2015-12-15: Hi! You're probably here because you did a Google search for 'plus sized horseback riders' or you saw my content quoted elsewhere. There are a couple of things I'd like you to know.

I am still here! But I am living away from my horses and not riding often. I could tell you a lie and say that I am, but I have always endeavored to give you the truth here. As a result, I'm not feeling terribly motivated to write blog posts and I feel out of touch with the community.

I'd love for you to stay a while and look back through the archives. Visit the links listed below. We still have an active forum community and I post on the Facebook page from time to time.

I have tentative plans to try to get more involved in the horse world in 2016, and I will absolutely share whatever that adventure becomes with you, so keep checking back!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Saddle frustrations... again!

My goodness, I can't believe September is nearly over!

This is my favourite time of the year, that is absolutely certain. Not only is it my "birthday month" but I love when the evenings get cool and fresh and blow out the stale air from the day. You actually feel a little bit more human - we have been plagued by a ridiculous amount of humidity this summer, so the cooler evenings are definitely a welcome reprieve.

I have known this blog entry was coming for a few weeks now, and it makes me pretty sad.

Anybody who has been reading along knows that I struggled quite a while to find the right saddle for Bronwyn and I. She has shoulders like hams and a very broad back and try as I might to get the "cheap-and-LOOKS-wide-or-is-stamped-wide" saddles I could find locally to fit her, I ended up deposited on my head more than once from slipping saddles. Finally, a blog reader pointed me in the direction of Duett saddles and I acquired my 19" 38cm Companion Trail on eBay.

At the time, it was a good fit for her as she was quite overweight and had been out of work. I continued to ride her once a week or once every two weeks (or sometimes less often than that) and never had a problem. Her gait opened up, she was very clearly a happier horse.

Since I moved her to the boarding barn in June, she has lost some weight from the work and gained some muscle and about a month and a half ago, I noticed some dry spots under the saddlepad, on her shoulders. Right away, I ordered a half pad with gel inserts to try and fandangle a quick fix until I could afford to get a new saddle.

Unfortunately, it became apparent in two rides that the half pad isn't going to do the trick and might have, in fact, been exacerbating the problem. (Insert giant sadface here!) I noticed that when I put leg on to ask for an extension about 20 minutes into the ride, she made nasty faces, bumped up and slowed up almost to a stop. She was trying to even rear a little the last ride.

This horse endured MANY saddles that didn't fit so great without so much as saying boo - she has never, in her life, EVER, been naughty under saddle. Scared and a little flighty? Yes, maybe - but never needed a spank, and forward motion has never been an issue either. This was her telling me, in no uncertain terms, that something is very wrong with the saddle/half pad combination, and later, the same thing with no half pad. After getting a set of eyes on the ground, we determined that the saddle is now so wide that there are parts of it sitting on her withers that should never come in contact with her withers. So I sold the saddle - it was entirely nonfunctional for us at this point, so no use in keeping it around.

I picked up a Wintec Wide on Tack Trader that I am still waiting for (should be here next week!) and for now, we are riding this way:

We both enjoy this kind of riding (yes, that's my leadrope tied to her halter!), but she also likes to work, so we are both looking forward to the saddle coming. We are currently working on trotting bareback, which is going swimmingly. :)

I really love Duett saddles, and as far as I am aware, they are one of the only brands that is designed on a hoop tree for horses with shoulders like hams (AND design with seats up to 20"), so I want to stick with a Duett and have put my mind to purchasing my first ever brand-new saddle - so I contacted Nancy from Duett and we are going to work together to figure out what she needs and go from there!


  1. We have a draft cross and use the Wintec Wide on her. I have not had any issues with it so I hope you have good luck. All my horses have been tricky to fit, but the Wintec Wide gullets helped a lot. We too went through a number of saddles so I feel your pain.

  2. Me too! I guess I got Haffy's wintec wide on you. I'm very happy with mine, it fits Heidi, fits me and it's comfortable! I couldn't be happier!! Good luck, I hope yours is as nice as mine!!

  3. Saddle issues are not fun!
    Having been through the ringer with my mare which resulted in her full on rearing due to the saddle not fitting correctly (long story as to why i didn't immediately have it checked was that it had just been sold to me as fitting her - who was i to question the professional...so had everything else checked to no avail! Grrr - still makes me so mad!)
    Since i found a better saddler who sold me a correctly fitting saddle we have had considerably less issues - but well done you for locating the problem immediately! Wish I had - would've avoided a lot of heartache and I'm pretty sure my horse would have a better rep on our yard! :p
    Hope new saddle arrives soon and that all goes well with ordering your new one!

  4. If you ever get the money to drop on one, look into getting a CorrecTOR. The website looks like it was built by a crazy person, but every person I have spoken to that uses one loves it. When I was shopping around for a mammoth donkey to train for riding (didn't happen because I wound up having to move), the breeders I selected loved theirs for all shapes and sizes. They are expensive, but worth every penny from what I hear.

  5. I've recently bought a Barefoot treeless saddle (http://barefoot-saddlecanada.ca/) for my favourite horse and had an experienced fitter out here only to find out the saddle will be suitable for his full sister also (pleasant surprise).

    What I like most is that the only hard piece in the works is the fork over the withers, which zips into a leather 'pocket' and is changeable for different horses or a horse's differing shape over the course of a year even.
    There were 2 forks that came with my saddle (a large and a medium) and I was surprised to find that my morgans are both mediums when I thought they'd be larges.

    I also like the sheepskin-backed saddle pad that attaches right onto the rings of the saddle and has extra pads that can be slipped into pouches that have velcro closures if needed.

    I was always afraid of treeless, worried they'd slip around the horse when I mounted or something, but I have found this Barefoot saddle sturdy, secure, & very comfortable for me and my horses