Trying to keep a saddle back and off the shoulders is an absolute nightmare on quite a few horses
Tia especially is one. She has huge shoulders, a forward girth groove, is built very on the forehand (very bum high) and when she engages her back the saddle is thrown forwards by her huge movement. She is also totally round with no withers and a very short back.
Every saddle fitters favourite
After having no end of trouble with her bucking in canter (her saddle was banging off her shoulders) her owner started to loose confidence and I orgainsied the saddler to come out and have a look.
Tia had a wintec wide. Although a fairly nice fit width ways it was too curved and the girth pulled it forwards. If you used the point strap to help prevent the girth pull the back rocked up and off her back.
So she now has Pink's old xx-wide 17'5 inch Thorowgood griffin cob which had been altered to dressage girth straps and Flair instead of flocking. But even then the saddle still slide forwards
So the saddler has been rather clever and rigged my girthing arrangement for me and it's has almost elimated the problem. No longer does the saddle slide 6inches up her neck. It slides about an inch, if that. And Tia has finally stopped bucking
I know others have had this problem and have been interested in the girthing so I finally got round to taking pictures. (excuse the colour tint - it's my phone camera)
This is what used to happen. The saddle was right on top of her shoulders (shown by red line) and was very uncomfortable. Notice the 'normal' girth position - on the centre of the saddle flaps
The saddle is actually wide enought for her but the balance is rubbish - all the weight is tipped onto the panels at the back and causes a very uncomfy pressure point.
This is Tia's saddle where is should be. It sits behind her shoulders and no longer interferes. But notice how far forwards the girthing is in relation to the saddle.
The balance is now good and pressure distributed evenly.
This is what the saddle has done to the saddle. The saddle already had dressae straps attached from when Pink had it (helps stop it rolling sideways) but she has fashioned a leather donut girth keeper. The back (balance strap) has been used to keep the back down but the point strap holds it far forwards.
The keeper is very thick, strong and inflexible leathers. The point strap holder is a very very tight fit (very hard to adjust) and anchors the keeper at a set point on the point girth strap. The back strap's hole is a little looser (but still tight) and slides a bit better. When shuffled to the correct balance between the two the keep holds the girth forwards. Note the angled slits so the straps aren't too distorted.
Its very easy to do and not too expensive. The dressage girth straps were expensive (£40) since I chose to have good quality leather used but they can be done with thorowgood synthetic stirrup straps. The donut cost £5 each. A very simple way to eliminate the pull of the girth, which is the cause of 90% of the forward sliding.
It's not perfect - the front has had to be lifted (using air in on this saddle since it's got Flair) otherwise the it sits too low. You wouldn't want to use it on a saddle that has small surface bearing panles at the front (the Thorowgood cobs has HUGE panel area) as it pins the front down. The flocking easpically needs to be good. But since no saddle will ever not slide on Tia due to her shape, it's solved a really annoying and common problem.
I've tested the saddle with my Port-Lewis Impression pad and the weight is almost evenly distributed. The is very
slight more weight on the front 3/4 of the saddle, but not enought to cause problems. Tia is certainly happier.