OK saddle gurus - please evaluate

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Nov 8, 2004
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Here it is; just want to know if it fits well enough to comfortably ride this bronc all day Monday (literally 7am to prolly 5pm) and most of the day Tuesday and Wednesday.

Without the saddle pad, prior to riding:



After riding, immediately after taking the saddle off:






And the saddle pad (dirty, I know!):


Saddle fits me fine, just wondering if it's okay for this bronc for the next couple days. I care more about his comfort than mine. :p

......."If it ain't fitting him right you'll be able to pinch his withers and he'll buckle under your fingers."..

Could you 'splain what this means for me, and how to do it. I'm still trying to learn about saddle fitting and never heard this before.

In my limited knowledge, the one pictured seems to fit pretty well.

Most of the time when they don't fit right, the withers are afffected. I usually lay my hand over the withers and squeeze. If he's sore on either side you'll notice a reaction to the squeeze. Many a working ranch horse has had his withers overdone; sometimes noted by a bleach white patch of hair. Takes a pretty good saddle and pad NOT to hurt a horse if you put a full days work them. I haven't mastered the art of looking at a saddle and telling if it will fit right or not. I hired a custom maker to build me one. Cost me a bunch but I ride it every day and it's worth every penny. Haven't skinned a horse yet with it.
the thing that I first noticed it seemed a little narrow thru the withers and then when you showed the wet photo the dry spots on the horse and the pad on his withers, dry spots equal pressure points and that means saddle sores
IMO that saddle needs wider bars to fit the horse you are riding
Judging by your pictures (the horse's back and the underside of the pad) the saddle does not fit. The sweat marks indicate that it is bridging. It will make your horse's back sore.

You can not tell if a saddle fits by looking at it on the horse's back. I have a photo album about saddle fitting.


Another thing is you can not make a too narrow saddle fit by using thicker or more pads. That is like wearing too many socks with shoes that are a bit tight. More pads only make it worse.
OK, thanks for the input folks. I'm going to try a different saddle on him tomorrow and hope that works. I really need him to be comfortable and this other saddle is bigger... and I think wider.

What do you guys mean by "wider bars"?
The bars of the saddle are measured in the front under the swell. From concho to concho. This is where the saddle hits the withers. I agree that it is too narrow here and that it bridges a little over the back. There are several different types of trees and variations within brands which makes it such fun to find a saddle that truly fits. My daughter just bought a saddle that has a flexible tree. In a tree like that the bars are on springs and move to fit the horse. All that said, the gullet fit is good (up over the withers)-you want at least that much space for shoulder movement.
The bars on the saddle are too narrow and I noticed from your wet spots on the back of the horse that the bars from the wither back are not sitting on the horses back but rather the saddle is resting on the skirting, or outside perimeter of the saddle. Looking at the wet spots shows you were the saddle is rubbing which I am sure you already know this, but nothing wrong with pointing out the obvious. I would suggest with this particular horse to try a saddle that has wider bars at the wither but with more of a narrow twist on the bars - medium to wide tree with a narrow twist. The saddle you posted I think has rather flat and wide bars and that is why the saddle is pinching at the withers and is suspended off the horses back and is bridging between the wither and point of croup as others mentioned. Also, try to find a saddle that has a tapered back and rounded skirting so as to not impede the shoulder - remember that the scapular is not a hinge and ball joint and needs to slide anterior and then rearward - even saddles with correct fitting bars but large skirting rarely fit a horse correctly.

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