Saddle Fit for Flicka

Good Evening, Friends!

There is lots to be said about saddle fit!  I’m very close to getting a saddle for Flicka.  She has been using the saddles at the barn, which are serving well.  I’ve been considering the weight issue, getting it up on her back, lol! and expenditure.  I’ve spent a little, and a lot.  While I like to keep things simple, Flicka’s comfort while doing the job I ask, is imperative.  Saddle pads can be high tech material, synthetic, or the classic wool for breathability and conforming to the horse’s back.  It appears that you can spend as much as you want!

I’m considering a barrel saddle, for the weight and purpose I desire.  I plan on using Flicka in working horse events, maybe some timed events and obstacle courses.  Cowboy Dressage is a thought.  I need a traditional set up with a horn.

I visited saddle shops with new and used inventory to see how this style measures for my seat, talked to friends who barrel race or use this style, looked on Facebook forums to see what people were selling, and checked out on-line shops and makers.

I recently had a session with Angela Tanner at the barn to compare saddles being used on Flicka, all of which have been doing the job.  I measured gullet width and skirt length, since Flicka is short backed and short coupled.

The first one we looked at was a Corriente.  Placed without a pad, we had good gullet clearance and nice shoulder flare.  A thin pad with neoprene, I believe, on the underside, worked well.

The second one was an American, which a local shop carries.  It also fit well.  These both had straight skirts, but were minimal with the barrel saddle styling.  It was the lightest of the three with a ralide tree.

The third one was a Saddlesmith of Texas, round skirted barrel saddle.  This is more of an upper end saddle, with prices of around $2,000.00.  The Corriente and American are similar, being around $650.00.  This was a full quarter bar and an eight inch gullet, needing a one inch felt pad to adjust gullet fit.

I’m leaning towards a round skirted semi-quarter with seven inch gullet.  I should be able to find something with a middle-of-the-road price tag for an entry level starter set up in case Flicka’s back and conformation changes.  I will likely stay with a wool pad, the rounded barrel design, and a contoured topline.

What is your process for changing gear and disciplines?  I’d love to know!

Terri

Flashback:  Here is my rig for being out on an all day ride, prepared to stay overnight if need be.  This was taken in the Diamond Peak Wilderness with my Morab, Charlie-horse.  Planning for your purpose is key!

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A New Saddle for Whiskey

WP_20151104_007I decided to ease up on myself and get a lighter weight saddle.  I saved ten pounds with the Parelli Cruiser saddle.  It weighs in at 18 pounds.  It comes with english stirrup leathers, and endurance type cushioned stirrups.  It gives the feel of a secure seat.  It has the same tree as the Natural Performer western saddle for distribution of weight, for long hours in the saddle!

I decided to use the Parelli Smart Pad.  There is a velcroed pocket in the top and on the front for shim insertion and adjustment.

WP_20151104_008I had the help of a Parelli professional to adjust the shimming.  Make sure the saddle is set back behind the shoulder allowing the scapula to move back without interference, and shim to give the saddle a slight edge up in front to give the rider that center point while riding.  Check shoulder clearance for tightness.

I’ve been using the Parelli shimming system with their saddles since 2008.  Never a problem for the horses!  I stick with what I know works for horse and rider!

What saddle fitting decisions have you had lately?

Hope this helps!

Terri

 

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How’s your saddle fitting?

Hay there, I used to be the new girl. . . .
Hay there, I used to be the new girl. . . .

When I purchased Chica last Fall, it was obvious that I would need to get a wider saddle for  her.  Even though she needed to lose some weight, she is built quite broad, with a nice broad back!  That was not going to change!

Along the way, I was fortunate enough with networking, to be able to trade one of my saddles for one that would fit her.  Even though I was confident with my choice, I wanted to go through the exercise of making sure.

Getting Miss Muddybottom clean was a challenge in itself, but I managed to clear the way to get the job done.  Of course, it is nice to be able to ride as the next test for how your horse moves under saddle, but I elected to wait until I could get to the arena.  I felt confident with the Parelli Natural Performer saddle with the shim pad, a saddle and pad system that I have been using since 2008.

topline observation
topline observation

First, a look at her topline.  She has been used occasionally for arena riding by her last owner that had her approximately a year, but not consistently, and indications are that she has been bred.  She is 17 years  young, with a “let’s go have fun” attitude, everyone should have one of these in their stable!

the longer pad, since switched to the 30" pad
the longer pad, since switched to the 30″ pad

I looked at the shim diagrams on the Parelli website, and shimmed accordingly.  The pad I initially used here was a longer one, I’ve since switched to a shorter one.  She has a big shoulder, making it necessary to have the saddle back some so as not to interfere, and a shorter pad also accommodated this.

A good test is how the saddle fits and sits without a saddle pad.  Check for shoulder clearance and interference.  I skipped this part, since I was confident this would fit, and the Natural Performer has good flare in the front.  (And while a nice mid-Winter day, it was still a bit chilly!)

check for flare tightness
check for flare and tightness

Check if you can get your hand in the shoulder area to check for tightness.  I like to check overall for any area that might rub, in the croup area also.  Cinch up and repeat.  Walk about and see if they are relaxed, wanting to move forward.  Do a little groundwork.

even sweat pattern with the middle channel dry
even sweat pattern with the middle channel dry

The real test is if you will have an even sweat pattern with the middle dry from the saddle channel.  It ultimately passed this test for Chica also, since we have been getting tuned up at the arena and riding out.

Does this saddle make my butt look fat?
Does this saddle make my butt look fat?

Since Chica is getting into shape, I can adjust how I shim the pad.  Her cinch is sitting more in the proper place since she is losing belly fat.  I’ll keep bringing her fitness along with lesson work, and long, slow miles on the trail, throwing in some trotting and hill work for conditioning.

How is your saddle fitting these days?

I’d love to know!

Terri

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