Saddle Fitting

There can be many reasons why you need to have your saddle checked or re-fitted. Below are some easy-to-spot signs for when your saddle may need some attention.

Also, horses can change shape over time, so even a saddle that was once fitted, or even made to measure, may not fit properly anymore. This can happen as a result of age, workload, weight, breed and many other reasons.

It’s worth getting your saddle checked every six months to ensure it still fits well.

Signs your saddle may need attention

The most common reasons for contacting a saddle fitter:

  • Cold backed
  • Shortened stride
  • Unwillingness to go forward
  • Tripping excessively
  • Being girthy/unhappy when tightening the girth
  • White hairs or sores developing under the saddle
  • Bucking, rearing and nipping

Other signs to look out for

  • Your saddle sits right up at the front when girthed – If the saddle is raised more than a fist at the front, while tipping down at the back, it’s a general indication that your saddle is too narrow and pinching in the withers.
  • Your saddle has no clearance over the wither and the pommel sits right down on the horse’s withers – This would usually indicate the saddle is too wide and could therefore cause pressure and discomfort.
  • Your saddle is throwing you forward and lifting at the back when riding – The saddle could be too wide and dropping at the front or the tree is too curved, causing a rocking motion which will lead to uneven weight distribution and central pressure.
  • It just doesn’t look right – Getting a saddle fitting just right can be a matter of feel and experience. If the saddle just doesn’t look as it should and you can’t work out why, we’d recommend getting an expert to take a look.

What to expect during your appointment

Your consultation will include:

  • Full saddle evaluation, including on site flocking adjustment if needed.
  • Horse evaluation, including taking templates of your horses back.
  • Mounted assessment of the saddle fit, although you won’t be asked to ride in a saddle that clearly doesn’t fit. Ideally an arena is the most suitable place for this, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry – a dry and flat field will be fine. 

How Long Does a Saddle Fitting Take?

Please allow at least 1 hour for a saddle check.

During this time I will assess your horse and saddle (both static and ridden), I will advise if any adjustments are required and where possible make any minor adjustments on site, and I will advise if I feel your saddle is no longer suitable.

How Often Should I Get My Saddle Checked?

It is recommended that saddles should be checked at least twice a year.

However, some horses change shape more often due to fitness, condition and age and therefore would require more regular checks.