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What Saddle do you have? Big shouldered TB

poiuytrewq

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3 April 2008
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9,601
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Cotswolds
Who’s not in proper work. Will bulk out hugely yet but has big shoulders and everything we have tried feels tight.- have one that’s ok with a riser but wondering what brands may suit?
nb- not buying off eBay or anything but it’s a useful starting point to know what’s worked for others and different saddlers stock different brands!
 

Pearlsasinger

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20 February 2009
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28,978
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W. Yorks
I am going to sound as if I'm on commission (I promise I am not) but Solution was the only saddle I found that didn't restrict my Westphalian's shoulders.
 

DabDab

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6 May 2013
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9,166
I have an ideal Tonishia (sp?) On my big shouldered horse that works well. I wanted a WOW but he didn't like the feel of it for some reason. Solution was next on my list but he went so nicely in the Ideal that I didn't get that far. There were a couple of other hellishly expensive conventional saddles that were good, but most middle of the road stuff just didn't work on him. The Ideal was the only one.
 

criso

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Joined
18 September 2008
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5,915
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London but horse is in Herts
On my old one who had highish withers and big shoulders, I had a black country event with wither gussets and a kieffer dressage saddle. There was also a Harry Dabbs/Jaguar one that worked for him when I was trying dressage saddles but I preferred the Kieffer.

Of course none of these fitted my current tb and he's in a Lavinia Mitchell Saddle but he is a different shape.
 

sbloom

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14 September 2011
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4,258
Location
Suffolk
Both sound expensive and have never been seen 2nd hand in either of the saddlery’s locally! 😩
You won't find the more alternative saddles in most tack shops second hand because the fitters don't have the experience fitting them, you need to contact the approved stockists/fitters, they will either come out and try some saddles, might even have second hand stock, but you can at least work out what the horse likes, and then you can look for second hand yourself if need be, or they can advise from photos and videos etc.

I would suggest thinking about it differently, is it a jump saddle? If not then big shoulders in themselves are seldom an issue, especially if the back is well muscled. If the shoulders are prominent and there is less muscle behind then it's likely the horse has dropped through it's front legs, it has compromised posture, and it would be ideal to address that first, looking at in hand work such as Manolo Mendez, straightnesstraining.com. If you NEED to ride then you will want a nice sheepskin or similar, the shoulders need more space to come back under the front of the flap with anything remotely forward cut. I'm a big fan of sheepskin and would fit most saddles with it if I could., it provides space for the soft tissue to expand.

Another route is to go down a seat size or two (and so many people are in saddles too big for them, especially when buying used when 17.5 is so commonly available) and move the saddle back a smidge. A slightly too large saddle, or one that sits on the shoulder for other reasons (the front edge of the tree points should always be 2" behind the back edge of the shoulder blade), can cause the shoulders problems.

I find that tree shape and the actual fitting is crucial here, the must be space for T10-13 as per the Centaur Biomechanics research, and that of Latif (look up Latif, 2018 and "srt"). The rails must be wide enough and flat enough to facilitate the shoulder, from under the middle of the saddle. If the horse is compressed or pinched there then shoulder freedom will suffer, and having the fit right at the front only goes so far and I'd say that includes most slightly gimmicky designs that are supposed to deal with big shoulders.

Food for thought.
 
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Chinchilla

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20 February 2017
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2,502
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Hugging my spotty pony
Would a wintec x wide GP work? I have one, but it was bought for a horse who is very wide but flat backed (so might not work if horse has typical TB withers). Think gullet is 9 or 9.5", honestly it hasn't seen the light of day in about 18 months lol so can't remember. You don't say what kind of saddle you are looking for though, dressage, jumping, GP??
 

ForbiddenHorse

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24 April 2013
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1,717
GFS Monarch.. It fits my big shouldered Welsh D, I know totally unrelated to a TB but my saddler did say previously they can fit a range of horses with big shoulders nicely. They do narrow or cob trees I believe.

Really nice saddles.
 
Joined
29 May 2020
Messages
15
Hiya

I don't know if Kay Humphries is still about, but i had a Humphries and Swain saddle on my TB. It was second hand but she made some adjustments to it. I always rode with a prolite under it but it was a good fit for him. He was 16.1 and had been a sprinter, so was quite fine, but he had the good old high wither, deep girth and decent shoulders. Might not be much help but worth trying if one comes along maybe?
 

AandK

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24 July 2007
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3,139
Location
West Sussex
My big shouldered TB is in an Albion K2 GP with a TB tree. The other one that fitted him well was a Black Country GP but I prefered the Albion so went with that. Think it may be fun getting a jump saddle for him at some point, but will cross that bridge when we come to it - if he ends up not being cut out to event I will do dressage!
 

poiuytrewq

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Joined
3 April 2008
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9,601
Location
Cotswolds
Thanks all.
He’s not actually my horse, it’s my daughters. He’s at a livery yard and I’ve had little to do with him, until yesterday. I have offered to help her out as she’s had problems with him and having lost mine I have a bit of time. She’s going to be on a limited budget and he is definitely going to beef out a lot. She had aimed to be able to get him going in a saddle we already had, save a bit and get a fitter/seller out when he was going better.
I have an Ideal Impala 17” wide, an Ideal Gazelle 17.5 medium and a wintec 2000
She bought a dressage of unknown brand which I long reined him in yesterday and felt restricted his shoulder. I’ve not tried the others but she and YO did and decided the Gazelle was a reasonably good fit. (That’s what I’ll use to LR today)
At this point In time it’s pretty irrelevant what type of saddle, just one that he’s comfortable with be that DR GP or jump, ultimately she prefers a mono flap jump but that might not be possible.
 

atropa

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Joined
26 September 2012
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934
I have an ISH who is practically nothing but shoulders, and I use a K&M S Series High Wither Compact GP on her, in combination with a Prolite girth, and the difference in her since we put her in it has been amazing.
 

pansymouse

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Joined
11 May 2012
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2,527
Location
Amesbury, Wiltshire
Hiya

I don't know if Kay Humphries is still about, but i had a Humphries and Swain saddle on my TB. It was second hand but she made some adjustments to it. I always rode with a prolite under it but it was a good fit for him. He was 16.1 and had been a sprinter, so was quite fine, but he had the good old high wither, deep girth and decent shoulders. Might not be much help but worth trying if one comes along maybe?
I believe she is although she will be isolating at the moment.

I have a Lauriche which is the same tree as the Humphries and Swain and was made by the a saddler working for Barrie Swain (Graham) which fits my big shouldered Section D x TB beautifully. It's at least 30 years and was completely refurbished and fitted to my mare when I bought it.
 

Tihama

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18 June 2013
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948
I was going to suggest trying a GFS too - a friend bought one second hand for her wide shouldered ID cross - the saddler tried many & this was the best fit on him
 

Scotsbadboy

Active Member
Joined
19 July 2017
Messages
41
Balance Equinox GP .... Balance are awesome saddles designed for the horse first. Once you have one they'll likely fit anything else you get (of a similar stamp) in the future. They will not help you if you ride wonky or ride unbalanced but they are amazing for the horse and once you start reading as to why, you will never look at 'normal' saddles and saddle fitting in the same light! It makes me cringe when i see all these horses pinched into saddles now with razor sharp withers and muscle atrophy! :(
 
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