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5 Tips On How To Properly Fit Horse Saddle

Properly Fit Horse Saddle

When a saddle sits well on your horse, it offers comfort and aids performance. On the other hand, the opposite might cause discomfort, pain, and even injury to your beloved horse. This uncomfortable situation might also affect the harmony between you and your horse, which you always need during the ride. But most owners get overwhelmed when it comes to selecting the right saddle. That’s why we have curated a list of five great tips from experts on how to properly fit a horse saddle so that both you and your horse will have a pleasant experience during the ride. Let’s get started.

Read Also:The Importance of Proper Horse Saddle Fit for your Equine Partner

Five Tips to Fit a Horse Saddle Perfectly

Tip 1: Understand Your Horse’s Body

If you’re well aware of your horse’s anatomy, you can make that perfect adjustment to the saddle. The shape and size of horses vary from one another. While fitting the saddle onto their body, consider the following aspects:

Withers: This indicates the ridge between their shoulder blades. Withers can be low, medium, or high. And, the saddle should exactly match this.
Back Length: Does your horse have a long back or a short one? When the saddle fits perfectly onto that, it avoids pressure on their body.
Muscle Structure: Go for a saddle that perfectly compliments your horse’s muscle structure. Well-developed muscles require a different fit than those with less muscle volume.

Tip 2: Measure Your Horse Properly

The saddle should properly compliment the body of your horse. So, before you buy a saddle, take a tape and measure the following aspects:

Gullet Width: Take a measure of your horse’s gullet. It will help you determine the exact width of the saddle’s tree. FYI, the tree is the frame of the saddle. When its width does not match your horse’s gullet, the horse may sense pinching.
Back Length: Measure the length from the base of the withers to the last rib. The saddle length should match this measurement. Make sure, it does not exceed the last rib. Otherwise, it may put pressure on the horse’s loins.
Wither Clearance: Make sure the saddle provides enough clearance as per the height and shape of your horse.

Tip 3: Regularly Check the Fit

The duty doesn’t end with buying a perfect saddle. What’s more important is to check its fit on your horse regularly. Horses can develop weight and muscle with age. So, here are some tips on how to ensure the proper fit horse saddle:

Inspect the pressure points: Look for signs of uneven pressure under the saddle joints. It can be dryness, patchy spots, or hair loss. These signs indicate the saddle is not properly fitting to the body.
Check Saddle Balance: The saddle should sit level on your horse’s back. If it is tipped, the horse may feel discomfort, affecting your riding posture.
Observe your horse: Pay attention to how your horse moves under the saddle. If they show discomfort (e.g., tail swishing, or ear pinning), adjust the saddle.

Check Also: Saddle Fitting for Clydesdale Horses: What You Need to Know

Tip 4: Consider Your Riding Style

Depending on your riding style, the choice of saddle might also differ. For instance, here are some scenarios.

Dressage Saddles: If you need to have close contact with the horse, consider dressage saddles. They have a deep seat and straight flaps. The ergonomic design allows for a longer leg position.
Jumping Saddles: These saddles are designed to offer a flat seat. Plus, you get forward-cut flaps to make the stirrup shorter, – easy for jumping.
Western saddles: These saddles are useful for trail riding and working cattle. You get a larger seat and a high pommel. That makes you feel comfortable over long rides.

Tip 5: Seek Professional Advice

If you don’t want to risk your horse’s comfort, consider taking professional advice. Whom should I contact? Well, you can contact a saddle fitter or your veterinarian.

Saddle Fitters: These professionals are known for helping people find the right saddle for their horse. They measure your horse, check the saddle fit, and advise necessary adjustments.
Veterinarians: Veterinarians can advise better from the health perspective of your horse. If your horse has any medical condition, consider asking a veterinarian first. They will guide you to make the right choice.

End Thoughts

A well-fit horse saddle ensures your horse’s comfort and aids you in enjoying a smooth ride. So, make it a habit to check your horse’s compatibility with the saddle daily. On the other hand, before you buy a saddle, consider your horse’s anatomy and your riding style. If you are still not sure, do not hesitate to seek advice from a professional. A great fit will not only benefit your horse but also the rider to aid performance and coordination.

Other Resources:

The Art of Saddling: Tips and Techniques for a Perfect Fit

Western Saddle Fit for Young Riders

Male vs Female Horse Saddle Fit

English Saddle Fitting Guidelines

Written by

Thanks for dropping by! Sara is our blog writing expert and trained herself in endurance riding. Through her articles, she is trying to inform others more about equine life and its related terms.

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