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Saddle fit

This is a discussion on Saddle fit within the Saddle Fitting Issues forums, part of the Horse Tack and Equipment category
  • Does a western saddle harm a horses's kidneys
  • How to ride australian saddle kidneys

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    03-08-2010, 03:47 PM
  #11
Green Broke
Maureen, I did that same measurement on Stella and she measures 9 inches down from 3. Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide girl!
     
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    03-08-2010, 04:40 PM
  #12
Showing
I took my wire and set it on all the girls. They were all pretty much the same except Saro. She's much wider

Just an FYI for everyone, Take this measurement about 2-3 fingers back from the back edge of the shoulder/scapula bone.
     
    03-08-2010, 06:28 PM
  #13
Trained
If I will be riding a horse in a saddle for a long while or decent amounts of work, I will get it professionally fitted.

But for short amounts of time or not much work (For example I haven't had Latte's saddle fitted yet as I have only been doing half hour rides at the most) then I fit it myself.

First I have a good look at their back - Is it long or short? Is it flat or does it have quite a sway to it? Where is the horses shoulder in relation to their back? Etc.

Then I go have a look at what saddles we have (The luxury of having more saddles than horses :]) and pick out some that I think might work.

To look at fit, I sit the saddle on the back with nothing underneath and my horse relatively clean.

Firt thing I do is make sure it is in the right spot - it needs to clear the back of the scapula to allow the horse freedom of movement. Most kids (Including myself) are taught to put saddle waaay too far forward on the back - I did it for years. It was only when I got a horse who physically told me it hurt, that I realised the error of my ways, and now I preach it to everybody :]

Once the saddle is in the right spot, I look at the size of the saddle comparable to the horses back. A large saddle obvously isn't going to work on a short backed arab - You don't want the saddle to sit too far back over the kidneys. Horses don't have ribs supporting the spine here, so you don't want to much weight too far back.

If the saddle fits the back, then I look at balance. The lowest point of the seat should be the natural place for you to sit, and the pommel and cantle should be fairly even, or as close to even as the saddle design allows (Certain saddles are built with higher pommels or cantles). Basically, it should look even and comfy.

Once the saddle looks good from a distance, I get in close.

First and most obvious thing to check is wither clearance. The saddle should clear the wither by at least a few fingers - Enough that when weight is in the saddle it still has an inch or two of clearance. The saddle should never come into contact with the wither.

Next I walk around to the back and look down the gullet from behind. I check that the pads are clearing the spine all the way through, and that I can see daylight - meaning the channel is free of the spine the whole way through. The pads need to sit an even distance either side of the spine, and not too close to the spine.

Now I will go back to standing beside the saddle, and place a hand on the pommel and one on the cantle, and try to 'rock' the saddle. If the saddle is a good fit, you should only get minimal rocking. If the saddle rocks a lot, it means the pads are too 'bendy' for your horses back - Your horse will need flatter pads. Pads that are too bendy will put more pressure on the center of the back, underneath your seat, instead of spreading it evenly over the entire area.

Next I run my hand under the length of the pads on each side. The pressure should be even all the way along - take care that the sadde doesn't 'bridge' - this is the opposite of the above issue. The pads are too flat for the horses back, creating a 'bridge' effect, where there is a pocket of no/reduced pressure underneath the riders seat. This is one of the worst saddle fit issues and can cause great pain - The saddle will put huge amounts of pressure either side of the withers, and back toward the kidneys, instead of spreading it evenly.

If all the above looks good, I chuck a saddle pad on, girth up and go for a ride. I make sure the horse is feeling comfortable - Most horses will let you know if they don't like the feel. Once I'm done, I taek of the saddle and check the sweat patches - they should be even along the back with no disturbed hair. Disturbed hair or dry patches can show spots with too much, or too little pressure.
PheonixRising likes this.
     
    03-11-2010, 10:41 PM
  #14
Foal
Ok, so if the saddle looks like it fits (from Wild Spots description), would being to far forward cause it to be dry under the entire pad on both sides after an hour ride and the rest of the horse is sweaty?
     
    03-11-2010, 10:43 PM
  #15
Showing
So long as it is evenly dry all over and there are no areas of rubbed or crimped hair, I would assume that means that you have a very good saddle pad that is amazing at whicking moisture away from your horse.
     
    03-11-2010, 10:47 PM
  #16
Foal
Oh... well then, that makes me feel WAY less guilty about riding her with that saddle now....

The hair was flat, and there was very very very little moisture under it, but she was lathered hard after an hour ride.... Thank you Smrobs... I won't feel bad putting the saddle back on her tomorrow to do it again then instead of riding her bareback....
     
    03-12-2010, 05:21 AM
  #17
Showing
As smrobs posted, if it is evenly dry, no problem. About 5 months ago I switched to a 5 Star 100% wool/felt pad to go with the new saddle. No matter how hard or long we ride, or how sweaty Hollywood gets, he is evenly dry under the pad. At first I was concerned but I chalk it up to the efficiency of the pad.

I've had other wool pads over the years but this was my first 5 Star. After the way it keeps my horse's back cool and the way that, after ~100+ hours (didn't ride much this winter), it hasn't shown any signs of compression, I'll never use another pad.
garlicbunny likes this.
     
    03-12-2010, 09:34 AM
  #18
Foal
I never gave a thought to the chance that it was a good saddle pad keeping her dry... I bought my Aussie saddle used and the person I bought it from threw in the 2 pads that she had for it and I've been using the thinner one cause it had pockets and fit under the saddle better, and I guess I just assumed that since they gave me the pads they weren't that great.... I guess sometimes its not that bad to be wrong lol...
     
    01-23-2011, 07:33 PM
  #19
Foal
I also found this video which seemed really informative, and really showed you how the saddle fit affects the horse.

     
    02-25-2011, 10:23 AM
  #20
Foal
I ride a TB , and when I first bought him , I got a random saddle and I thought it going to fit him , for some reason he started to spook and bucks ... and I contacted the
1st owner to ask of he was like this before, but he said no, things we're good with him , he was hyper but not that much , so an expert came and told me that the saddle fitting is terribly wrong , and when I changed the saddle for one day , he acted better , but poor little horse I used that saddle for almost 3 months =(.
     

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