Thorowgood if money is an issue, that's a great recommendation up there from tristar, and i've heard only good things about Thorowgoods.
Otherwise i'd seriously look at Barrie Swain's Semiflex saddles. They have flexible points, are made to measure to your template, and are very comfortable for horse and rider.
i have one of the older styles of his (forerunner to the semiflex but pretty similar) and it is a very good generic 'medium' fit, it goes on just about anything medium-ish, has lovely wide flat panels, sits beautifully and horses go very happily and freely in it.
in your position i would definitely get a plastazote panel not wool, because the plastazote won't ever need adjusting, whereas wool moves and goes firm with age and use.
v best of luck!
 

Vindaloo

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I've just been on the phone to a saddlery in Kent and bombarded the poor woman with questions. She was incredibly helpful and seconded a lot of what many of you have said on here re suggestions for saddles.

She's asked me to get as many pics to her as possible and make a template with a coat hanger since I don't have access to one of those bendy, curve things. I'm going to go to the shop when I get home next week and have a god look at everything.

I don't have bundles of cash to spend but think I could manage around the £500 mark. The Thorowgood is looking the most likely but then again, if there is a leather interchageable option as you've suggested Kerilli then that would be my preference.

I'm actually quite excited now since clearly there are lots of options available to me.

Good god! It just went very black here and then there was a MASSIVE thunder clap (I have never heard the like anywhere else in the world). Looks like Monsoon may have arrived Hoorah, no more 45+ degrees for a month or so. Downside is, the damn electricity will be on its way out...
 
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Tinypony

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Sounds promising! The Fhoenix would be above budget for you, unless you could find an EBay bargain (as I did!).
 

Vindaloo

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I'd love to give treeless a go Tinypony but I think that as i'm so far away it might have to wait until i'm back in the UK. I don't get home very often so changing in the the event of not getting on with it would be near impossible.

I don't think ebay is going to be possible since it's highly unlikely anything sent to me will arrive. The post out here is so bad it's almost funny. All the locals send theirs by Tuk Tuk if it's within the city.

The only package sent to us here which actually arrived was full of dog poop bags. Since no one EVER picks theirs up they clearly didn't see the need to steal them.
 

unicornleather

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I've just been on the phone to a saddlery in Kent and bombarded the poor woman with questions. She was incredibly helpful and seconded a lot of what many of you have said on here re suggestions for saddles.

She's asked me to get as many pics to her as possible and make a template with a coat hanger since I don't have access to one of those bendy, curve things. I'm going to go to the shop when I get home next week and have a god look at everything.

I don't have bundles of cash to spend but think I could manage around the £500 mark. The Thorowgood is looking the most likely but then again, if there is a leather interchageable option as you've suggested Kerilli then that would be my preference.

I'm actually quite excited now since clearly there are lots of options available to me.

Good god! It just went very black here and then there was a MASSIVE thunder clap (I have never heard the like anywhere else in the world). Looks like Monsoon may have arrived Hoorah, no more 45+ degrees for a month or so. Downside is, the damn electricity will be on its way out...

DON'T be tempted to use a coat hanger to make a template, worse thng as they are too springy, have a memory and will give you a false reading, get hold of a piece of lead flashing (about 4-5 inches wide by 1 yard (roughly 1 metre in new money)) bend it in half length ways and hammer flat to get the right consistency and use that, much better than a coat hanger!
The flexi curve is the other option but over the last 23-24 years of saddle fitting I have never had a problem with the lead flashing option.Make sure you mark your template of the wither (cross section) nearside and offside, take another template lengthways along the hors's spine to get the height of the withers.
Measure along the back from roughly where the front of the saddle will be (try to imagine where the saddle nail in the skirt would be and measure from that if you can) to the end of the ribs, this will give you your maximum length of seat available to you.
Hope this helps!
Oz :)
 

Kenzo

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You need something that you can adjust so you have more options to play around with, like a TG saddle, Kent & Masters is just the same but in leather, same options (you can change gullet but you can make very slight adjustments with the Fish system) but the K&M also have shims so you can fine tune underneath the saddle as well without having to rely on adjustable pads, both can be re-flocked easily due the flocking slits but there are plenty of other saddles out there that have cottoned on to this so you have a choice of some better makes too, although TG saddles are certainly worth the money.

You could also go treeless but bare in mind not all treeless saddles fit all sorts of shapes, really it’s down to how well you fit one and the make you buy, the more money you spend the better quality and fit you’ll get, you also need to be prepared to spend money on various pads and keep a close eye on the fit and the good treeless pads don’t come cheap either, ideally a Solutions or HM would be my first choice fitted by one of their reps or someone who can help you fit one should you buy second hand, Barefoot also do a the London and the Lexington in leather and are suitable for dressage and flat work.
 

Dizzle

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Get a flexicurve and measure him, width by the withers, by the last ish rib and alone the spine (okay, speak to a saddle fitter and get them to tell you exactly where) once you have these templates, email them to saddle makers or saddle fitters and see what they suggest.
 

Vindaloo

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DON'T be tempted to use a coat hanger to make a template, worse thng as they are too springy, have a memory and will give you a false reading, get hold of a piece of lead flashing (about 4-5 inches wide by 1 yard (roughly 1 metre in new money)) bend it in half length ways and hammer flat to get the right consistency and use that, much better than a coat hanger!
The flexi curve is the other option but over the last 23-24 years of saddle fitting I have never had a problem with the lead flashing option.Make sure you mark your template of the wither (cross section) nearside and offside, take another template lengthways along the hors's spine to get the height of the withers.
Measure along the back from roughly where the front of the saddle will be (try to imagine where the saddle nail in the skirt would be and measure from that if you can) to the end of the ribs, this will give you your maximum length of seat available to you.
Hope this helps!
Oz :)
Thanks Oz, I had doubts about the coat hanger being effective. I would try your lead flashing if only I knew the Hindi for it, mind you , I don't know the Hindi for the flexi curve either. I can easily buy the flexi curve when I get home but that means that I will have to wait until September when I come back to the UK again to actually purchase the saddle.

I will see if I can get hold of something better than the coat hanger.

You don't fancy a trip out here by any chance do you?
 

unicornleather

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Bit too hot for me I'm afraid and that's one hell of a call out!
If you need any advice or help, via the net or when you are over here, just ask, I'm here to help point you in the right direction if I can,Oz :)
 

Dizzle

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You can get flexicurves from art shops if that's any help? I think they're used in graphic drawing... any help?
 
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