Saddle fitting it’s so hard to get it right and so easy to get it wrong.
Horses change and people change and saddles change … and they all change more than you would think… And, more often than you would think.
Can I Skip the Saddle Fitting?
Whether you already have a wonderful saddle or you are looking for a new saddle, a regular check up on the fit of the saddle for both you and your horse is warranted.
Regular saddle fit check-ups are especially needed for young horses who are growing both end with muscle and height. And it’s also important for horses that are continuing up the training scale and are changing the shape of their muscles regularly.
Should I Fit the Saddle to the Horse or Rider?
Many people think they have to sacrifice one or the other’s (horse or rider) comfort to find the right saddle. The right saddle will be comfortable for both.
If you haven’t found a saddle that both you and your horse love, then you haven’t looked long enough.
Short backs, long backs, slope back, slab-sided, withers too tall, long thighs, short thighs, little butts, big butts – we all come in so many different sizes and so do the horses!
The rider’s skill level also has a lot to do with what kind, make or model of saddle is appropriate.
It’s really important that everyone sits in balance, with the spine of the rider balanced over the spine of the horse – both laterally and longitudinally.
Personally, I love my Custom Saddles. I love being a representative for them because no matter the size or shape of my horses or my riders there is always a combination that seems to fit what we’re looking for.
However, your saddle is only as good as your saddle fitter.
What Kinds of Problems Does a Saddle Fitter Solve?
Your saddle fitter should be skilled in all of these kinds of biomechanics.
For example, if your saddle is too narrow and pinches the horse behind the withers, he’s not going to want to move his shoulders.
Or, if the saddle is too long and sits behind the center of gravity of the horse or impairs the lower back from coming up, your horse will also be unhappy.
There are so many pieces to saddle fitting that it’s best left to a professional who has been well-trained in biomechanics and saddle fitting.
What Can a Rider Do to Help with a Saddle Fitting?
Your honest feedback and comfort level and reports on what happens to your position or your comfort level, whether you’re being rubbed in the saddle in inappropriate places, or it puts your lower leg too far behind you, are all factors in choosing a saddle.
You must try to find a saddle that allows you to draped around a horse in your center of gravity over your horses center of gravity.
If you’re an amateur rider, I encourage you to have your trainer or instructor involved. They may know you the best and your position challenges or your horse’s challenges and can share useful feedback to the saddle fitter.
No matter what type of saddle you have, your saddle is as only good as your saddle fitter.