Sunday, May 5, 2013

The woes of saddle fitting

Ok, this is my issue: my 35 year old Crosby Mark VI doesn't fit Harley, especially for long trail rides. He's had sore spots after long rides, so I figured it was time to do something as we head into the season. We had a saddle fitter come out and assess the situation. The channel is too narrow. It's also too curvy for his back and seems to bobble a bit. Now I'm on the hunt for a perfect fit both of us. This is what I'm dealing with: Thoroughbred withers, but a broad back behind.

So far, I've tried a County Eventer--sits funny, felt better on the "horse" at the tack shop.

A Harry Dabbs Jaguar XJS--very comfy, a little unsure about the wither fit with me aboard, but a definite contender. It's has a "familiar feel" to the Crosby, more of a HJ than AP saddle and I like where it puts me on him.

And here's a Stubben Roxane S--seems to have a bit of a bobble like the Crosby, and not sure about the channel width. I'll give it a whirl today (ooh-don't say that, Spinner Man may get ideas).

We ruled out a Jeffries, a Bates Caprilli AP, a Collegiate Sr. Event, a Wintec AP. The Wintec fit him well, but I couldn't stand all that bulk between my horse and myself. As the tack shop associate said, "like having a whole village between your legs"! She and I both prefer the feel of little to no knee roll. Some of the jumping saddles have blocks above your thigh which doesn't seem to bother me, ie. the Jaguar and Roxane, but the Wintec had a good 3 inches of saddle, knee roll, and padding--UGH! I could feel it in my hips after a while. So, given the price of these beasts, I'm not rushing into anything and will take my time to find the right fit.

On the humorous side of things, I was reading/writing on my camp's Facebook page one night, and a comment pops up from non-other than the saddle fitter who had just been out earlier that week! She had attended Camp Catherine Capers for 10 years, but a different decade. How small a world it truly is.


  1. The second saddle looks the best fit, all the others are slightly tilted to the back.
    There is more play in the wither fit (the traditional fit being four fingers I think) than we have been taught to believe, so maybe try it a few times and see what Harley tells you!
    My "Weird" saddle got the go ahead from the osteopath, with the same caveat - see if he gets sore!

  2. I've put the Jaguar aside for now, but plan to keep on looking. My dilemma is I like the feel of a close contact saddle over some of the bulky AP saddles, but they never rarely give you D-rings to attach extra stuff (ie. carrot/camera bag)! The hunt continues--anyone used Smith-Worthington's out there? I covet the Trainer model, but the pocketbook is moving me towards the Avalon. My saddle fitter has recommended avoiding foam-filled saddles so that limits me a lot, but her reasoning seems sound--can't make adjustments and some foams put a lot of pressure on the stirrup bars. I certainly don't want discomfort for my fuzzy guy!

    1. Yeah I've gone off the gel-flocked/foam-flocked, too. They were The Greatest New Thing about ten years ago, but then it became clear that they are difficult to adjust - need to be stripped out and reflocked with traditional stuffing when the gel/foam is too compressed


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