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Fitting Your Saddle to Your Horse

When finding the right saddle fit for your horse one of two things have to be considered , where and how the saddle fits on the horse and the type of back your horse has. below are the most important things to get right when fitting a saddle for the horse and the rider.

Please note that these are only guidelines. Before purchasing a saddle please consult with your trainer or local professional.

1. Position: The saddle should be placed in the proper position on the horse. (to make sure your positioning is right look at the parts of the horse)

  • The front bar of the saddle tree needs to be behind the shoulder blade of the horse. If the saddle is positioned up on the shoulder blade it will leave room for non contact and will not be a good fit. If the saddle is a good fit it will stay in place on the horses back with as little movement as possible. Remember if the positioning is wrong nothing else will be right.

2. Pressure: Make sure pressure is distributed evenly over the whole saddle

  • The rigging has to pull evenly over the whole tree 
  • If the main pull is primarily at the front of the tree then you have to use the back cinch. For the back cinch to be of use you have to do it up snug to the horse.
  • The rider needs to be sitting central and balanced on the saddle, if the rider slouches into the back of the saddle w/ their feet forward it puts pressure on the back of the saddle.
  • The seat has to be made to enable the rider to sit properly, to do this the low point of the seat must be ahead of the points of the cantle and there must be enough room for the rider in the seat . 
  • A bad seat has the low point right at the base of the cantle and a rise that forces the rider to sit back in the pocket where the stirrups are hung relative to the low point of the seat also affects how the rider can sit.

3. No Poking: No high pressure areas

  • Check the bottom of your saddle for lumps, bumps and other protrusions, especially check under conchos and strings where the stirrup leather comes up, over and underneath the bar to make sure there are no rigid pressure there.
  • With your saddle on the horse( with no pad) see how sturdy it is also try rocking it back and forth and if there is a lot of movement the saddle is not a good fit.

4. Padding: (choosing the right size saddle pad)

  • How big? You want the pad to expand about a inch or two on the outside of your saddle.
  • How thick? Half an inch would be the minimum to protect the horse and an inch would be the maximum. More than that and your saddle will be less stable and you will have to over tighten the cinch to stop it from rolling.