Some helpful tips to make your life easier when it comes to saddle fitting and choosing the correct saddle for your horse or pony.
What's a good analogy of Poor Saddle Fit? Imagine trying to walk or jog in shoes that are too tight or too big. Or hiking out carrying a backpack that is too big, too tight or too loose, or has an unbalanced load, on your shoulders. It causes pain, poor performance, and no matter how hard you try, you simply can't get comfortable or do your best.
Horses, Saddle fit, and Saddle trees:
The key aspect for proper saddle fit should always be the best fit for the horse. Horses of different shapes require trees of different shapes and curvatures.
You cannot successfully, or comfortably, especially from the horse's perspective, use the same type of saddle tree shape in varying widths to fit every horse.
Most riders agree that the correct saddle fit for the horse is paramount. It is, after all, the horse that is carrying the weight of the rider. We want him/her to be as comfortable and happy as possible. In saying that, the rider still needs to feel comfortable, balanced, and secure in the saddle, in order to ride well. Poor saddle fit for the rider directly affects the balance of the horse and will impact the horse’s ability to perform to its best advantage.
For the rider’s weight to be carried and distributed evenly without pressure points, the saddle tree must be similar in both width and shape/curvature to the horse’s back. Just like we humans, horses come in a variety of builds and shapes. They require different tree curvatures not simply the same tree shape/curvature in different widths.
Once you can identify fitting issues and correct the fit of your saddle, or work out which saddle tree best suits your horse, you can bring out the best in your equine partner and yourself, in any discipline; for competition or pleasure.
When fitting a saddle to a horse, there are several important key points to consider. The following points are the most important and could be considered the golden rules:
- Saddle width (or gullet width)
- Saddle angle
- Saddle length
- Saddle tree shape
- Saddle Placement - The Sweet- Spot
- Saddle panel contact
- Billet points position
- Saddle Symmetry
- Saddle Pads
- Rider Saddle Fit
We encourage you to review the Saddle Fit Tips Articles (1-10) to help you to get an understanding of the key factors to consider when selecting the appropriate saddle, for both the horse and rider as a combination.
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