Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canberra Australia
I’d be sceptical. Most of what people go on about saddle fit is nonsense and not driven by the needs of horses, but, instead, by marketing and the needs of the people who manufacture things like that. And they take advantage of people’s un-sureness about how saddles should fit.
The problem with much of what people think about saddle fit is that the bars of the saddle have to cover entirely the horse’s back and conform to the shape of the horse’s back. Now that is true, but only to a degree; and that is why you can, and should get saddles to fit the type of horses you ride, not the individual horse.
Firstly fitting a saddle to a horse’s back isn’t about just getting bars that precisely conform to the horse’s back, rather it is getting bars that distribute the most weight possible over the largest area possible while allowing the greatest range of freedom of movement for the horse’s back under the saddle. If the bars fit precisely to the contours of the horses back while it is standing on flat even ground, they could well be restricting movement somewhere.
So essentially the total criteria for what a good saddle is is entirely different from what many people think it is.
Add to that the fact that horses backs change considerably over their lifetimes and the same saddles can fit them throughout their lives. For example, of my old work horses I have one left, he is now 21 or 22, I can ride him in the saddles I rode him in 17 or 18 years ago and they still fit him fine.
Presumably if you are thinking about mapping your horse’s back you are thinking of having a custom saddle built? If so, I would forget that thing and just talk to the saddler and tree maker, they no doubt have their own methods of ascertaining how to make the tree to fit that would probably be better than that thing and not cost you 100 bucks.