Fitting Saddles.... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-24-2009, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Fitting Saddles....

Sorry if there's already another post about this! I just checked the first page . I was just wondering how you know if your saddle fits your horse and how critical the saddle fitting the horse is. At my old barn we used every saddle on every horse and none of the horses ever had a problem. I have both a western saddle and a saddleseat saddle. Thanks so much for posting! Sorry it's so long..
HorseSavvy is offline  
post #2 of 10 Old 05-24-2009, 08:20 PM
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I can only address a western saddle. I check for even contact along the tree, make sure I can see light down the length of the saddle at the spine. Check for rocking (saddle "rocks" from front to back) and bridging (just the opposite of rocking, saddle sits fine in front and back but no contact in middle)
I look to make sure the tree fits between the scapula and 9th vertebrae (about where the barrel hair changes direction) I have a short backed horse so thats important.
I'm sure theres more technical stuff but thats about it for me.

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Vidaloco is offline  
post #3 of 10 Old 05-24-2009, 09:08 PM
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I run my hand between the saddle and the horse. I should be able to feel equal pressure all the way. Watch for point of pressure at the shoulders. I will do this with and without pads and if it is minor see if pads are enough to help it.

Dry spots are caused by a point of pressure lifting the saddle off the skin so that air gets to that spot and dries it.

Goal is for the saddle to fit evenly and broadly with equal pressure. Watch for digging in BEHIND the shoulder and not allowing the shoulder blade to rotate back freely. If you press on your arm with a finger it is not as comfortable as pressing down with your hand flat.

Badly fitting saddles can lots of problems. Bruising, compensation of movement by the horse and straining other areas of the body, misalignments that need to be adjusted by a chiro, attitude and sourness from pain. If you wear shoes too tight you will walk/move differently, want to walk less, and eventually get PO'd about it.
Barrelracer Up is offline  
post #4 of 10 Old 05-24-2009, 10:49 PM
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ABSOLUTELY saddle fit affects the horse! Think of having on a running shoe that doesn't fit - is too small or too big - you'd be sore too!
Some horse's won't be as "verbal" about a badly fitting saddle as others.
I will update later sorry, I'm all over the place, but saddle fit is SUPER important.
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-24-2009, 11:10 PM
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Saddle fit has a huge effect on the horse - from how they move, to how they act under saddle as well as on the ground, disposition, behavior, actions on x-ties when grooming and tacking, and more. I have more info on my site Welcome to Equi-Eval | Full Service Equine Evaluations if you're interested. A poorly fitting saddle can not only be painful, it can cause a multitude of problems from behavioral to medical.

Life Without a Paddle...a blog about life out here, and great for a laugh!
TLC Stables & East/West Arabians
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CJ82Sky is offline  
post #6 of 10 Old 05-25-2009, 12:02 AM
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Yes it def. has a huge affect, please make sure your horse has thew proper fitted saddle, or im sure he/she will have abck probs.
morganshow11 is offline  
post #7 of 10 Old 05-29-2009, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much guys! I'll check my saddles tomorrow! You guys are a huge help!
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-30-2009, 02:18 PM
Green Broke
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Location: Arkansas
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My saddle fitting instructions:
  1. Put the saddle on the horse, no pad. Make sure the saddle tree is BEHIND the shoulder blades by 1-3".
  2. Look under the pommel. You should have 2-3 fingers of room under the pommel.
  3. Look at how it lays against the shoulder; it should follow the line of the shoulder nicely, not tighter or looser at the top.
  4. Put your hand under the saddle, so your finger tips are 1-2" from the spine. Run your have down the WHOLE length of the saddle, front to back. Have a friend lightly hold the saddle down, or put your girth on just barely snug. You should feel even pressure front to back, no tight or loose spots.
  5. Look in the back of the saddle (you may need a stool). Your horse should have room for his spine between the panels, for English. For western, the skirts should lay against the back evenly (baring any misshapen leather from age).
  6. Step back and look at the saddle. It should be even with the deepest part of the seat in the right spot (middle for English saddles, 2/3rds the way back for western).
Here's a good link to help decide on which kind of saddle you should buy, if you decide your saddles don't fit.
Treeless Saddle Fitting Guide and Saddle Fit Help
luvs2ride1979 is offline  
post #9 of 10 Old 05-31-2009, 02:00 AM
Join Date: May 2009
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I do the opposite with my saddles - I place the saddle over the shoulders and make sure there is plenty of clearance. Here is a great set of videos to show what I mean. Martin Saddlery

I also dream of owning one of these saddles. It has the tree flared for shoulder clearance. Very down to earth video with a chiropractor and the saddle maker.
part 1
part 2
They will custom make a saddle for any discipline.
Barrelracer Up is offline  
post #10 of 10 Old 06-01-2009, 08:32 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Arkansas
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Putting a saddle over the shoulders can really interfere with shoulder movement and can cause serious pressure points. You have to have a very specific tree with a lot of "flare" to the front to be able to put your saddle over the shoulders without causing the horse pain or discomfort. NOT all saddles have flare to the front of the tree, VERY few do.

And NO English saddles should be placed over the horse's shoulders. Only very forward flapped jumping saddles can have a little overlap, and that's only the front of the flap, not the tree itself.
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