Re: saddle fit -- the distance rider's bane

David Bennett (
Sun, 2 Nov 1997 09:09:21 EST

You wrote:
>>I have a terrific half Arab gelding that is the energizer bunny of
horses and has a great personality. Unfortunatly, his back seems to be
hard to fit with the right saddle.

Any suggestions for a limited budget (uner $1,000). This horse is 15.1HH,
very short back, very leggy,and a barrel shaped belly so the girth always
slides forward sending the saddle forward.

I've tried western saddles, english saddles, a Marciante, two wintecs, a
Stonewall. The white hair below his withers on each side is getting more
pronounced on his blood bay coat.

Every saddle I try leaves a dry pressure mark just below the withers.

Any ideas will be appreciated.

Hi Chris -
Sounds like you are in the market for a saddle fitted to your horse...

I tried some of those saddles with my older distance horse and none
worked very well. The worst was the Wintec because of the pinching of
the withers. He would short-stride very badly whenever he was carrying
that saddle. I finally had Marilyn Horstmyer of DeSoto Custom Saddlery
in Etowah, Tennessee, make a saddle for me. Cost was around $800 about 5
years ago and is still less than $1000, I think. It works great and I am
still using it with that horse. I have a new horse that I got this
summer and that saddle does not fit him at all. I was fortunate to find
someone with a DeSoto with a wider tree that does fit. So, now I have
two of them. The size of her trees are not identified so it is sorta
hit or miss finding a used one that will fit your horse. Also, delivery
takes several weeks to several months depending on her workload.

Another possibility is Sharon Saare. Not sure about the price of her
saddles but still around $1000. Both of these saddle makers take bare
trees and try them on the horse until they find one that fits the best.
Then the saddle is made on that tree or one just like it. Sharon Saare
sizes her trees with letters so that if one of her fitting technicians
tells you that a certain size fits your horse you could possibly find a
used one that would work. I think that there is a nominal fitting fee
for a technician to fit your horse, but well worth it to get something
that is comfortable for your horse and you.

One other thing that I found is that I HAVE to use a crupper to keep any
saddle back where it belongs. Regardless of the saddle on the horse's
back, it would slide forward and interfere with the shoulder motion and
we would get short striding. It is just much worse with the wrong
saddle. Even in flat riding I always use the crupper and we have no
problem with it.

Hope this helps!

Dave Bennett
Chickamauga, Georgia