This has to be one of the most frustrating parts of riding a horse. After 10 years of practice as an Equine Sport Therapist I think I found a way to explain the basic rules of saddle fitting.
Why isn't there one saddle that
fits them all?
The only hard and fast rule to saddle fitting is listen to your horse. Signs that your horse isn’t happy include, but are not limited to, head tossing, bit chomping, bucking, rearing, bolting, fidgeting while tacking up, and difficulty bending. All these may be caused by other influences as well, but why not make sure your saddle isn’t the issue.
The saddle is not always the problem. Sometimes it’s the rider sitting in the saddle. Even the best riders can have hip imbalances that will show up on a horses back. If you exhausted all your saddle options, then you need to seek assistance. This hip opening yoga video might be just the tool for you if you’re not sure about getting professional help.
Next you need to slide your hand up under the bars of the saddle and feel along the back. If you can wiggly your fingers then it bridges. Bridging causes pressure points, pressure points cause pain., pain causes cranky horses. The good thing about saddles that bridge is that you can to some degree fix this by filling in that space.
This are the very basics of saddle fitting. I’ll be going into more detail next week on how to tweak your saddle once you’ve got a decent fit. If you don’t want to miss that post then you may wish to subscribe to the blog by filling out the form to the right of the screen.
Cyndi Bird, CEST