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Saddle options for bringing back into work?

14 replies

Pleasedontdothat · 24/04/2022 07:38

Dhorse has had just over a year living the life of riley in a beautiful field. He’d been turned away after a nightmare year of multiple medical problems (field accident, asthma, hock arthritis precipitated by box rest for the accident and a niggling chronic soft tissue injury).

He’s now completely healthy and sound, he’s moving beautifully and our vet is very happy for us to crack on with him and bring him back into work.

I’ve been doing lots of in hand work with him - long lining, poles, in hand walks - and he’s started to get some muscle back and lose his couch potato flab. We now need to start him back under saddle but … he doesn’t currently have one!

When he was competing he had lovely (and expensive 😬) dressage and jump saddles but they’re being used by dd’s new horse and he really doesn’t need something like that now as he’ll just be hacking with the occasional bit of schooling. I don’t want to spend a fortune as he’s going to change shape more as he gets back into more work.

Any suggestions as to what might work? He’s a chunky ISH and getting an appointment with a decent saddler round here is problematic ..

OP posts:
Oncemoreforluck · 24/04/2022 07:43

Bareback saddle or Total Contact Saddle?

liveforsummer · 24/04/2022 08:44

Can't you just borrow whatever saddle dd isn't using for the mean time til you've got some top line, then get a decent gp saddle or would they not fit at all now? When bringing ex racers back in to work for retraining I'd always use a race exercise saddle as they fit anything and they change shape massively after being let down from racing fitness but I can't imagine how that might look on a chunky ID 😆. What about something like a wintec with changeable gullet? They are cheap, light and adjustable. Can always replace with something better once dhorse is a more regular shape again.

Pleasedontdothat · 24/04/2022 09:37

DD’s using both saddles as the eventing season’s started. I suspect a racing saddle would look ridiculous on him 😬 and I’d appreciate something with a bit more support - he’s a very good boy but every now and then he does an interesting sideways spook ..

Dd is not a big fan of wintecs as all the horses at the riding school she used to work at had them.

I’d thought about bareback/total contact but can’t see how they can’t put loads of pressure on a small area 🤔

Does anyone use a more conventional treeless saddle?

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SpottyBumPony · 24/04/2022 09:43

I'd go with a synthetic Thorowgood or Wintec with a changeable gullet. Fit it with an adjustable prolite or sheepskin with pads that reflect what his musculature should be. It will fill out a saddle that's currently too wide, but be soft enough to flex as he uses his back and shoulders so that the muscles can develop.

Keep an eye on it and reduce the pads as his muscles increase until he's fit.

Don't fit a tree'd saddle to his current shape or it will hinder him developing.

liveforsummer · 24/04/2022 09:51

Not a huge fan of wintec either for a permanent saddle but they are a functional means to an end. You can pick them up second hand and re sell easily.

liveforsummer · 24/04/2022 09:52

To ass you can get nicer leather/leather look and feel ones as well as the scratchy fabric synthetic. DD's share pony has a suede one that is actually quite nice

SpottyBumPony · 24/04/2022 10:20

The bonus of a synthetic is the ability to change gullet as the horse fluctuates.

I've had my Thorowgood for 10 years, it's comfortable for both of us and has been reflected when needed. Don't get CAIR though, the idea that air is softer than flock is laughable. Think how hard air is when it's compressed

Oncemoreforluck · 24/04/2022 11:12

I rode for many years in a Heather Moffat Fhoenix saddle. Looked almost like a normal saddle. It doesn’t suit every horse though as my current horse doesn’t like it at all. You can get hold of them second hand, but they do hold their value.
I just sold my rare 16 inch GP, and actually got £150 more than I bought it for (second hand) ten years ago.
if you do go down the treeless route, then please go for a decent make and not a cheap, usually Indian made, one as they are known to cause back problems.

look on the Total Contact Saddle website and read reviews about the design which claims to avoid the pressure points.

SpottyBumPony · 24/04/2022 16:33

I had a Fhoenix, I loved it. Until the pressure under the stirrup bars cause atrophy and hair loss 😢

Electriq · 24/04/2022 16:37

Another vote for a short term synthetic that can be adjusted.

Lastqueenofscotland2 · 24/04/2022 18:30

I’d also avoid Cair/wintec but Thorowgood are decent, some of the leather look ones are smart too if you are snob like me and hate the look of synthetic!

chickenfeathers · 25/04/2022 09:00

I would try as hard as you can to get a reputable saddle fitter out to look at your horse, preferably with second hand and new saddles for you to try. You have done so much work with your horse, it would be awful to throw all your progress away at this stage.

Adjustable head plate saddles suit some horses, but they are not the answer to all saddle fitting issues. Treeless saddles also need to be fitted correctly, otherwise they can do more harm than good.

IMHO a good, fitted, treed saddle is the way to go. Flocked panels can have minor adjustments done, and any fitter worth their salt will do this on site and not take the saddle away (unless it is a complete re-flock). Even with a re-flock, the fine adjustments should be done when the saddle is returned.

With regards to which make etc, whilst I could suggest you look for xyz, a good, on-site fitter will be far better placed to advise you.

OrlandointheWilderness · 25/04/2022 09:38

I'd avoid a treeless personally. Hate them.

Pleasedontdothat · 25/04/2022 13:16

Thanks everyone. I’ve actually managed to find a saddler who’s got a free appointment before the end of summer!

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