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  1. #1
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    Default Extra Wide Dressage Saddle For a Draft/ Arab Cross?

    OK, I KNOW this has been discussed before but I can't find ANYTHING with the new "search".

    I'm looking for an inexpensive, extra wide, adjustable gullet dressage saddle with banana type panels from front to back and flat panels from side to side. Withers are more "A" shaped than "U" shaped and he's a tad low in the back. He's 7 and currently in an old Wintec pro that is too narrow with the extra wide (white) gullet in but would fit ok (not great) if the gullet was wider. I bought him as a 4 yr old and think I should have named him Clifford, he just keeps growing and growing and growing...

    I tried searching the forum to find this info but couldn't find everything I was looking for. For instance, does Tekna make an extra wide tree (since they seem to have the curvier panels)? How do the new wintec
    wide Dressage saddles fit? What about the Thorowgood cob saddles?

    The saddle will be used by my 16 yr old daughter and if at all possible she would prefer a narrower twist. She's only 5'3" and doesn't have really long legs, not short just "balanced". and she isn't long through the femur so saddle fit for her shouldn't be difficult.

    Thanks in advance for any help!
    "It's never too late to be what you might have been." George Eliot



  2. #2
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    Check out Duette. (www.duettsaddles.com). The "fidelio" has a narrower twist.

    Otherwise, you might check into the Wintec "Wide" saddle. It's the widest they offer. Which was not wide enough for our horse...



  3. #3
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    The Wintec extra wide (white) gullet I THINK is a 34cm. One size up from there SHOULD fit him. So a 35cm or 36cm, maybe?
    "It's never too late to be what you might have been." George Eliot



  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miichelle View Post
    He's 7 and currently in an old Wintec pro that is too narrow with the extra wide (white) gullet in but would fit ok (not great) if the gullet was wider.
    In this case, I would kick the new Wintecs (and anything else from Bates/Collegiate) off your list. The new ones are not going to be any more accommodating width-wise than the old ones. The exception is the Wintec Wide, but as that's an AP saddle, I'm guessing it's not on your interest radar.

    I tried searching the forum to find this info but couldn't find everything I was looking for. For instance, does Tekna make an extra wide tree (since they seem to have the curvier panels)? How do the new wintec
    wide Dressage saddles fit? What about the Thorowgood cob saddles?
    Yes, Tekna does make extra-wide gullet plates for their S-line saddles and their old Tekna A8 dressage is built on a Prestige tree that can be stretched open QUITE wide indeed. Let me put it this way: we've got a horse in the barn wearing a Tekna A4 who was a smidge too wide for a Wintec CC with the XW gullet, and his Tekna isn't even NEARLY adjusted as wide as Tekna can go. I want to say it's set to 32cm (in Tekna measurements, not Prestige) and Teknas can go up to at least 34cm. So yes, Tekna can go pretty stupidly wide. As with any adjustable gullet, the trouble is that the wider you crank it open the less wither clearance you're likely to have. And Tekna has pretty close-contact panels, so that may pose a problem for your low-backed-and-apparently-has-some-withers guy. I'm not sure I'd bust my butt to get a Tekna on trial for that kind of horse when I could be looking at stuff with big thick lift-it-up-and-off panels, like Thorowgood.

    Thorowgood, too, goes wider than Wintec. Although I would strongly encourage you to speak with a saddle fitter who stocks Thorowgood saddles because they have a very diverse lineup of trees and you may find that the Cob isn't automatically the way to go--for example, you mention the beast is a bit withery and low-backed, so it may actually make sense to look at the general and/or hi-wither lineups for certain saddle models--you can do some early approximations and checks by consulting the Thorowgood fitting guides. Notice that you can print out the Thorowgood tree width guides, which will reassure you that Thorowgood does go wider than Wintec. Notice also that Thorowgood has two different changeable gullet plate systems, one of which is more A-shaped and one of which is more U-shaped.
    http://www.thorowgood.com/fitting_guide.html

    If you'd like to speak with a knowledgeable Thorowgood rep, I like Annette Gavin at hastilowusa.com and Trumbull Mountain can also speak to the Thorowgood lineup.

    The saddle will be used by my 16 yr old daughter and if at all possible she would prefer a narrower twist. She's only 5'3" and doesn't have really long legs, not short just "balanced". and she isn't long through the femur so saddle fit for her shouldn't be difficult.

    Thanks in advance for any help!
    Some other saddles to look at:

    Ditto Watermark Farm's suggestion of the Duett Fidelio, one of the few models in the Duett lineup that is A-shaped and tends to have some room for wither clearance and potential to fit a curvier horse. Might as well call Nancy at Duett either way since she's good at talking about "the comps" in other brands that might compare to her products.

    A Passier cranked wide might suit your daughter and the horse very nicely. They tend to be narrow in the twist, and they can suit the sort of horse you're describing, but they can be expensive to widen. Still, something to keep your eye out for. If you can find an adjustable Rembrandt, which is a cousin to the Passiers but some of them were built with a Wellup adjustable gullet mechanism, that might suit too. (Incidentally, my trainer has a 16.5" Rembrandt adjustable dressage saddle sitting around. I don't know if she'd part with it, but it's jobless since that horse has been moved into a Thornhill Vienna which I describe below.)

    In your position, I would also be looking long and hard at Thornhill dressage saddles, particularly the Vienna II which retails around $950. This is another "goes stupidly wide" saddle; their 34cm wide tree is wide enough that many horses who were squeezed by the Wintec XW gullet go beautifully in it, and there's an even wider Thornhill 36cm XW tree beyond that! Cordia Pearson would be the saddle fitter to call:
    http://saddlefitter.com/thornhill_dressage.htm

    I would also be talking to Smith Worthington about the Smith Worthington Mystic dressage. The brand does a nice job fitting wider horses, and if you can find a suitable used Smith Worthington Mystic dressage, those are often priced as low as $500-$700. Send it back to Smith Worthington for a custom widening and before you know it, you'll have a custom width suitable for your horse, all for under $1000. Usedsaddles.com has two of them in stock right now, including one that's already fairly wide.

    I assume your budget maxes out at $1000 based on the options you were describing above, so I won't mention the more expensive choices--except to say that they exist.
    Last edited by jn4jenny; Nov. 19, 2012 at 08:27 PM.



  5. #5
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    jenny said it all!!

    If you're really looking at a banana shape, forget the Duett - nice saddles, but on the flatter side. Not *flat*, but not remotely what I'd call banana or curvy. It was too flat for my guy who fits nicely in Prestige and County and Black Country, none of which as truly banana shaped, but aren't remotely flat either.

    Wintec Wide is wider than the regular interchangeables, but Wintec tends to be pretty flat front-back as well.

    If you don't need super curvy, start looking for older Prestige saddles. Some of the older models can be had for a steal IF you can find one wide enough. I lucked into a (widened to) 39cm Top Dressage model for $700. On the same note, look at County too, but know that some models are curvier than others. Prestige is pretty reliably about the same across their models.

    www.trumbullmtn.com - get good wither/back tracings and start talking to them too
    ______________________________
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  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the advice! The main reason I'm looking for an inexpensive saddle is that Jasper has just started into serious training and his topline and shape are changing on a weekly basis. I'm HOPING that he's done growing, when I bought him as a 15.1hh-15.2hh four year old I thought I was going to have a cute little draft cross, no such luck. He's not HUGE at 16.1hh but he is bigger than I was planning on. Until he's done growing and is more fit/less fat I'd like to have an adjustable gullet. Once we have a better idea of what shape he's going to stay I'm willing to invest in a better saddle.

    My daughter events and we're shooting for Beginner Novice with Jasper come Spring, if it helps any his old Bernie Bros jump saddle seems to fit him quite well.
    "It's never too late to be what you might have been." George Eliot



  7. #7
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    Oh, and for what it's worth, Wintec "Wide" comes in a dressage model now. I thought it MIGHT work is I got the wool flocked instead of the CAIR...
    "It's never too late to be what you might have been." George Eliot



  8. #8
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    I'd look into Stubbens too. The 34cm tree is meant for drafts and draft crosses. The 34cms are harder to find than, say, the 32cms, but they do exist. My WIDE Polish Arab wears a 32cm tree.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miichelle View Post
    Oh, and for what it's worth, Wintec "Wide" comes in a dressage model now. I thought it MIGHT work is I got the wool flocked instead of the CAIR...
    Sorry, I wasn't being clear ... the new wintec wide dressage is probably too flat for him. The old AP model would have a chance of fitting.

    With the new info you've added, I'd say definitely look at Thorowgood. Not only does it have a good chance of fitting your guy cheaply, but when upgrade time comes, that search might become as easy as "we'll we know he does well in this particular Thorowgood tree, and hastilow and kent and masters also build some nice leather saddles on that tree, so we'll look at those first."
    Last edited by jn4jenny; Nov. 4, 2012 at 11:36 AM.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miichelle View Post
    Thanks for all the advice! The main reason I'm looking for an inexpensive saddle is that Jasper has just started into serious training and his topline and shape are changing on a weekly basis.
    This is the ideal situation to get something that is overall the right shape, but 1-2 sizes too bit. You can - yes, CAN - use appropriate padding in a situation like that to fill in where the horse isn't, and thin/removed padding as the horse fills out.
    ______________________________
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  11. #11
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    Except that an overweight horse that goes into training, often gets narrower (& may remain so depending on conformation) rather than wider.
    Only pick up a too wide saddle if it has high (fast) resale; if you can find an adjustable gullet version that fits, this is by far the most practical solution for a horse in training: at 7, I'd not expect drsatic changes but a good saddle fitter can often predict back maturity & where horse is likely "to go" from current proportions.

    It sounds as if horse has a jump saddle that fits - though are you certain that it's wide enough if he's outgrown the Wintec wide? - so I'd not buy any additional saddles for the next while (unless you're concerned that his present saddle will no longer fit) - you can do intro/training/1st level dressage just fine in a jump saddle ...



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    Except that an overweight horse that goes into training, often gets narrower (& may remain so depending on conformation) rather than wider.
    Only pick up a too wide saddle if it has high (fast) resale; if you can find an adjustable gullet version that fits, this is by far the most practical solution for a horse in training: at 7, I'd not expect drsatic changes but a good saddle fitter can often predict back maturity & where horse is likely "to go" from current proportions.

    It sounds as if horse has a jump saddle that fits - though are you certain that it's wide enough if he's outgrown the Wintec wide? - so I'd not buy any additional saddles for the next while (unless you're concerned that his present saddle will no longer fit) - you can do intro/training/1st level dressage just fine in a jump saddle ...
    Jasper has lost a LOT of weight in the last couple of months and he still has some to go but he's not losing nearly as much through the withers and shoulder as I had hoped. Even if he loses enough weight to squeek into his old Wintec Pro I'm concerned with the panel shape. I AM thinking about having it flocked with wool since it's the older, curvier style and his back is coming up (some) with work and fitness level, he no longer looks like an old brood mare carrying twins at least.

    One of my concerns is that he's the type of horse that if he has a week or two off for some reason he IS going to gain weight. It would be nice to have a wide back up saddle in the tack room for his "fat days".

    The Berney Bros saddle is a pretty good fit but it's a constant struggle to get your leg under you in it unless you're in two point, it's a very forward cut, flat jump saddle that tends to put you in a chair position if you sit in it. My daughter is already struggling with getting her leg in a correct position on a big round (fat) horse that her leg only comes about 3/4 of the way down his side, when she started riding him a couple of months ago his belly was so big the only thing she could cue him with was her heel. At least she can get her leg on now but with the saddle not sitting down in front like it should (because it's too narrow) it's still pushing her into a chair position and it's hard for her to get her leg under her when his belly is "pushing" her leg forward. The easiest fix for all just seems to be an inexpensive wide that can serve as a back up when he's no longer such a fat boy.
    "It's never too late to be what you might have been." George Eliot



  13. #13
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    but with the saddle not sitting down in front like it should (because it's too narrow)
    definitely get an approrpiate saddle soonest then, this could make him sore & then new saddle fit becomes rather ambiguous ...



    I suspect that if you can get a saddle fitter out with appropriate saddles for both the horse & your daughter, it will be money well spent, if not, you might look into trailering out to a tack shop with loads of saddles to try
    But
    call first & make sure there are enough wide saddles - get a description of each prospect saddle & run this by your online fitter (or jn4jenny ) AND check that there is a nearby area to actually test ride the saddles.

    I'd definitely contact SW - they still have some of the Stoneleigh saddles for under 1K & they will adjust the tree to fit your horse (not sure how much they charge for additional adjustments).
    (I know it's not a dressage saddle but ask if they have anything in a similar price range that would suit - they have loads of saddles that are not online)

    If you do get a wool flocked saddle, who will do the adjustments?



    he no longer looks like an old brood mare carrying twins at least.
    when I see this I always wonder about the digestibility of the forage/hay (& draft cross, I'd also consider PSSM which can have a broad range of severity/symptoms), also if he tends to gain weight as soon as he's not in work, adjust his caloric intake to suit his activity.

    (you did post this in Horse Care so I reckon I can mention PSSM without going too far Off Topic )



  14. #14
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    I sent you a private message.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    definitely get an approrpiate saddle soonest then, this could make him sore & then new saddle fit becomes rather ambiguous ...



    I suspect that if you can get a saddle fitter out with appropriate saddles for both the horse & your daughter, it will be money well spent, if not, you might look into trailering out to a tack shop with loads of saddles to try
    But
    call first & make sure there are enough wide saddles - get a description of each prospect saddle & run this by your online fitter (or jn4jenny ) AND check that there is a nearby area to actually test ride the saddles.

    I'd definitely contact SW - they still have some of the Stoneleigh saddles for under 1K & they will adjust the tree to fit your horse (not sure how much they charge for additional adjustments).
    (I know it's not a dressage saddle but ask if they have anything in a similar price range that would suit - they have loads of saddles that are not online)

    If you do get a wool flocked saddle, who will do the adjustments?



    when I see this I always wonder about the digestibility of the forage/hay (& draft cross, I'd also consider PSSM which can have a broad range of severity/symptoms), also if he tends to gain weight as soon as he's not in work, adjust his caloric intake to suit his activity.

    (you did post this in Horse Care so I reckon I can mention PSSM without going too far Off Topic )
    No saddle fitters in the immediate area, this is Idaho. My trainer probably knows as much about saddle fit as anyone reasonably close, he used to build saddles. I was in the largest tack store in the Boise area yesterday and they didn't have a single saddle that would even start to fit him, once again Welcome to Idaho. We make do with what we have, hense why I'm online getting an idea of what might work so I have a starting point before I begin ordering trial saddles.

    Jasper was on pasture all summer, not ideal but when you board sometimes you have to make do. I'm hoping that he can go in a paddock in the Spring when the grass starts to grow again so we don't have quite such a weight problem next year.

    Thanks everyone for all the advise, it gives me a lot to work with!
    "It's never too late to be what you might have been." George Eliot



  16. #16
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    Although I wouldn't suggest that you buy a County--that's way more money and investment than I'd be making in a horse whose shape is still changing pretty radically--they tend to have a saddle fitter in just about every state. And sure enough, a little quick Google work turns up one that goes to Idaho. I can't vouch for her quality, but the point is, there is apparently somebody who at least *occasionally* goes to Idaho and offers saddle reflocking services for wool saddles. I've no idea if she's any good or not; you might start a forum thread about that and see if you get any feedback. For that matter, you might just start a thread about fitters in Idaho. There may be others, or even better, you may discover some other COTHers who will coordinate appointments with you to minimize the saddle fitter's farm call fee.
    http://www.saddlefitnw.com/index.html

    Although it's not ideal, you can also get your saddle reflocked by mail. Send enough pictures and tracings, and most really good fitters can do a decent flocking job that's at least better than what you started with. For my own horse, I would only trust that procedure to someone with Society of Master Saddlers credentials (not to be confused with Master Saddlers Association, which is the slightly goofy name County gives to its saddle fitting course for its brand reps.) There's nothing wrong with County saddle training, but SMS training is way more intensive and long-term, and they're more likely to do a good reflock at a distance. Annette Gavin at Hastilow USA, one of the Thorowgood reps that I recommend above, is one such person.


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  17. #17
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    Although I wouldn't suggest that you buy a County--that's way more money and investment than I'd be making in a horse whose shape is still changing pretty radically--they tend to have a saddle fitter in just about every state. And sure enough, a little quick Google work turns up one that goes to Idaho. I can't vouch for her quality, but the point is, there is apparently somebody who at least *occasionally* goes to Idaho and offers saddle reflocking services for wool saddles. I've no idea if she's any good or not; you might start a forum thread about that and see if you get any feedback.
    I did exagerate a bit, the County saddle fitter has been to my trainer's barn in the past but she isn't "local" by any means. I would be happy to have her out in the future when I'm ready for an upgrade (her reputation as far as I know is quite good) but feel that it's a bit of an over kill when I'm looking for something that is adequit to get by with (without making him sore) until we have a better idea of what shape he's going to stay.
    "It's never too late to be what you might have been." George Eliot



  18. #18
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    Are there any tack shops within 2 hours or so who travel for fittings? You might not know of them as a "saddle fitter".

    "better idea of what shape he's going to stay" - his shape is his shape. It's his width that is the small unknown at this point. If he's still losing weight, you don't know if he's going to replace it with muscle or actually get smaller. You said he's lost a lot up to this point and still has "some" to go, but isn't losing in his withers like you thought. That is probably a pretty good indicator he's probably not going to lose much more there - probably the draft in him.

    Where I'm going with this is a saddle that fits him well now might actually be a long-term saddle for him. Replace some fat with muscle here and there. If the saddle is wool-flocked, then unless he widens, you're likely to be able to fit the saddle to him for a reasonable length of time to make a "better" saddle worth it.

    If he gets smaller, then you will just about be sure you can use an extra pad or a shim to make the fit quite good enough while you decide if you really need a narrower saddle.

    My point is - it might well be worth the cost of having they County fitter out, telling her up front you need to be looking for used, are not even going to entertain a new saddle, and see what happens. Most of them have used saddles with them, and if not, unless your guy ends up being some weird custom measurement, they often know of a variety of used models floating around.
    ______________________________
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miichelle View Post
    I did exagerate a bit, the County saddle fitter has been to my trainer's barn in the past but she isn't "local" by any means. I would be happy to have her out in the future when I'm ready for an upgrade (her reputation as far as I know is quite good) but feel that it's a bit of an over kill when I'm looking for something that is adequit to get by with (without making him sore) until we have a better idea of what shape he's going to stay.
    If the County rep comes out & you can have a fitting/demo for minimal $, definitely do this soonest - you will learn what the horse likes in saddles (he really may have little opinion or ALOT), what your daughter likes in saddles, what your trainer likes for your daughter in saddles - finding a saddle that satisfies all 3 may be the sticking point
    County rep should be able to give you guidelines to follow when assessing used saddles (County or other) - there are some very economical older Counties out there & being able to reflock may work better for your horse than an exchangeable gullet system.

    You do not want to work a horse in a too narrow saddle as it can significantly affect muscle development (can cause permanent nerve damage & muscle atrophy - not likely in a few months), then, when you do buy the nicer, more $$ new fitted saddle, he may suddenly sprout muscle & fill/overfill the space

    Of course, now, we're all wanting to see photos



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    Of course, now, we're all wanting to see photos
    Neither of these pictures is the least bit helpful for saddle fitting but they are the only ones that are recent on my computer.

    This one was taken yesterday and he looks much smaller than if I had a side view, camera angles make a huge difference when photographing a horse.

    http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p...lieNov2012.jpg

    This is just a head shot of my very happy daughter and Jasper :

    http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p...perNov2012.jpg
    "It's never too late to be what you might have been." George Eliot


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