Fitting is free if you bring your horse to our yard.
If your horse is within a 25-mile radius of Bromsgrove, arrangements can be made for us to visit and
bring along a selection of potentially suitable saddles for you to try.
A £40.00 call-out fee is charged if we have to come to you.
These saddles would be based on your stated usage & cost requirements as well as the size/breed of your horse.
Bridle and bit fitting can be carried out at the same time.
SADDLE FITTING BASICS
Please do not clip the saddle area of your horses back, it gives natural protection against the saddle and re-growth causes friction.
If you have a sheepskin saddle cloth the fur side should be on the horses back to allow air to circulate and give a small amount of padding.
The use of half pads between the saddle and a saddle cloth is pointless and is affecting the fit of the saddle.
A cotton saddle cloth with a swan neck or high wither is perfect for a well fitting saddle for up to an hours use, it is only there to soak up the sweat and to that end have 2 or 3 on the go so you have a clean one on most days.
Saddle-shaped numnahs should only be used for competition i.e. Hunter classes, if used daily they ruck up and the seaming causes friction sores.
Riser pads should be used for short term only, i.e. when bringing a horse back into work that has lost condition. If you need them all the time then your
saddle does not fit. Using riser pads to give a cushion to your horses back is ineffective; the flocking in your saddle takes all the impact.
Close contact saddles are very hard to fit if it is not made to measure for your horse so beware of buying second hand. The profile of the panel is either
preformed latex or was made by rasping foam to fit the specific horse it was made for so you will probably need a riser pad. Prolite are the best riser pads
due to their high density but then of course it will no longer be a close contact saddle!
Saddle size - 16in or 18in? This will not affect the horse, this is the size of seat you need because of rider height/length of thigh. I am 5ft 8in and take
a 17in saddle; this keeps me in contact with the knee blocks and gives me a secure seat to drive the horse forward without moving around. A 6ft rider will
need an 18in saddle to allow room for thigh length.
The gullet, the channel up the middle of the underside of the saddle, should be at least 3 fingers wide as this is the width of the spine and its
processes. If you cannot run three fingers from front to back it should be discarded.
Saddle too long for horse - the saddle should not go past the last rib (18th) as the rib cage will no longer be supporting your weight. The muscles of
the loins will be doing so and this may result in a sore back.
Width of saddle - very important and you cannot gauge the width of a saddle by measuring between the d-rings!! It is the internal measurement which matters.
Width of saddle - to measure a template you will need a flexi curve from a decent stationer, place this over the horses back approx 2 fingers behind
the shoulder blade and bend it over the wither with the centre of the curve on the mid-line of the spine; this will denote the required tree width. If you
did this monthly and recorded it on the same piece of paper you would notice the fluctuation through a whole season showing work load and change in
The saddle tree is measured from behind the shoulder blade since this is where the saddle sits. If you put the saddle too far forward you will find the
saddle slipping back to this point. As I have observed with many a bitten lip at nearly all the shows at which I compete; the ritual getting off before they
go in the ring, pull the saddle forward (or worse do it whilst mounted, grabbing hold of the saddle and jerking it forward) so it is then over the shoulder
blade and restricts the horses jump. By fence 2 it is usually back in the same place unless aided by the elasticated breastplate, a complete form of torture.
Most English saddles trees are made of laminated wood, with a metal head plate riveted to it, then two flat springs going lengthways either side of the spine. Most continental saddles are made of plastic trees.
The webbing is then stretched over the tree, the tightness of which denotes the depth of the saddle. It then has a foam or latex pad placed on top then the leather seat (which has been soaked) will be stretched over the top and stapled underneath. It’s then left for a few days to dry out and to allow it to go tight.
The underneath panel, with the flocking already in, is then laced into the seat leather to create the finished saddle
SADDLE FITTING PROBLEMS/ISSUES
Asymmetrical saddles are caused by an asymmetric horse which is usually caused by an asymmetric rider!
If the rider feels like one leather is longer than the other or they put more weight on one stirrup iron than the other then they are asymmetrical and
should get themselves straightened out first (I did). Otherwise it will lead to asymmetrical shoulders in the horse causing the saddle to move off to the
diagonal opposite at the back. Long term riding like this will cause even more of a knock on effect for both horse and rider.
Another cause for the saddle slipping to one side at the back has been shown to be some form of hind limb lameness
Sore patches /white marks behind the wither - This is where the stirrup bars are so when you do rising trot all your weight will go into your stirrup
irons. This in turn puts the weight on the stirrup bars and if your saddle is not suitably flocked the saddle will rock, lifting at the back and leaving
pressure sores and then white hairs.
All saddle fitting is subjective so we all have our own theories of how a saddle should fit. My observations and opinions are made with the horse in mind
before the rider. Sometimes the rider will have to change their way of riding and learn to sit in balance with their horse. Sometimes the tree is wider than
you would like as you want a narrow twist in the tree however your horse will soon be crippled by back pain
I work with several back specialists who recommend that I refit customers saddles. I prefer not to simply sell a new saddle but refit the existing one
however, in some cases, those experts can be wrong and no amount of adjustment will do the horse any favours
Be wary of buying online, but then I would say that!
A new synthetic saddle will be better for your horse's back than a second hand saddle that has been pre-moulded to the shape of the previous horse and rider. Anything over 12 months old will ideally need checking.
A new saddle will cost approx £1000 but could last the lifetime of your horse. If fitted to a 4/5 year old this could be 15 years till he is 20, which works out at less than £100 a year plus an annual check to readjust the flocking.