How can you tell if your saddle fits both you and your horse well? And what can you do if it doesn’t? We’re here to help!
A saddle is by far one of the most important things in horse riding, both for you and your horse’s comfort. Saddles should support the rider, while not compromising the freedom of movement of the horse. If a saddle does not fit properly, your horse will experience discomfort and is not able to move freely.
Continue reading to find out about the signs that your saddle doesn’t fit properly.
Signals that your saddle may not fit your horse right
Does your horse become fussy when you put the saddle on its back? This could be a sign that your saddle does not fit correctly. You might think your horse is trying to get out of work, but maybe the saddle is causing discomfort. Another sign is when you see rub marks or white spots on your horse’s back where the saddle normally is. If this is the case, you should definitely contact a professional, like the ones on our team, who would be happy to help you.
However, not all signs are this visible. Improperly fitting saddles could cause back pain for your horse, which you cannot see on the outside. You can quite easily check your horse for back pain by pressing your fingers on the muscles beside its withers and spine. If the muscles feel tense and tight, your horse’s back is quite possibly sore. Also, if you visibly see a negative reaction in your horse, he might have back pains caused by your saddle.
Just checking your horse is not the only way to see if your saddle fits. By looking at how your saddle is positioned on your horse’s back, you can definitely get an idea of how well your saddle fits. Firstly, make sure the saddle is balanced on your horse’s back. It shouldn’t be leaning forward or backward. The pommel should be just as high as the cantle if you have a saddle with a ‘normal’ seat. Saddles with a deep seat will have a higher cantle (mostly dressage saddles) and saddles with a shallower seat will have a lower cantle (mostly jumping saddles). Secondly, you should make sure your saddle does not put any pressure on your horse’s withers when riding. When you are on your saddle, you should be able to put a hand in between the saddle and the withers. If this is not the case, the tree of your saddle is probably too wide, causing the saddle to lean down onto the withers and shoulders. Lastly, if your saddle slides on your horse’s back while riding, your saddle probably does not fit well.
Signals that your saddle may not fit you right
Lastly, your saddle should not only fit your horse perfectly, but you as a rider as well. If you experience any discomfort while riding, such as not being able to keep your legs still or not feeling stable in your saddle, your saddle might not fit you well.
What can you do to make your saddle fit better
If any of the things stated above sound familiar to you, your saddle most likely does not fit properly. But what can you do about it? The best thing to do is to let a professional take a look at your saddle. They are trained to advise you on these matters. In contrast to what most people may think, the fact that your saddle doesn’t fit properly does not mean you will have to purchase a new saddle.
The right half pad for example may be the perfect solution. Acavallo is one of our own personal favorite brands when it comes to half pads to help make a saddle fit better. If your saddle is not balanced, an Acavallo half pad might be the perfect fit for you. They offer a front riser, middle riser, and back riser to balance your saddle. If you ride multiple horses with the same saddle or if your horse is still young, the Mattes Correcting half pad could be a nice solution as well. This half pad comes with separate inserts, so that when your horse gains or loses muscles, you can adjust the half pad yourself. But beware; a half pad cannot compensate for an improperly fitting saddle completely. Please consult a professional before starting to use half pads if you do not know if your saddle fits well.
What we can do to help you
At Our Saddlery, we have an elaborate team of saddle fitters, saddle brand experts, and even a horse ergonomic! Our team profits from their years of experience in a wide variety of horses, saddle issues, brands, and all other aspects that are important when fitting a saddle.
Do you think that your saddle may not fit you or your horse well? Or are you looking for a new saddle and are you completely sure about what the right model or size would be? Contact our experts! We are always happy to help.