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Re: RC: Skito pad/more details

Hi Judy - an addition to what I said in my earlier response:
    Having a saddle shaped "to fit the horse's back" is not necessarily a good thing.  If the horse is crooked and the saddle panels are made crooked to match the horse then the horse is locked into that crooked shape.  Perhaps what has happened is that your horse has become either more or less crooked because of your conditioning work so your saddle fits much less well now than when you had it reflocked.  Also, the way it was reflocked could be adding to the problem.  Older saddles were flocked with wool which would eventually felt because of the heat and moisture from the horse's body.  The traditional way to reflock a saddle was to add more wool fleece in little clumps to plump out the panels.  The trouble was that the new felt didn't blend with the old and the result was often lumps and bumps.  The best way was to completely remove the old flocking and replace it.  Newer saddles are padded with foam that, theoretically, lasts longer than wool fleece before it needs to be replaced.  Not all saddlers are able to replace foam panels.
    You can check to see if your saddle tree and panels are straight or crooked.  Prop the pommel of your saddle on your foot with the under side out so you can look down the gullet from cantle to pommel.  Look carefully at the angles and shapes of the panels to see how even and symmetrical they are.  Don't be surprised if they are not symmetical, very few are!!!  Determine where the middle of the rear of the cantle is then look down to the pommel to see if the line between the middle of the back of the gullet and the middle of the front is straight or if it veers off to one side or the other.  More than likely your saddle is crooked because almost all english style saddles are made that way.  Why?  Because there isn't much quality control in the industry, according to Andy Foster of AJ Foster Saddles in Walsall England, the center of the English saddlemaking industry.  Also check to make sure your saddle tree is not broken by resting the saddle on your thigh, top side up, then pulling the other end towards you trying to fold it in half.  If there is any movement at all, your tree is probably broken and the saddle needs to be replaced 'cause a broken tree can't be fixed.
    As you can probably tell, saddle fit is a passion of mine.  I hope I haven't either bored or frightened you to death! I've said a lot of this in my book (small plug here!): "Choosing a saddle for endurance and long distance riding," ($10 from Filaree Press, PO Box 1361, Carmel Valley CA 93924.
Cheers, Laney
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