Monday, December 26, 2016

What to Watch for When Buying a Saddle - Full Article

Saddlefit 4 Life | December 19, 2016
~ Jochen Schleese CMS, CSFT, CSE, courtesy of Saddlefit 4 Life

This being the Christmas season with presumably at least some riders hoping for a saddle under the tree I thought it would be worth repeating some key points I have previously touched on. In essence you may use the “9 points of saddle fit as a guide”, but here are a few extra pointers.

The art of fitting a saddle to both horse and rider is something which is not explained in a few sentences; indeed something new can be learned every day, as each client brings with him or herself something different to consider. It’s not rocket science, but it is a science, combined with the artistry of actually building the saddle. It is important to work closely with veterinarians and physiotherapists and other equine professionals to constantly ensure the most optimal combination of horse, rider and saddle. Anatomical considerations of both horse and rider are a key determinant in how to choose the correct saddle. Hopefully if you have such a generous benefactor in your life who is thinking of getting you a saddle for Christmas they will know to involve both you and your horse and not just go for a ‘pretty saddle’. (Which I have to say – unfortunately many of them are, including one really high end prestigious company whose saddles are not really all that equine-friendly at the end of the day!)

“A well-designed and correctly fitted saddle is vital to the performance of both horse and rider. Whatever type of saddle is chosen, the main consideration is that it should fit both horse and rider. To check that it does so, not only must the rider sit on it, but it should be put on the horse and its fit must be studied before it is bought. A badly fitting saddle not only causes discomfort to the horse and rider, but can actually stop a horse from moving properly. The tree and panels of a saddle should be chosen to fit the horse, and the seat and flap length should be chosen to fit the rider.” (Julie Richardsen’s Horse Tack (Complete Equipment for Riding and Driving). (New York, 1981). But that’s not all, as I have written about previously – there are so many other parts of the saddle that need to be taken into consideration when ensuring proper fit and comfort for both horse and rider...

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