Placing of a saddle

Discussion in 'Tack & Equipment' started by teamfire, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. teamfire

    teamfire Full Member

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    Hi all,

    To make a long story short, I have a very round and wide horse with a forward girth groove. With big shoulders.

    I've come across a lot of diagreement with how his saddle should be placed. Generally I read and people say it should be behind the shoulder as possible. However his saddle/conformation want to place the saddle further up compared to other horse/saddle combos.

    I just had a very qualified fitter come out (certified master saddler, very experienced as well and highly recommended among those of my discipline) and she says this saddle wants to be higher up his back and it is designed to be OK. She says his shoulder is very large anyways and you'll never be 'clear'.

    The funny thing is that this is now the 3rd fitter (although the most qualified) to say the same thing. So at what point do I say 'OK you are outside the norm' or do I keep looking for someone who gives me the answer I want to hear???

    Just wanting to hear thoughts. It is tough because my very respected dressage coach really dislikes seeing saddles high up. But I've now had multiple fitters all say the same???
     
  2. all4him

    all4him Senior Member

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    So they are saying that it is OK for the saddle to be on the shoulder? How can that be right? The shoulder needs to be free enough to move or else you will have a decrease in range of movement.
     
  3. teamfire

    teamfire Full Member

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    Not on the shoulder per se. Just not as dramatically back as some people have them. His shoulders are not even so saddle clears his left shoulder by a lot but barely his right.
     
  4. teamfire

    teamfire Full Member

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    He seems to have the same extension of movement whether I am on bareback or saddled up.

    But he is a good boy and has a history of doing his best despite difficulties.
     
  5. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    A photo of the horse's back with and without the saddle would be helpful.

    The girth groove being too far forward doesn't dictate where the saddle sits, that is immaterial. It should sit two fingers behind the scapula so the shoulder can move.

    It could be your tree is too curvy or not curvy enough. There is no instance where the saddle should sit on or forward of the scapula.

    If the girth doesn't stay behind the elbow and wants to ride forward, use your last two billets, or get a converter to give you more choices for girth placement.

    If you rode Western I would tell you to use centerfire rigging. That is where your front and back billet both connect to the girth which keeps it right where it needs to be so it can't slide forward under the elbow.
     
  6. teamfire

    teamfire Full Member

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    It is a dressage saddle with a point and a v billet so that's pretty well strapped.

    His back is like a table top FLAT so it's more like trying to balance on a barrel with one one spot that sucks in, which is immediately behind the shoulder, so that's where the saddle gravitates to.

    I'll try to remember to take pictures. At this point I'll trust the professionals but it's more of a ??? thing.

    It is.definitely 2 fingers back from the scapula for sure when static but I still get people saying it should behind it at all times when dynamic, which means foe him it should be more like 4-6 inches further back as he has big moving shoulders.
     
  7. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    1) there are fitting philosophies that fit saddles on top of the scapula.

    2) it's not about clearance from the scapula at the front of the saddle. It's all about tree point clearance. Some saddles have the tree points right at the front of the saddle & others are set back - some further than others.

    3) girth groove will have some effect on where the saddle migrates to, but so will length of the horses back, billet alignment, type of girth used, wither pockets, rider abilities and overall shape/fit of the saddle.

    4) it's not about having 5cms clearance at all times when the horse is moving. That would mean everyone would be sitting on the horses loins or riding in 15" (or smaller) saddles. The 5cm clearance (front of scapula to front of tree points) rule is so that there is enough room for the horse to school and move the shoulder dynamically.

    So unfortunately, there's not enough info to really give you a definitive answer.
     
  8. phantomhorse13

    phantomhorse13 Full Member

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    What does your horse tell you about the saddle placement? Do you notice a difference in his movement with the saddle back vs forward? Are you having any issues with back soreness or girth swelling/rubs?

    My wide-backed, big-bodied arab has a forward girth groove and I found a curved girth made a huge difference.
     
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  9. teamfire

    teamfire Full Member

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    If looking solely at where the tree points are, they are definitely with good clearance from his static scapula,,and I think even dynamically. It is also a hoop tree so points slopes away.

    I guess maybe an illusion for me (and others who insist it's too far forward? ) and the fitters who are there in person can see past it.

    Like I said, he is a good citizen and rides the same whether bareback, forward or further back. I feel more balanced, however, placing the saddle where the fitter says.

    I guess for me I'm focusing too much maybe where the saddle looks as opposed to the tree points themselves??
     
  10. teamfire

    teamfire Full Member

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    No soreness. Although he did develop girth galls last couple months which is when I noticed the change on sweat patterns as well. Hence the call out for the fitter.
     

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