Sunday, December 05, 2010

Searching for a new (to us) saddle for Bar

Like most Thoroughbreds, Bar has a steep wither angle--skiers would love this slope on a mountain run. That makes it challenging to find a properly fitted saddle, especially when hunting for Western/trail saddles, which seem to be built for rounder Quarter-horse types. Lena actually has her own set of impressive withers, so I was sort of able to pad up and make do with the saddles we had, at least for awhile.

But it's time. Mostly because with the addition of Forrest, the tack sharing has become a little more challenging. If the three of us actually wanted to ride together, it would be a bit of a scramble right now, and while the cutting saddle is great for high-withered horses, I sure don't want to lift it--all 35+ pounds of it--all the time. Especially since I'm 5'3" lifting it onto a 16.2 or .3 hand horse.

The other challenge is that Bar is not perfectly symmetrical--his right shoulder, probably from taking care of the bowed tendon, is much more developed than his left. I suppose it's good I don't also have to fit a saddle to myself in the same way or we'd really be in trouble.

If I had the money, I'd simply go for a new saddle from somewhere that would take my wither and back tracings and suggest the right thing for my boy. However, used tack is my option, so the search may take a little while.

I've thought once or twice about a custom-built saddle, but then you're stuck with a saddle that only fits one horse. Not to mention the cost of said custom-built saddle.

Besides, there's almost nothing I like better than shopping for tack. Except shopping for tack with an unlimited budget, of course.


Anonymous said...

Good luck with that! You might want to consider a Mattes pad, with the pockets into which you insert shims - you could fill in the area where he's less developed until it fills in.

Dave (aka Buckskins Rule) said...

I don't have any advice with regards to saddles for high withered horses. I did have a pad similar to what Kate describes at one time, so that may be an option.

The only thing I'll offer is personal experience. I went through two cheap (as in quality) used saddles before finally hauling Smokey to the tack store to get a saddle that fit him. Ended up with a barely used Crates roper/reiner that fits the boy like it was made for him. Plenty of folks ride TB's western, so the right saddle is out there.

I guess that was long winded way of trying to recommend patience, even though I know you are as short in that commodity as I am. I ended up spending as much on crappy saddles as I would have if I'd bought a decent one on the first go round.