How To Fit A Saddle
How To Fit A Saddle
Whether you are buying a saddle or wish to check to see if the one you have still fits correctly, this VideoJug guide will show you how to fit the perfect saddle.
Step 1: The Benefits
A good fitting saddle is absolutely mandatory for the comfort of your horse.
It improves the way your horse will work, making him more willing.
It won't interfere with his natural movement and most importantly, it will evenly distribute the rider's weight. This will prevent saddle sores, rubs, trapped nerves, bad backs, lameness, evasions, and spinal diseases!
Step 2: You will need
- A selection of saddles - narrow, medium and wide
- A measuring tape
Step 3: Place the saddle in the correct position
Begin by removing the numnah or any saddle cloth that the saddle usually sits on. Never fit a saddle on with anything underneath. Tie your horse up on a flat surface. Begin by placing the saddle slightly up your horse's neck. Gently slide it backwards, so that the saddle fits directly behind the shoulder blade. On most horses, the shoulder blade feels like a large lump underneath the wither area.
Step 4: Determine the correct width
View the saddle from behind, or in front. You should clearly be able to see daylight through the gullet or channel running through the saddle. There should be a clear distance of roughly 3-4 fingers when you place your hand at the pommel area, which is the arch at the front of the saddle.
Step 5: View the seat area
When viewed from the side, the seat area should be horizontal. When viewed from the front, the saddle should fit snugly around the horse's shoulders.
Step 6: Determine the correct length
Sit on the prospective saddle. You should be able to fit one hands width behind the pommel, the arch at the front and one hands width in front of the cantle, at the back of the saddle. If the saddle is too long, it may cause pressure on the horses loins, causing a sore back.
Step 7: Measure the saddle
With your measuring tape, measure from the centre of the cantle, at the back of the saddle to the point of tree at the front of the saddle. As a general rule, children's saddles are under 16 inches and adults, 17 inches plus.
Step 8: Try the saddle
Always try out a potentially correct saddle, by riding in it. Begin by doing up the girth straps firmly. The saddle should not move excessively in walk, trot or canter. The saddle should always be in contact with the skin on your horses back. It must feel comfortable for the rider but bear in mind that a saddle needs to be well worn, just like a pair of shoes, to mould to your horse's back and to your bottom! So, once you've chosen the correct saddle, stick with it!