High withered is a term saddle fitters hear frequently, and it can refer to a wide variety of horses of all sizes and shapes. Whether your horse has a wither like a shark’s fin, a lengthy wither that extends into the saddle area, or a little back form. Continue reading to learn how to fit a saddle on a high-withered horse.
A horse with a high wither can be difficult to saddle properly. A horse with a “normal” form will have well-defined withers, however, some horses’ withers are particularly lengthy and slant rearward to form a sharp slope descending the back. High withers are more common in thoroughbreds, saddlebreds, and warmbloods, but they can also be found in other breeds.
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To establish proper saddle balance, the saddle tree must reflect the curve of the horse’s back, with higher withers typically necessitating a deeper tree. Deep-treed saddles may incorporate drop panels for further support in the front of the saddle. The drop panel is shaped differently to allow for additional coverage to support the front of the tree and maintain wither clearance.
Saddle Point Strap
Be mindful of placing the point strap on the saddle if your horse has a high wither; check with your qualified saddle fitter before making any girthing adjustments.
Ensure that your saddle cloth does not pull down onto your horse’s wither and cause pressure. Many saddle cloths are now cut to high wither designs and attached at the dee rings to prevent the saddle cloth from sliding down onto the wither.
How To Fit A Saddle On A High-Withered Horse
Your saddle cannot rest on your horse’s withers simply because it has high withers. With a clearance of 2-3 fingers, the saddle should still clear your horse’s withers by around an inch. If the saddle sits too high on the horse’s back, it is excessively thin. The tree is too wide if the saddle rides down less than an inch or touches the withers.
There are numerous pad alternatives for horses with high withers. A cutback saddle pad has a cutout for your horse’s withers, allowing them to pass through without any additional padding. The Big Horn Tuffy High Withers Pad and the Tucker Toklat Wool Blend Pad with wither cutout are two popular options.
If your horse has exceptionally high withers, you may need to allow the withers to avoid the pad and also level the slope toward the back to distribute weight.
Final Thoughts On How To Fit A Saddle On A High-Withered Horse
The greater ability of a horse with abnormally high withers to stretch its stride can actually boost its performance. This implies that if the proper saddle fit is achieved, your horse may surpass the competition. High-withered horses are easier to fit since the condition is more prevalent than other difficult-to-fit conformations.