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fitting a saddle 101

2675 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  goathiker
I just got an aluminum saddle; I am not sure of the brand, I am led to believe it is an owhyee pack appears to be bult out of very light weight alum angle-iron with flat side boards..I'll post a pic as soon as I get a new digital camera. Anyways, coming from the horse world I am use to fitting a riding saddle to a horse, what am I looking for in a good fit for a goat saddle?
How tight should the breastcollar and butt-strap be? (I know those are not the actual names but you get the idea) It appears that they are not tight in the pics i see on here. Thanks!!!
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I forgot about the camera-phone! Here is a pic of the saddle; what kind is it? And I am missing the breastcollar..any ideas on what I need to make one? The guy I got this saddle from has attached carpet to the underside of the there supposed to be or should I pull it off when I get my pocket pad?


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I agree, it looks like an Owyhee saddle. The carpet was likely there already as this is how they were made by Owhyee. It's something I really dislike about them to be honest. The aluminum saddle is light, but the edges can be pretty hard, particularly as that carpet pad starts breaking down. The pocket pad is a good idea. The thick felt will certainly be better, but I may be tempted to still attach some wood or something with a rounded edge to that plate of aluminum to be sure that it doesn't just start working it's way into the felt.

Regarding the fit, the Girth Strap (belly strap) should be pretty tight. It should run a couple or three inches behind the leg pit. If you rock the saddle from side to side it shouldn't slip ... if it doesn't you need to tighten the strap. And check it a few times after waiting a while ... You might find your goat was pumping up his chest the first time as after he relaxes it is actually a little loose.

The breeching strap (but strap) is usually a little slack ... maybe not quite as slack as you have it, but enough so that the legs move around without being hindered. It mainly keeps the load from sliding forward in a decline.

Same with the breast collar, which you are missing ... just tight enough to remove the slack but not actually move the saddle forward. It looks like you have at least one part of the buckle for the breast collar. It should be fairly easily to put together a replacement with just a piece of webbing. You can stitch a thin piece of horse felt to the center to keep the webbing from rubbing and creating a sore.

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This is a Owyhee saddle and the breast collar is missing.

I would also add the pocket pad - keep the carpet underneath, it will give additional padding.

The angle of the picture isn't ideal but it also looks like the saddle sits a little bit too far back.
sanhester, Do you have any pictures of a goat with the saddle on correctly? From the picture above, I might be setting my saddles to far back too. How far off the shoulder blade should the front of the saddle sit?
I would like to see that also.
For the cinch wants to set right
behind the front legs. And that makes the
saddle set over the shoulders.
If you try and move it back the cinch will
not stay around the rib cage. It moves to
where the smallest area is (behind the
front shoulders).
this is where the cinch on a horse saddle sets
on the horse. Putting the weight over the shoulders.
The age old delima. I agree with everyone above in that you need a thicker pad. On a horse the shoulder blends in enough that the saddle sits much farther up on the shoulder. The goats shoulder sticks up when it walks so putting a flat sideboard on the shoulder will cause sore shoulders and rubs. With flat wood or metal sideboards you have to position them behind the shoulder blade or you risk problems.

The exception is the custom fit saddle with moulded sideboards which have a pocket in them for the shoulder. That saddle is designed to sit up where a traditional horse saddle sits. I also bevel the entire front of my wood saddles so that they can slide up over the shoulder on steep downhills. Flat boards will dig into the shoulder if you aren't careful about adjusting the straps. A thick pad is a must have item. It is the only thing that will help conform a round goat to a flat sideboard.

Remember that the rib cage needs to expand and contract to allow the goat to breathe and putting the girth behind the sternum starts interfering with that. I have seen girth straps placed everywhere from the sternum back to the middle of the belly with half the saddle hanging off the back of the rib cage doing nothing at all. As mentioned, the girth strap should sit directly on the sternum plate directly behind the front legs. Place it just far enough back so the strap doesn't interfere with the leg movement. If the saddle is built properly it should be in the correct poistion on the goat. You can fudge it forward and back an inch or so to accomidate differing body conformation for the most part. If you buy a meat type goat with huge shoulders then you may need a custom fit saddle with its adjustable girth and sideboard placements.
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How does this look?


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hard to tell with the panniers on.

Best way to see how a saddle fits is to put it on a goat without pad and panniers.
Ashley, I have 4 of these old Owyhee saddles sitting in my shed. If you'd like the breastcollar off of one I'd be happy to send it to you. Just PM me your addy or a request for my phone #.
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