Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fitting Options

I had a request a couple of entries ago for photos of some of the fitting options I'd mentioned. Here you go, with examples of how each is meant to work.

First is a trapezius or dropped panel:

This panel is useful for horses with a good wither and dips below it, like so:

The dropped part of the panel will snug into that dip and keep the saddle from nose-diving into the withers.
Next option is the K panel (named for Kay Hastilow, Master Saddler, QSF, who originated this design):
This configuration is good for a roof-backed horse with "shark" withers:

The extra panel depth works the same as a dropped panel, but is better for a more extreme conformation.
This is a wither gusset:
It's often used in conjunction with a dropped or K panel - again, to help keep the front of the saddle off the withers.

Here's a photo of an upswept panel:

The rear edge of the panel is curved upward rather than being squared off. This is a great help in fitting short backed horses (particularly if the rider requires a large seat size) and horses who are built rump-high.

Another helpful fitting option is an extra-deep rear gusset (don't have a photo of that - sorry; just imagine adding extra depth to the gusset). Works well for a horse with a big back-to-wither difference, and is sometimes used with the K or dropped panel.

While these fitting options (and others) are available from most of the better UK-made saddle makers, these photos are all of Black Country saddles. I'm going to make a shameless plug for Black Country Saddlery here and say that I absolutely love dealing with them. They deliver saddles to us in 4 weeks or less, and they FIT. If there's ever a problem, they make it right immediately (or as immediately as the Atlantic Ocean and 4 time zones allow - I've had Nikki Newcombe, their sales manager, reply to my e-mails on weekends and at odd times of the day and night). Can't say enough about the quality of their saddles or their customer service!

No comments: