Well, ok, now I have owned a Peruvian horse for over a decade but I have never had the opportunity to acquire Peruvian tack until lately.  I have always ridden that mare in my heavy western saddle and never had any issues. I recently purchased a second full blooded Peruvian mare she came with a beautiful Peruvian bit and that pad that goes over a Peruvian saddle.  I think its called a pellonera or maybe a pellon.  Forgive my ignorance.  I will post photos of it. While I have looked at photos of the Peruvian saddles yesterday was the first time I was able to actually feel and ride in one.  A friend has a saddle on loan to me and I am thinking of purchasing it from her.

Anyway, I have the two mares that I have put this saddle on.  The first mare I used a rug of sorts that I know was not adequate but it was what I had for the day so I gave it a whirl.  After about an hour and a half ride, I untacked her and the right side of her back was wet and the left side dry and her spine area was dry and I got to thinking, thats odd, but like my husband says due to my bum leg I ride heavier on the better leg and that explained part of it.  The horses performance was fine, no gaiting issues and from what I could tell other than the saddle sitting high over the spine I thought well, it fitted her pretty good.. BUT!  Those dang wet and dry areas were telling me otherwise.

On the other mare I was able to use my fleece pad and the second mare after being worked for about an hour came up dry over her spine and dry on the sides but wet where the pad was by the fenders.  So it got me thinking.. is this how a Peruvian saddle should fit judging by those sweat marks?  I dont know!  I do know the mare worked fine on Saturday while using the heavy western saddle that I have ridden her in for many years and  on Saturday as usual, the saddle area was wet and there were no hot spots at all.  She worked fine that day, no gaiting issues and was eager.

So now today (Monday)  I tried the Peruvian saddle and used the blue fleece  ppad that I used with her western saddle and after about a half hour she was tired and all she wanted to do was walk.. so we finished the session just walking.  She did not appear to be lame at all..  but we walked the  final minutes of her session and after untacking the Peruvian saddle, she was only wet  a little and pretty much where the fenders and cinch area was covered by the fleece pad and dry on both sides above there and also dry on the spine..... she was balky on the later have of the session and was not to eager to go as she was  when on the trail ride.  

So ok, tack experts.. whats the verdict.. is this an ill fitting saddle on both the horses? or just one and which one?  I dont really have a clue how the  "sweat" is supposed to show  after a ride with a Peruvian saddle so I need some opinions here.

Here is the second mare that was balky and trail ridden the day before.... 

Here is the first mare (below) ridden in a different rug.. and I know I should  prolly find on that fits the cut of this saddle.. and it has the pellon (pellonera ?) on the top of the saddle....

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Comment by Karen Nesbitt on November 19, 2014 at 2:18pm

I did not find any "comfort zone" for the horse with the above saddle.  It seemed to pinch both of my horses.  It was also a little snug on me so I did not get that saddle.

I did acquire another one and got very lucky with the fit on one of my Peruvians as well as for my bottom.  I do hope it fits my other horse as well as it does the first.  That would be excellent!  So when I get another good weather day to ride here, I will be checking the fit on her!

Here is Milly... A few things wrong yet and a few things needed to complete my ensamble with her.. first.. the saddle pad is wrong.  Its a great pad.. just not the right shape for this saddle.  I love the washability of this pad and am kinda stuck with it until another comes along that I acquire.  I am still looking for the floron (guarnicion) and retrancas.  Found a lovely one, but it appears it is not for sale.  I also  need to acquire a Peruvian bridle. 

Michele Ripley, thank you ever so much for your comments.. they were very very helpful!

Comment by Michele Ripley on November 19, 2014 at 9:11am

Since no one has replied so far, I'll give it a try. I do saddle fittings in person, but I have never tried to explain HOW to do it. I was taught to do it hands on, but it's a very visual and feel type thing. 

The sweat zone should be even on both sides. To check saddle fit, put it on the horse with no blanket. Start with the front up on the withers and slide the saddle back towards the tail. Somewhere mid back, it should sort of "stick". There should be a spot where it locks in. If you can't slide it, it doesn't  fit. If it never locks, it doesn't fit. 

The front edge of the Peruvian saddle should be just behind the shoulder and front leg. When the cinch hangs down, it should be about 1 1/2 the cinch width behind the "armpit". If you zoom in on the attached 

photo, you can see the pad is a little further forward,  but the saddle itself sits behind the shoulder mid back. The yellow line notes the back side of the shoulder. The red line notes the front of the saddle. The corona and wool pad are in between the two. Cinch is behind the stirrup. You don't want the saddle so far back that it pushes into the horse's kidney area. (I'll try to get a riderless photo. This was all I had on my phone.)

When you get the saddle to the lock position, take your hand and run it palm side up from the front center of the saddle around the edge of the tree with your fingers under the saddle. Between the saddle and the horse. Just your fingers. Your fingers should be able to slide but not get stuck. I'm not exactly sure how to describe it. It's a feel thing. Make sure the horse's head is up. When they put their head down, it screws everything up. 

If you can side your fingers along the tree on both sides of the front, next stick your hand in the front of the saddle right on the horse's spine. There should be a gap. The saddle should not be resting right on the spine. If it does, it doesn't fit.

Next, do the same fingertip slide on the back of the saddle along the tree. Your fingers should slide but not get stuck. Then stick your hand in the back of the saddle on the spine. Should be a gap.

If all this has panned out, the final test is to see if the saddle rocks at all front to back. It should stay locked and not rock.  If it does, it doesn't fit. Some saddles have a more curved banana shaped tree. You have to have the right horse for one of those.

In general,  an 11 inch saddle should fit most horses. I attached a photo so you can see where to measure. The inside of the lowest part of the front of the tree before it starts to curve back. But just like with people, horses are not "one size fits all". 

I have a small mare, just over 13 hands. Very petite. She would drown in an 11 inch saddle. Luckily, my first Peruvian saddle only had a 9" tree. It is perfect when I start a young Peruvian before the fill out. Between 9" and 10" was pretty standard 25 years ago. The palomino in the photo above fits best in a 10" saddle. Unless you get an older, used saddle, they really don't make those sizes anymore.

So what can you do if you have a narrower horse and the "normal" current saddle tree is too big? You can get an English "equalizer pad" to help broaden your horse in the shoulder area. Typically, you don't want a pad that goes all the way to the back of the saddle, that's why the English type seem to work better.

Peruvian Tack (below) has a great booklet. How to Tack the Peruvian Paso. It is great. It lists all the parts and pieces of both the saddle and headgear. Has drawings to show what goes where. You'll have to call though. They no longer have a website.

Peruvian Tack

5775 Fieldcrest Drive

Camarillo, CA 93012

Phone: (805) 482-3145

I hope that makes sense! Let me know if you have any questions. 

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