Fitting a saddle
I decided that my old saddle is being to show wear, look a little shabby so I decided to fit a new one. I stripped the saddle down to the bare tree but left the seat on it since it would require sowing to replace. I did flip it up and fasten the 2 wings together so I have an un obstructed view of the tree.
I will place this bare tree on my horse marking the spots where it touches and the spots where it doesn't. I will then add filler to the spots that don't touch and grind the high spots down. Over the next few days I will try and fit the tree to his back giving me maximum contact.
PSI is the my weight divided by the square inches that contact his body. This should not exceed 1 psi or the back can become sore. I have dad saddles with almost 300 square inches but I am afraid I can not get more then 120 square inches of support out of this saddle putting the pressure on his back at about 1 1/2 psi/pounds per square inch.
I would like to finish the tree off with a nice covering of foam about 1/2 inch thick over the entire underside before putting the factory cover back on.
At the same time I move the billets for the girth back about 3 inches making the saddle cinch down more in the center then forward.
All this is an effort to keep his back in good shape and keep him running happy.
I just did a careful check and it digs hard into his kidneys, doesn't even touch in 2 large areas on either side and agian digs a corner into his withers. It really is pathic how bad it fits and I'll bet 99% of the horses are running around with ill fitting tac. Unless you strip a saddle down how do you know the fit?????
I will build areas up, do another fit and grind or build until I get uniform pressure all along regardless of how many test I require.:-):-)
Actually, the most recent number that I heard was approx 85% of saddles don't fit. Fit depends on a lot of different things, including the horses level of training. The horses back changes when a rider is added to the equation. Does the back drop under the rider's weight? can the horse engage is core and lift the back under the rider? These will both change the pressure points in a saddle that is fitting when the horse is stationary.
As far as determining fit, how is the horses posture? Palpate the back, where are the tight muscles? Is it restricting movement in the shoulders? Is it extending past the last rib, interfering with the hip? How does the rider ride? Where is the rigging in relation to the heart girth? Even if a horse has a high pain tolerance, his back muscles and movement will not lie if saddle fit is an issue. What type of pad is being used? Has the pad been overused? Is it adequate? Is it too much padding if the tree is that close of a match to the back? Many things determine saddle fit.
I do run 2 heavy pads.
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