Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

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musical comedy
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Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby musical comedy » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:11 pm

This a vent and it has become a hopeless situation.

My horse has a short back. When I say short, I mean SHORT. Her saddle area is probably that of a 13h pony. One might ask why I didn't notice that when I bought her. I don't know. I guess my focus was on all the other must-haves. I knew she was a compact horse, but it didn't occur to me how bad it was. Just chalk it up to one of my many mistakes.

The problem is not only that the mare is a fitting problem (and so am I), but that I cannot get any fitter to work with me.
The first fitter I used was one I've used before. All was well and I bought a used Amerigo from her. It really didn't fit very well, but I needed something asap to ride in as I had just bought the mare. Not only doesn't the Amerigo fit her, but it's torture for me.

Now this fitter (Chisamba knows who it is) and I got along fine. In fact, she was the one that put a new seat/flaps on my other horse's saddle. Now, for whatever reason, she will not acknowledge my emails. I sent an email in July, August, and just a week ago asking for her help. I am looking to BUY and order a customized saddle. Yet, she does not reply. I am hurt and mad at the same time because I do not understand this behavior. As you guys know, I can be snarky, but this was not the case with this fitter.

Next I had out an Amerigo fitter from the home office of World Equestrian Bands. She was a nice classy lady. Amerigo does not make a tree wide enough for my mare. 36cm is my mare's measurement. So write that brand off.

I thought the Schleese Obrigado ($$$) would be a good choice, so I contacted the local tack shop. I test rode in one the wrong fit for the horse, but loved it for myself and decided to order it. What happened here is that there was some back and forth discussions between the fitter and Schleese and specs changed a couple times. I started to question things and started to lose confidence. The fitter basically dumped me (in a polite way), because she felt I probably wouldn't be satisfied with what she ordered. I'm sorry, but for a 7.5K saddle I am going to ask a lot of questions. I just emailed her that other day basically begging for her to work with me on the Schleese fitting. No reply.

I then emailed Iberica (Spain), a Veritas rep, and a Black Country fitter with questions and looking for help and saying I wanted to buy. Not of these three replied to my email. These people don't know me at all, so it can't be personal.

So here I am riding in an ill fitting saddle that also has a seat that keeps ripping. Not only is the inability to get a fitter out a problem, but there is no way to build a saddle to fit my seat and not be too long for the mare. Schleese is best because they have all kinds of options and a new PSI panel and rear wedge configurations to help, but still it won't be ideal.

I read stuff on COTH from people looking for saddles for short backed horses and the replies irritate me because a lot of those people don't know what the heck they are talking about. The answer is not an 'upswept panel'. Not for this horse. She is low in the cantle area and an upswept panel would allow the saddle to sit low in back. Stuff like this I learn from talking to so many fitters. Saddle fitting is a lot more complicated than many people think. You have to have the billet placement right, the stirrup bar placement right, etc. etc. etc. Also, I think it is imperative to buy from someone that comes to the area regularly when you need an adjustment.

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Re: Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby piedmontfields » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:32 pm

Having recently struggled to buy a rather expensive car (really people, we are trying to throw money at you! Just do your job...), I am familiar with the pain of the acquisition process.

I agree that there is average "short backed" (my mare for ex., who can handle a fairly normal 17.5 saddle) and then seriously short-backed.

I have no idea if Trilogy has something appropriate for your situation, but Debbie Witty seems to have quite a bit of integrity and attention to detail, and the saddle fitters/reps I've met that she trains show those traits, too.

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Re: Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby Ponichiwa » Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:26 pm

MC, how frustrating!

I've got Kiwi in an Obrigado (sigh) and love it, but it seems that the Schleese experience really is regionally sensitive. That said, you may have better luck getting in touch with Schleese central vs. the local saddlefitter re: getting on a fitting schedule.

If you can get a head start with just an evaluation of what options your horse needs, it's not too hard to find those options used (especially if you need the popular RW/SR/short tree option)-- which can save you nearly $3k! (example here: https://www.ebay.com/i/283255416126?chn=ps -- I'm not affiliated with the seller).

I've heard Custom is offering some very similar options as well. I've never gone that route because I appear to live in a Custom desert.

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Re: Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby Josette » Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:36 pm

This is a difficult situation trying to fit both of you. For what it's worth -

https://mysaddle.com/en/dressage/custom-santa-cruz-r

(I actually test rode a pony in this saddle santa cruz and loved it - but you are much taller than me!)

http://www.passier.com/en/saddles/dress ... s/compact/

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Re: Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby musical comedy » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:00 pm

Ponichiwa wrote:I've got Kiwi in an Obrigado (sigh) and love it, but it seems that the Schleese experience really is regionally sensitive. That said, you may have better luck getting in touch with Schleese central vs. the local saddlefitter re: getting on a fitting schedule.
In October I tried to get in for a Schleese fitting when they were in the area, but they couldn't squeeze me in at my farm. No way was I going to van out a new horse for a saddle fit. Anyway, when the local Schleese fitter situation failed, I called Schleese. Bottom line, they told me to work with local fitter. They won't be in my area again until late Spring (if then) and who knows if I can get in.

If you can get a head start with just an evaluation of what options your horse needs, it's not too hard to find those options used (especially if you need the popular RW/SR/short tree option)-- which can save you nearly $3k! (example here: https://www.ebay.com/i/283255416126?chn=ps -- I'm not affiliated with the seller).
As I said above, the RW (Relief Wedge) is not appropriate for my horse because she is low in the back. They have new wedges that are better for her. They also have the new PSI panel and they also have a new line of lightweight saddles called the Bi-Nate line that are good for me. There is nothing used that will work for me in the Obrigado line.
I've heard Custom is offering some very similar options as well. I've never gone that route because I appear to live in a Custom desert.
Local fitter is the Custom rep for the area. If there was a Custom option that would work, she would have known and recommended.

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Re: Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby musical comedy » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:04 pm

Josette wrote:This is a difficult situation trying to fit both of you. For what it's worth -

https://mysaddle.com/en/dressage/custom-santa-cruz-r

(I actually test rode a pony in this saddle santa cruz and loved it - but you are much taller than me!)

http://www.passier.com/en/saddles/dress ... s/compact/
Thanks Josette, but as I just posted, anything from Custom is highly unlikely to work. Otherwise local fitter would have suggested it. The other Passier saddle does not come wide enough; only in medium.

I need a point billet, long stirrup bar, half panel in front, short block on panel. I'm a custom job.

My horse's back is only 14 inches!!! And I need a big seat. The Scheese option was going to have the seat actually longer than the panel.

Here's what I need: https://schleese.com/product/prolight-dressage-saddle/

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Re: Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby Sue B » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:02 pm

All I can say is that I feel your pain and jingle that you have success at getting what you need.

My Rudy has an ultra-short, curvy back that took a year to find a saddle that mostly fits him and is a difficult but doable ride for me. My other horse, Tio, has a fairly short back with shoulders/withers like a cob. The Lovatt and Ricketts i bought for him is comfy for both me AND him, something I did not achieve with Rudy. The saddle you linked to looks lovely--I hope you can find someone to fit it for you.

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Re: Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby Abby Kogler » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:23 pm

I have no advice, just sympathy. It is endlessly frustrating. I hope something turns up for you soon, or that people start calling you back.

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Re: Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby musical comedy » Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:24 pm

Horray, I just got an email from first fitter, actually my favorite one. Claims she never got any of my previous emails. :?: Whatever, I am just glad she is going to come here at the end of the month.

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Re: Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby Chisamba » Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:46 am

musical comedy wrote:Horray, I just got an email from first fitter, actually my favorite one. Claims she never got any of my previous emails. :?: Whatever, I am just glad she is going to come here at the end of the month.

She is notoriously disorganized. If she has a good office helper, shes on top of it, if she is managing herself she loses e mail, doesnt get phone messages and struggles.

I am glad tlou got her

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Re: Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby exvet » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:51 pm

As one who lives forever in the saddle fitting nightmare and also has very short backed horses, Junior having the shortest back (proportionately and literally) but fortunately not as curvy as some cobs get, I too feel your pain. I have NEVER found upswept saddles work for mine. I also have found that the building up the back 'half' of the saddle does not work either. The saddle points MUST fit and they must fit in a way that they do not inhibit movement (usually a very wide well muscled shoulder accompanies the rest of the saddle fitting nightmare) and allow the saddle to sit down and around the horse's short back (front to back). The panels and flocking (or whatever filler you choose) must allow the 'dead' space to be filled and supported if you don't want to get dry spots or rocking. Of course currently I'm only referring to the horse, the saddle also must fit you. I too have had to deal with that conundrum because every single person wants me to be in or insists that I use a hoop tree - DOES NOT WORK FOR MY WELSH COBS and as important does not work for me. I'm a minimalist too when it comes to padding. Deep down if I only had to fit me, it would be passier or stubben but neither have a model that fits my horses. I am fortunate in that I found two saddle models that work for me consistently and both makers are well versed in welsh cobs. I've had to do my fittings long distance but they've worked beautifully. The saddle fitter I use knows point billets and knows how to modify them for the more 'challenging' shoulders. The nightmare that continues is that these cobs grow and develop over time so the 'upkeep' and refittings add up due to the shipping I must pay which is out the nose. I have had the shipping costs equal the repairs I've made to the saddle(s). That for me is hard to swallow. I use to get criticized repeatedly because I had so many saddles, well, considering my 'answer' has been sticking with this one fitter who for 12 years has not done me wrong, I have to have two saddles per horse and not all my welsh cobs agree on which saddles fit them. This allows me to ride while one saddle is at the shop because there is no such thing as a 'quick' turn around time despite the great and prompt service I get. I swear that one manufacturer should make me a sponsor just because of that one little fact.

Good luck because I know the nirvana that comes at the end of the saddle rainbow when it fits all to a "T" AND the desperation that builds while finding and waiting for it. I guess my consolation is that at least now I know the wait in my situation is worth it.

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Re: Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby blob » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:56 pm

Ugh, I'm sorry this has been such a hassle, MC. Hopefully you'll be able to get everything fixed now that you're back in contact with the first fitter.

I don't know what it is with saddle fitters. But I can never get the "good ones" around here to respond to emails or calls. If you catch them at a horse show, great. Otherwise, forget about it. It's annoying and frustrating--you'd think they'd want the business.

The equipe rep is one of the few responsive fitters in the area. But she only carries equipe (which are quite $$$$). And ultimately what I want most is a fitter who works with multiple brands and can help me find the best saddle for my horse.

Next time I need a saddle (which will be soon...waiting for RP to gain some more weight before starting the search with him), I will probably have to find someone good long distance...

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Re: Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby heddylamar » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:16 pm

That’s just so frustrating. I’ve “fired” my favorite vet, several farriers, and clients for being non responsive.

I need a new saddle fitter (if anyone has suggestions, I’m in Maryland) because while my dressage saddle fits great for the most part, there is a small dry patch under the left panel. I think it could be temporarily fixed with padding (long term, my eye says Maia has uneven musculature there), but may need to be re-flocked.

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Re: Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby Hayburner » Sun Dec 09, 2018 5:46 pm

Sorry this is such a nightmare for you and your horse!

I believe stueben also makes a saddle for short backed horses, as well as Prestige.

I would suggest that you look at the DP Saddles as many owners of baroque breeds use and love their saddles.

I know when I'm ready to saddle shop I'll be looking at the DP Saddles. My Andalusian is not super short in the back, but their Saddles look really nice and I'm thinking their fitters are probably use to working with the bred.

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Re: Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby 4Horse » Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:47 pm

My consider a swept up panel, some of the Stubbens have them as do a few others. Might consider something designed for a COB, Kent and Masters has one. I settled on a Stubben for my Arab, works great. Not sure a Stubben would go wide enough for what you need. Maybe look at Duett, they are made for wide horses, might have something that is for a shorter back too.

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Re: Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby Ryeissa » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:20 pm

any updates?
I have a Custom for mr shorty short, it's great-The panels are more compact and even thought its the same length 17.5" it seems to work very well.

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Re: Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby musical comedy » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:20 pm

Ryeissa wrote:any updates?
I have a Custom for mr shorty short, it's great-The panels are more compact and even thought its the same length 17.5" it seems to work very well.
I asked my fitter about the Custom with 'pony panels'. She said it wouldn't work for me. I ended up ordering an Equipe saddle from the local tack shop. I didn't even get to test ride in one of them. It's going to be semi-customized and I just have to trust that somehow the fitter will make it work. It was under 4k verus the 7.5k I'd have to spend for a Schleese. Here's a pic of one. I'm getting a shorter block and a monoflap. This saddle is foam stuffed, so you know the negatives about that. It's all about risk. I'm going to likely need some shimming. Anything will be better than this hunk of junk Amerigo I'm riding in.

https://malvernsaddlery.com/products/eq ... age-saddle

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Re: Saddle Fit Nightmare - Very Long Vent

Postby Ryeissa » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:29 pm

Good luck! Keep me posted


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