SADDLE FITTING ADVICE

After the purchase of your horse a new saddle is likely to be one of the most expensive items you purchase for your horse. Therefore it is important that a saddle is correctly fitted to both the horse and rider to ensure perfect harmony.

In order to assess your horse please provide me with two pictures and a template as shown below.

You can send the information and pictures by e-mail to heather@saddleconsultant.co.uk or by post, to my address as shown on the contact page, or use the form which is accessed from your chosen "Saddle Purchase Box " to send your details.

Make sure your horse is standing on square or level ground:

FIRST PICTURE - Taken from the nearside showing the top line and shoulders.
SECOND PICTURE - Taken from the rear showing the back and withers.

      

Taking a Horse’s Template.

Ensure the horse is standing still and square on firm level ground.

You will need either a flexicurve or a straightened wire coat hanger. An A4 pieces of paper with your name, address and contact numbers, and the horse’s name. You will also need the near and off side, clearly marked on it.

You will need to take three templates - the wither, the back and the spine.

The Wither Template

This should be taken 5cm behind the shoulder blade, carefully mould the flexicurve to the shape of the horse’s withers. Once this has been completed transfer the flexicurve to the paper making sure you keep the curve to the correct near side and off side on your paper. Now carefully trace the inside of the measure onto the paper giving the exact contours.

 

The Back Template

The Back Template should be taken 23cms behind where the wither measurement was taken. This should coincide with the location of the last rib on the horse and thus denote the extent of the saddle support area. Once taken transfer this to your paper.

The Spine Template

This should be taken from the withers to the last rib, again mould the flexicuve to the shape of the spine and transfer onto the paper marking clearly which is the wither end.

Having completed all the templates check they are correct by repeating the procedures.

A guide to seat size

The seat size is measured in a straight line from the saddle nail at the head to the centre point of the cantle.

Seat sizes are as follows as a guide

15” child

16” to 16 ½” child to small adult

17” to 17 1/2” adult

18” to 19” large adult

To get the rider's correct seat size you should ideally be able to place 3 to 4 finger's width between yourself and the cantle of the saddle. The saddle should be purchased large enough for the rider to be able to stay away from the rise of the pommel.

Trying the saddle

The horse should be assessed for soundness and his/her back checked for any injuries or other problems, a saddle cannot be fitted and tried on a lame horse.

Once you have selected the saddle it should be tried on the horse to assess the fit of the saddle, then be ridden in by the rider.

With a new saddle it may initially look a little raised but should looked balanced when viewed from the side, used saddles have usually be worn in already.

The saddle should be assessed in halt on a flat surface for the riders seat size and general fit. Ideally walk the horse for 4-5 minutes to allow the saddle to settle then work the horse in trot and canter on both reins also over jumps if necessary.

The horse should move freely and you should have at least two finger's clearance between the saddle and the withers.

The panels should be in direct contact with the horse's back along either side of the spine.

Saddle Fitting Essentials