Tuesday, February 4, 2014

help! with saddle fit!

I couldn't have chosen a worse time to trial a saddle. After a mild winter and the excitement that I could start riding, the ladt few days and in foreseeable future we've had bitter near blizzard temps and blowing snow. I technically only have the saddle until tomorrow but I'm hoping they will extend the trial for me.


My lesson was canceled Monday so my chance to have instructor see me sit and ride in the saddle didn't happen. The more important thing was to see if it fit my horse which I was doing alone as he is not my lesson horse and I had no way to haul him to the barn as the trailer is out of commission. I was able to bring him into my relatively dry hay shed and saddle him.


This is an older Passier dressage saddle it is in excellent condition for it's age, hardly broken in. I love that it is brown- not a fan of the black these days but my horse is sorrel and I like him in brown.

I've read a lot online about people loving these older Passier dressage saddles although apparently they don't rave reviews on comfort.  They aren't deep-seated or have tons of thigh blocks and knee rolls. I did email Passier the serial number and got back the specs on the saddle within 24 hrs which was cool.

I can see daylight along the spine between saddle and pad. I can get a hand comfortable between horses shoulder and flap. There appears to be no bridging. But it is the pommel that is throwing me off! It had a cutback pommel and it just looks odds the way or sits on him. I'm not even admitting the saddle is placed right on his back I'm just learning how to saddle a dressage horse too, the first lesson I had it far too forward like a Western saddle.



If you can help from a few photos, which I know is not ideal, please share your opinion on how it should fit. Thank you in advance!!! Practically every saddle I see for sale is listed because it "does not fit my horse" so I'm not pretending this was going to be easy. The gal I am borrowing the lesson horse from has 5 dressage saddles and that is because she had continually struggled with fitting her horses and herself.



I have a fun interview/questionnaire coming up in the next few days I hope you will all participate!

Ranch Girl

12 comments:

Marissa said...

I am NO expert..but it looks a little too narrow for him, and is sitting too high on his withers. I think there's only supposed to be 2-3 finger clearance between withers and pommel.

Ranch Girl Diaries said...

Marisss that is kind of what I was thinking too. I watched this video on the Slcheese saddke site about wither clearance and it was good- but I am not sure I am getting clearance on the sides or that the line where the stuffing starts is sitting down low enough.

SquirrelGurl said...

I think it's too narrow as well. Saddle fitting can be a nightmare, I'm going through it right now trying to find a close contact saddle for lessons. I have one right now that I need to sell so I can resume searching.

Have you checked out Classic Saddlery? I think they have some brown dressage saddles on consignment and she has a generous trial program. The website isn't the most tech savvy but don't let it deter you, I've enjoyed working with them.

Good luck!

Ranch Girl Diaries said...

Thanks SG I will check out that site! I can be a bit impatient about things and love this saddle I just want to get one now- but want it to fit right, of course!

B said...

Yep, this looks really, really narrow on him. It's also a cut-back, which is typically to accommodate high withers. And it doesn't look like M.B. has any need for that. However, it does look like the saddle is seated too far back. The pommel should be several inches towards his wither.
I needed an extra-wide tree dressage saddle for my quarter horse. So maybe keep an eye out for a wide or extra-wide.

fernvalley01 said...

It looks like it sits a little too high, as others have said, maybe too narrow? I am no good at this with English or dressage tack , hope some one can help you.
But it is cool how fast Passier gets back to you, those folks KNOW customer service!

Ranch Girl Diaries said...

Thanks B! I do think you are right and it should be a little forward- then I'm thinking it would be too tight and restrict his shoulder movement. :( MB has a pretty average wither. I know Luna would take a wide tree for sure but I thought MB was built more average/medium. This is the 3rd saddle I've tried the other two fit him better I think but they were two big for me and one needed major repair.

Ranch Girl Diaries said...

FV Thanks for the advice I was very impressed with passier's response to the serial no. Inquiry. Thanks for the tip! :) is cool to learn what year and month the saddle was made in.

Cut-N-Jump said...

It looks too narrow to me too, sitting way too high in the front.

If you want a professional opinion though, contact Kitt at Panther Run Saddlery. She used to be with Trumbull Mountain. Her blog- Saddle Fitting is very helpful in learning what to look for in a good fit.

Cut-N-Jump said...

The words Saddle Fitting are actually a clicky link. It doesn't show up in a different color like on most comment sections.

gowestferalwoman said...

Looks to be a narrow twist, and it unfortunately will not work - your horse will be very uncomfortable the minute you sit in the saddle; the tree will pinch the shoulder movement. Your good looking guy there probably needs a wide tree, considering the breed. Considering that, have you tried looking at collegiate saddles? There are a few with an adjustable tree, affordable, well made and esp. great for horses that may start out muttoned withered, and then built up more muscle as they go along. Passier is an excellent saddlemaker; too bad this saddle, even with the cut out, is made for those high withered TB's..

I speak from experience as I have a Collegiate Senior Event, and its still in great shape - actually fit my morgan quite well and now i have my mustang riding in it - it does have a wider tree to fit our lowered withered horses :). It has a longer leg then a regular close contact seat, almost like a dressage, but then it also has a bit of roll to it so we can jump. Just a good all around saddle :).

Hey, one important thing to add about saddling up, is to use the first and third billet(most have three), and to make sure the girth is on equal holes on each side for proper fitting - your stirrups and your seat will have proper balance and connection that way. Sometimes (fatty horse days, we all have 'em lol) you need to start on the first hole on each side, then after you bridle up adjust again to another hole; then after walking your horse out before mounting, you snuggier it up again, making sure the holes are all equal - your seat and your stirrups will tell you. You should be able to slip a snug finger under the girth at the elbow. If you use a girth cover, sometimes you can be fooled by that, so be extra careful in that regard...

Otherwise, looks like you have a great head start because you want it to fit well - a sign of a good horse(wo)man!

Ranch Girl Diaries said...

Hey Go West- I sadly returned the passier today. It was a beautiful saddle but not right for many reasons. I've reanalyzed what I want to use the saddle for- besides dressage lessons and practicing in the arena, I will be trail riding. So security, comfort, and position are important after fit. I saw a collegiate senior event for sale locally but it was the wrong seat size-but it sure was a beautiful and versatile looking saddle. I borrowed an older Courbette all purpose from a neighbor today who wants to sell it. Im not sure it looks comfy but it's worth a try I think the flap style has a dressage tendency. I am also considering a Wintec dressage from Dover. I have never had a new saddle and although I know the interchangeable gullet system is no guarantee that it will fit my horse I think it gives me more options. Im not opposed to synthetic I have read a lot of positive reviews online (of course for every good one there is a bad one but I'm inherited enough to try out and make my own opinion ;-). If I decided to stick with dressage as a discipline down the line I can invest in a nicer saddle. For now I think I can get a good starter saddle that i can grow in skill a little. Thanks so much for your very helpful input I reallllllly appreciate it! :)