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Basic Saddle Fitting Guide

24 April 2011 One Comment

Making sure your saddle fits is vital to your horse's happiness.An ill-fitting saddle can cause pain and discomfort for your horse during riding which can lead to poor performance. Because of this, it's vital that your saddle fit correctly. Advanced saddle fitting should be done by a professional, but you can use this guide to see if a pro is necessary.

Your horse should be standing squarely on level ground. Lay the saddle forward on the horse's withers without a pad or girth. Tug the backwards and the saddle should feel like it "locks" in place. Many riders place their saddle too far forward on the horse's wither, restricting it's shoulder movement.

The lowest part of the seat should be parallel and even with the horse's back. A saddle that is tipped too far forward will make the rider tip forward, and cause the horse to be heavy on the front end. A saddle and rider tipped backward will cause the horse to hollow it.

Next, move your hand under the panel. It should feel snug and evenly pressured throughout. The panels should be evenly flocked without any lumps or divots. The main point is that there isn't any areas that have uneven pressure.

Now slide your hand under the pommel, it should also feel even and snug.

Now, using a crop or ruler, align one with the front seam of the saddle and one with your horses wither along the shoulder. The lines should be parallel. If they cross in any way, the tree doesn't fit.

You should also check the rest of your equipment (saddle pads, girths, ect.) with your saddle to make sure the saddle still fits the same way.

One Comment »

  • Ellen said:

    I never realized how important it was for a saddle to fit properly until my horse developed kissing spines. Thanks for sharing this with everyone, it’s so important!

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