Thursday, February 05, 2015

Divergent Theories on Saddle Fitting - Full Article

Blogs Saddlefit 4 Life | February 2, 2015

There are many opinions and theories on saddle fitting. Occasionally, we have even heard riders say “I have been using my saddle for x number of years. It fits me perfectly and fits every horse I use.” I have to really bite my tongue on that one, but usually just manage to smile and say “Lucky you.” Some people are, unfortunately, just not open to being educated on the facts that have been substantiated in recent years through MRIs, thermography, and fibreoptic cameras, and do not realize the possible damage they are doing to themselves and their horses.

I am going to deal with two main theories on how to fit saddles properly, but there are probably several other variations on this theme.
Theory One

Many saddle manufacturers and their trained saddle fitters maintain that a saddle should have a narrow channel, therefore sitting on the spinal processes and ligaments. The tree is long and flat (resting on the shoulder and lumbar area) and sits with minimal weight bearing surface on the musculature.

In this scenario, the saddle barely moves because it is sitting on the spine (other than perhaps to twist during motion as it is ‘kicked back’ by the bigger shoulder – but this will be addressed in a future blog). This saddle rarely does need to be adjusted because bone structure and ligaments do not adapt and change their conformation through training like muscles do – and the muscles really won’t change much because the horse simply is not able to use his muscles properly with a saddle that fits like this. Often people will say “my saddle always fits” or “my saddle fits any horse.” They are semi-right, because one advantage to this is that they do not have to have a saddle fit or modified. The horse doesn’t really change...

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