A different kind of phenomenon is a case where a horse ’s back is wider than usual. Again, most saddles are configured to fit the wide variety of horses with relatively normal backs.
Horses with wide backs would require special considerations. On the other hand, a loose bar angle will throw off the riding experience.
As we mentioned earlier, most horses have a general range on these things, and they can usually fit into one of a few categories. Again, if your horse requires a saddle with a wider gullet, you’ll have to get one custom-made.
However, like the rest, this has a lot of fine qualities; things you can expect from a reliable and durable horse saddle. The other qualities of this saddle include a well-balanced wood and fiberglass tree, a well-padded fleece underside, as well as a very comfortable leather seat.
Additionally, because it’s made of malleable closed-cell foam, it can even fit on side backed horses without pinching or causing the animal pain. It is made of genuine 100% cowhide leather and it comes in a single color: dark oil.
The saddle has a padded seat and its tree is made of fiberglass, making it strong and sturdy. The Ace rugs Western Parade Show Pleasure Trail is a truly beautiful saddle.
If you’re not already sold on its design and quality makeup, it might interest you to know that it has padded ergonomic stirrups that provide optimum comfort. It also sports a hard seat, with the headstall, reins, and breast collar included.
Ace rugs Western Leather Tooled Ranching Pleasure HorseS addle has a 7” Gullet, and at 35 pounds, it weighs slightly more than many of the other saddles we’ve considered. Double reinforced fiberglass tree; soft padded suede seat; synthetic; lightweight build.
At just 17 pounds, the Ace rugs Barrel Racer Western Cordoba HorseS addle is one of the lightest saddles on this list. It is made of a synthetic Cordoba material that’s lightweight and easy to fashion into comfortable positions.
Like all quality saddles, it is hand stitched and made with a high level of precision and attention to detail. This horse saddle has a deep glove leather seat and a medium-sized tree (6 ½” Gullet).
The Tahoe Synthetic Basket Weave has the narrowest gullet on this list. It sports a beautiful basket weave leather design on its pommel, castle, fender, skirt, and stirrups.
The seat is made of a comfortable combination of leather and lightweight synthetic material. Even though it has a relatively narrow gullet, it still fits a wide variety of horse builds.
The Winter Semi-Quarter Western Saddle is a favorite among equestrians for its simple, minimal and lightweight design. Unlike the classic leather saddles, this one is made of a lightweight synthetic material.
The saddle features an Equipped memory foam padded seat, with a lightweight washable DuraFabric. With a wide 7” Gullet and a comfortable fitting body, and a total weight of approximately 20 pounds, it’s designed for both equine and equestrian.
The YTZ Enterprises Racing Saddle is made of premium leather, as you might have gathered from the name. Everyone who owns a widebackedhorse will be glad to know that its gullet measures 7”, the widest available on the market.
This saddle has a hand-carved, soft fleece underside with a beautiful basket weave leather design. The manufacturers claim that the Winter Full Quarter Western Saddle can be ridden in all weather conditions.
Unlike many of the other Ace rugs saddles on this list, this product is not made from 100% leather. The only thing better than the simplicity of this saddle is its lightweight build and shock absorption construction.
This saddle ’s skirts and fenders are made of scratch-resistant synthetic material, which makes it extra durable. Besides the leather, its other parts are made of premium materials, like the hand-carved tooling, the well-padded fleece underside, and the well-balanced fiberglass and wood tree.
The seat is padded, providing support to not just your buttocks but your lower back as well. If that isn’t convincing enough, you’ll be glad to know that the Gullet has a 7” dimension, making it suitable for many wide back horses.
There are a lot of things you have to consider, from ensuring your horse has an adequate diet, to looking out for common diseases like thrush and ulcers. If your horse ’s back has relatively standard wide girth, you will find many of the saddles on this list suitable.
For example, the Mustang Soft Ride Saddle is made of very versatile and malleable material. On the other hand, you can also get the Ace rugs Western Parade Show Pleasure Trail, or any of the other 7” gullet saddles, if those will fit your horse.
Cobs, natives and traditional breeds can be tricky to fit a conventional saddle to as they tend to have flat blacks, round barrels and large shoulders. The general design features tend to include a low profile to minimize bulk between your seat and your horse ’s back, flatter panels, a wider gullet and a straighter cut to ensure a secure fit whilst still allowing freedom of movement.
The T4 model is made from a synthetic material with suede effect seat and knee pads, making the saddle very lightweight. Kent and Masters offer an adjustable, leather saddle with a flatter tree shape to compliment the low wither, flat backed profile of a cob type.
The saddle features straight cut, slim line panels to reduce any bulk between horse and rider, moveable knee and calf blocks and changeable birthing options. Designed for wider horses, with a drippy material on the seat, also offering a close contact feel, optimizing perfect balance.
The straighter-cut flap and panel give maximum freedom of movement behind the shoulder, making it particularly suitable for native breeds, cobs and wide horses. And sometimes saddle slips occur even after you’ve tried everything to prevent them: riding in a sidesaddle, using a nonslip girth and pulling the cinch as tight as your core strength allows.
[Disclaimer: EQUUS may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our site. On the other side of the equation are those shark-withered Thoroughbred types who sprout white hairs even under a sky-high gullet.
Your saddle stays put, but you’re always on the lookout for signs of damage to your horse ’s back and withers. Yes, there are all sorts of horses whose shapes make finding the right saddle difficult, and there’s a lot at stake.
A saddle that pinches a horse ’s shoulders or presses on his withers can have all sorts of negative effects. A saddle that doesn’t fit causes tension, and when his body is tense, every footfall hits the ground with greater force.
The answer is a resounding “yes!” Over the last several years, innovations in saddle making have made it possible. If the tree fits the contours of your horse ’s back, everything else will fall into place.
Fortunately, there are literally hundreds of variations in bar spread, flare, width, rock and length that can enable saddle trees to fit the contours of any equine back comfortably. • Bars (rails on an English saddle) are the two strips that run parallel to your horse ’s spine and are connected in front of the fork or pommel and in the back by the castle.
If the bar angle and the twist are a perfect match for the horse ’s back, chances are everything else will fit as well. “You would never want to put a flat tree on a horse with a bit of a sway in its back or vice versa.
But some broad- backed horses aren’t built like your typical Howell pony. Sometimes that broad back crops up in other types, like Baroque horses or gained breeds.
A broad- backed horse will probably take a sidesaddle, but be aware that those with very wide twists can be uncomfortable for the rider, so be sure to look for saddle designs that fit you, too. “Some of my saddles, like the Fidelity dressage model, offer a more sloping pommel shape,” says Temple.
“You can be in a very wide Fidelity and be amazed at how comfortable it is.” Other ideas include suspending the tree slightly over the horse, but that can mean a loss of contact. Note that many round-barreled horses are also short in the back so consider round-skirted Western saddles over square skirts if that’s the case for yours.
To ensure a good fit the saddle features a changeable gullet system, movable blocks at the knee and calf, and four birthing options. • The Big Horn Harbinger Saddle, now made by American Saddlery, comes in leather and synthetic Western models, with 15 ½-inch and 16-inch seats.
Models available include Western trail, Cascade Wade, renegade endurance and plantation trail, with different design choices including leather color, skirting style, rigging options and tooling. Many Thoroughbreds and their crosses, Appendix Quarter Horses and other athletic riding types sport high, sharp---“shark”---withers that make saddle fitting tough.
Many of these horses have withers that taper into a broad, athletic back with a well-sprung rib cage. Opinions vary in the saddle -fitting community over whether it’s advisable to buy an extra- sidesaddle and add padding at the withers to make it fit.
“A more angular horse with hollows behind the shoulder does better in a tree with a longer point,” says Anderson. High-withered horses will benefit from models with thicker gussets and trapezium or K panels, which fill in hollow areas behind the shoulders.
• Collegiate Saddles offers hand-crafted leather saddles for a variety of English disciplines---including dressage, evening and jumping---all with the Easy-Change Gullet System, which allows you to select a gullet bar that best fits your horse. • Barrel racing or gained saddles, available from many makers, tend to offer ample clearance at the withers.
“The key to high withers is finding a saddle with sufficient clearance,” says Anderson. “The two- to three-finger rule isn’t an accurate measure.” Instead, Anderson suggests riding in the saddle for about 20 minutes.
Then check that the saddle is not resting on top of the withers, both at the gullet area and toward the stirrup attachment or bar. He looks like a bulldog from the front, with a concave pocket behind his shoulders and a fair average back.
There is so much variation in this group that you’ll want to consult a certified saddle fitter or speak with a few manufacturer representatives to be sure. “All riders know that their horse changes shape due to changes in diet, work program and maturity, and naturally they get frustrated when they discover their saddle no longer fits their horse perfectly,” says Ron Bates.
• The Cashed Trail Saddle, made by Martin Saddlery, is built on the Axis saddle tree, which features bars that curve away from the horse ’s shoulder to avoid interference and stirrup leather cutouts along the bars to allow for even pressure along the back. The Western-style trail saddle weighs just 24.5 pounds and has a soft, double-padded seat for rider comfort; it sells for $1,695.
And often traits that seem to go together naturally---tall and narrow, round and short, and the like---don’t when it comes to equine withers and backs. But if you take the time to analyze how your horse is put together and what a “good fit” means for him, you’re more likely to choose a saddle that will make you both happy.