Correct saddle fitting can make all the difference to both you and your horse when it comes to comfort and safety. It is the all-important link between horse and rider. Although there are a number of saddles available to fit the variety of uses for a horse, we’re going to stick to the all-purpose/general purpose saddle that most recreational riders already own.
The horse’s neck, back and shoulders are what give the rise to the shape of their withers – where the saddle should be sitting. The most common mistake made is putting the saddle to far forward over the withers, creating rubbing points and potential sores for the horse.
Key points to look for when correctly fitting a saddle:
It is important to note that saddles are not a one size fits all piece of equipment. Saddles have to be fitted for the horse’s body shape and depending on weight gain, you may need a couple of saddles for the different seasons. If they have been out in the pasture with minimal exercise for a while, it is quite possible that their previous saddle will not fit them anymore. Similar to this, a saddle that is comfortable for dressage may not be suitable for trail riding or show jumping.
Using the wrong saddle for a horse can give them a sore back or even saddle sores. It is important to check on your horse routinely to feel for signs of swelling and heat. After taking off the saddle, look for turned hair or rub spots on your horse’s coat that could be a pre warning of saddle sores.
As saddle repairs and replacements can be very costly, it is important to look after your horse and your saddle. Select one that suits you, the type of riding you do, and especially your horse as every ride you take is a special bond between the both of you.