Monday, November 12, 2012

Tack Woes

I love knowing that I've been working Gabe correctly. I can feel it in the way he moves, he seems very happy in his work and is able to do the things I ask with more ease because he's carrying himself more efficiently and in much, much better balance. I can see the muscling in his neck, shoulder and back changing for the better. The boy is bulking up and becoming broader and stronger and his topline looks fantastic.

Which is a very good thing.

And a very bad thing.

My saddle, which was already an iffy fit to begin with, definitely no longer fits. At all. The tree is way too narrow on bulky boy's bigger body. In the last couple of weeks I've been having major issues with it sliding backwards significantly, a good indicator that it doesn't fit any more.

On top of that I've recently finished two rides and he has been sore on both sides just behind his withers, the place where the points of the saddle tree poke into him. Those points that once sat nicely and parallel to his withers, are now digging in and making him sore. Ugh. My poor boy.

I really, really need a new saddle, one that fits and doesn't make him sore, the sooner, the better. This is a situation where padding up to make it fit isn't an option. With a saddle that is already too snug, padding up will only make it worse.

I love saddle shopping when I have the cash to purchase a new saddle, but, I don't. I absolutely LOVE the saddle I have now. I've had it for 10 years, it still looks new (yes, I'm a little bit obsessive about cleaning it) and I love the way it fits me. But, it doesn't fit him, and that's very, very important, especially as he continues to muscle out and become more fit. He is such a pleasure to ride and obviously loves whatever we do, and I don't want to destroy that attitude by forcing him to do things that leave him sore and painful at the end of it all.

When we started this work I fully intended to take flexible ruler measurements of his withers and back every week and keep tracings of them in a book so I'd have a visual way to track his progress. I failed, so, while I know and can see the shape and size of his back has changed, I can't even begin to say how much. I can only say its' enough that the saddle now fits like a shoe that's three sizes too small.

Any recommendations for a good all-purpose type saddle that comes in a wide tree that will fit a high-withered Thoroughbred? He is going to be a challenge to fit properly.


  1. Good luck with the saddle search!

    I'm no help with all purpose saddles, but can recommend working with Trumble Mountain. They are expert in fitting issues and have a very helpful saddle trial policy.

    At least you've got a happy reason for making the change!

  2. Thank you! So much good information there...I've been dreaming about a Stuebben for years, but the Thorowgood APs at Trumbull Mountain look nice, and very affordable.

  3. I have the Thorowgood gp from Trumbull Mountain - for my moderately high-withered, broad shouldered appendix mare and I love it! The changeable gullet is great but of course TM will work with you to determine fit first, they certainly do not promote Thorowgood saddles w/ changeable gullets as the end all be all. Mine is the lastest version with the leather sections and I can tell you that works great for my mare and I. I love the construction (well-made), it's practical, and I have had no problem using it for dressage and jumping (at the low level). When I need another saddle, I'm definitely going to get a Thorowgood if the fit is appropriate.

  4. Sarah, I really like the way the Thorowgood looks, and the research I've done indicates it would be a good fit. But, I confess, I am a "leather snob" and I'm kind of worried the saddle will look/feel too much like a synthetic. How synthetic does it look/feel? I know the seat on the newest version is leather, does it look odd with the rest of the synthetic material?

  5. Ovations tend to fit Thoroughbreds very well, as well as some cutback saddles.