Suzanne is the lucky owner of two wonderful piebald cobs, Shaun & Wilf. Wilf is a true Piebald and Shaun is all white except for his head! Wilf is 14.2 and now 24 years old. Shaun, show name Shaun the Sheep, stands just under 15.3 and is much younger. Suzanne does mainly dressage, schooling and hacking but enjoys a bit of cross country on Shaun. She now does all her lessons, competing, xcountry and horse camps on Shaun although Wilf is still active and ridden and often hacks out with a friend on board.
A couple of saddle “problems” came up in our discussions with Suzanne and they are problems many share.
Suzanne is tall and the cobs are short backed. Ideally Suzanne needs a seat size bigger than the cobs can accommodate.
Part of the solution lay in the choice of saddle, a dressage saddle, a Suzannah. To make the saddle more flexible for hacking and the occasional jump across country, we suggested the saddle have two sets of blocks, one full dressage, one shorter and also GP girthing.
The other part of the solution is to be practical: fitting “rules” state that a saddle must not extend beyond the last rib but in the real world lots and lots of horses and riders are not anatomically suited and this last rib fitting “rule” sometimes needs to be interpreted with some discretion. Rather than whether the saddle extends a little beyond the last rib, we believe THE most important “rule” is that the saddle is in balance by which we mean that the rider sits naturally in the centre of the seat and the weight of the rider is evenly distributed over the entire bearing surface of the saddle. If the saddle is too small for the rider, the rider will tend to sit on the back of the saddle. The rider and saddle will not be in balance. This will create discomfort and soreness for the horse
Suzanne would like to use the new saddle on both cobs
Wilf is sway backed and Shaun is too but less so. The saddle will have a custom flock with pure white lambswool. The idea will be to flock the saddle more to Wilf’s shape but given the soft consistency of the flocking it will work for Shaun too. We don’t want the saddle to “bridge” on Wilf ie it makes contact at the front and back but not in the middle. Conversely we don’t want too much shape in the saddle for Shaun so that it makes more contact with his back in the middle of the saddle than either front or back. But Shaun is a bit sway backed too and the soft consistency of the flocking material will do the trick. All a bit tricky but possible!
This all being said, it turned out there was a different solution to “problem 2”! Two new saddles ie one for each was not an option but Suzanne began to ask herself whether it made more sense to gear this new saddle more towards Shaun than Wilf. Wilf is getting on in years now, with hopefully many more to come but most of her riding is on Shaun. So it was decided to fit the new saddle to Shaun and look out for a second hand saddle for Wilf. It turned out, Ian had just the thing, a Minster dressage saddle that he could offer Suzanne at a very good price.
So, in the end, both boys were fixed up! Suzanne has just taken delivery of the saddles and we are waiting to hear how she and the boys are getting on.