Specialized Saddles


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Specialized Saddles - My Experience with my Curly Deluxe Trail horse.


Horses are hard to fit saddles on..don't believe it? just surf the tack sales pages, your local tack store, the newspaper classifieds...you will see a ton of saddle for sale, all types all sizes, but can it be just a bit easier than trying out a hundred to get one to fit?

Are you having "training issues" with your horse?  Not going forward? cinchy, refusing to work effectively? tossing their head?  all these problems and MUCH MORE can be traced to a simple cause, saddle fit. Saddle fit is something alot of folks don't think about, you throw something on them, maybe something you have "always used" and got at it, and then you wonder, is my horses bad behaviour a training issue? must I be firmer in my request? only to find a great resistance in the horse?  You can read my account of the battle for saddle fit in our barn, and our solution.

Last summer,  we have decided that Mike will learn to ride, and I need to tune up Krinkle Clown for my own mount. Though the logical choice for him, I know she has had some issues, DUE to saddle fit....so, here we go.  I tried my western saddle on her, yuk !  she has always rushed downhill, and now is no different, but in addition to rushing, there is some refusal, and just general "MY BACK HURTS" coming from her...so, we tried a crupper, we tried a britchin, and not much better results.  People might ask, how do you know her back hurts ?...well, this mare is bomb proof and LOVES to go, she will go anywhere as long as it is level or uphill, but head her downhill ( even towards the barn) and NO......we either dance, jig, hunker,  she also tosses her head,  or she just refused to move, no matter what.  I need a trail saddle, one she is comfortable in, and me too! She is my Curly Deluxe Trail horse.

Then, the book, Saddle Fit and a horse's guide to a pain free back ( or something close to that ) and I learned way more about saddle fit, than I ever knew.....THIS IS A RECOMMENDED READ for all horse owners, you owe your horse this knowledge.

Teresa R. of Idaho sent out that link on "Specialized saddles", These saddles ARE different, you start with a saddle built on a tree, just like any other, then you fit the horse from the tree down, with neoprene pads and shims, more where you need more padding, less where you don't. They also have several models, I was searching for a trail saddle, something with english leathers and no horn, but a deep enough seat to be comfortable for hours on the trail. They ALSO have English and Western style saddles. I needed something for MY Curly Deluxe Trail horse.

  AND...I see something I like....the International model,  built on an English tree, with leathers instead of fenders, and NO horn ;-) Very popular with the endurance riders, this might be my answer to the trail saddle I have been searching for.

I contacted the folks at www.lostjuniperranch.com and tried out a demo. These folks are great, if you are in their area, they will come fit a horse themselves, but also with photos of your horses back, and good solid info, they can help you from a distance. They are knowledgeable and honest, a good combonation indeed!

Ho did the trial of the "Specialized Saddle"  work for us? Well, the first outing, after we left the arena, I pointed Krinkles down the hill, and she WENT willing,  right down the steepest part...no dance, no jig, no fuss!  and we have been going everywhere ever since! She relaxes and trots willingly,  all I had to do, was cluck  squeeze my legs a bit.....now that is the way to fit a Curly Deluxe Trail horse!

These saddles are reasonable in price and considering we were thinking on buying a gelding to ride instead, it is a HUGE cost saver to me. The thing I really like about this saddle, is the ability to change the fit for each horse. I ride a variety of horses here, each of which have a different ( though similar ) back fit. Krinkle Clown is a real exception on saddle fit, partly due to her age, and her back being drawn down from years of having babies.

IF this hard to fit mare can be fitted, just think how easy a young strong backed horse would be to fit. You can fit any Curly Deluxe Trail horse!

SO,  if you are considering buying a new saddle, you might consider the "Specialized" ones,  or if you have a hard to fit horse, and can see saddle fit is the real issue, it might be well worth your while to try this out.

This is a valid topic, especially in our world of hard to fit horses, I really am pleased with my results, and since Mike has gone every step with me, from the refusals to the head tossing, he was competely amazed that this worked. We will be searching for western version for HIS Curly Deluxe Trail horse.  The proof was right in front of him ;-)

UPDATE! October 2009:

2009 update.....Once again I am putting my specialized saddle to the test.....This year's fit is a tough one...our gaited mare "Ally"  who is short backed, and very nearly always looks as if she could have that foal at any minute....so, our 4th horse that we have fitted was a real test!  I got what I consider a good fit on Ally, though I will add a crupper, just to help out a bit. The cinch is pushed forward a bit, once we ride for awhile, due to that big belly..next years foal ;-) so,  here she is...Ally modeling her saddle....and another successful fitting for us!



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