Saddle Fit.

Discussion in 'Horse Riding' started by Eoroe, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. Eoroe

    Eoroe Gold Member

    With the enthusiasm over saddle fit these days - are we overdoing it?

    Are we trying micro manage the situation to the point we are creating many more problems?

    I myself remeber seeing more horses moving forward, in a relaxed, comfortable manner years ago....when saddle fit was done once in a horses life if it was lucky.... :}

    But I also saw less horses forced into collection at such an early stage as well.....

    What are your opinions on this?
  2. Eventer4Ever

    Eventer4Ever Well-known Member

    Mum and I are of a similar opinion N.

    We have learnt to be able to see a well balanced saddle and that's as much knowledge as we need.
    If a saddle in our eyes is well balanced and the horse is happy in the way it is going, we don't bother with saddle fitting.

    If a horse is consistently bucking, hollowing, running away etc, we have the whole works done; saddle, back, teeth, etc.

    But other than that, we leave well alone.
    realalvin likes this.
  3. Ponypuppet

    Ponypuppet Active Member

    Same here, if the saddle sits nicely on the horses back, and has no lumps in the flocking, plus the horse moves forward happily with no nasty stuff and doesnt have a sore back after riding I dont get it 'professionally' fitted.

    Hehe - Im such a mean owner ;)
  4. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    Amen Eoroe - I totally agree with you.

    But I also think that modern saddles are total crap compared to ye olden dayes' versions lol!!

    OK. I have a Bates Osborne dressage saddle that is 30 years old. I have had it since I was 10, and it was third hand at that point!! I rode in it at Wanneroo on Sunday - not fitted to horse and defo too small for my arse at 15.5" *#) but I love that saddle so much I'd diet to ride in it!!! It was made in Perth, when Bates was still very much a local brand and manufactured here. That saddle has been on at least 15 different horses since I have had it - at least - there were only a few that it didn't quite balance on.

    It was originally on my 13hh arabian riding pony and is now on a 17hh TB!! It literally fits almost everyone beautifully.

    Now. I have a brand new jump saddle made in Argentina ;)*#) It has been fitted twice since I bought it. It doesn't fit as well as my old Bates, and in my experience most modern saddles really need alot of 'tweaking' because the manufacturing is simply not as good. Even the stitching - my old Osborne's stitching is still perfect and it has never been reflocked.

    New jump saddle has been reflocked twice, gullet adjusted numerous times etc ..

    I don't get the saddle fitter out unless something is actually obviously needing adjustment. I tend to leave well enough alone - and adhere very much to if ain't broke, why fix it?
  5. Lauren

    Lauren Gold Member

    I think it depends.

    I don't like people promoting NOT saddle fitting. While this is fine for the above who are experienced enough to KNOW when a saddle fits, and when a horse is happy, I don't believe inexperienced horse owners do? (if that makes sense).

    I, personally, don't trust my own judgement enough to not get my saddles fitted. I try them first, and decide my opinion, and 99% of the time I can pick out what is wrong correctly. I think it's a personal opinion :)* If YOU can see a well fitting, balanced saddle that's fantastic :) If I choose to pay someone because I'm unsure of my own judgment (or not experienced enough to know) then I also think that's great :)
  6. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    Fair enough and spot on Lauren :) Also if seeing the saddle fitter fit your saddle helps you to get an 'eye' for a correctly fitting saddle, then it's a great thing!!
  7. cupcake

    cupcake Well-known Member

    I agree with you lauren,

    If you have the knowledge to see a saddle and understand how the fit and sit, etc, then I can agree why would you pay some one to come out and fit it?

    I havent had a saddle fitter out for my saddles, but I have had two people look at them when i got them that have been around horses for a LONG time and have a good understanding of saddles.

    But, once trianda has bulked up more (less fat more muscle I hope!) then ill be getting my saddles refitted.

    However, I make sure I have a good thick saddle blanket and a numnah to cushion his back as I am still a green rider and I think the more padding, the more it protects his back form my big bum!
  8. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    Huh - I just want mine to bulk up - I'll take fat or muscle lol!!!!! *#)
  9. cupcake

    cupcake Well-known Member

    hahahaa Ill give my horse lipo and we can suck it into yours then!

    My horse isnt too bad, but hes a very good dooer, he just had to look at grass and I see him getting bigger. hes not started to waddle yet, but he does resemble a broodmare. hes not even on 24/7 pasture. Hes big boned hehee
  10. Lauren

    Lauren Gold Member

    Definitely :) I loveeee getting my saddle fitted (uh well besides the paying part). I always learn heaps :)

    She measures them (interesting to see how topline has changed.. I should really start measuring them myself) and is always happy to tell me WHY she's doing something. She also encourages me to fit them myself (Bess changed shape so regularly I was having to get her out every few months.. luckily she gave me discount) and shows me how.

    I do think in a few years (or whenever I learn to trust my own judgement) I won't get my saddles fitted (or atleast, not as often), however at the moment I'm happy having that peace of mind.
  11. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    Bahahah!!!! Argh mine just drops weight through stress, one show and bam, 10 kilos lighter!! He is really hard to keep the beef on when he is in work :( Wish I could say the same for me!!!!! *#)

    I have one chicken here who is the same as my horse (you knew chickens had to be mentioned at some point, right?:p) she eats til her crop is fit to burst and she is a skinny little thing, her sister has a fat roll over her keel lol!
  12. cupcake

    cupcake Well-known Member

    We are two peas in a pod...

    two big bums..


    (beige jods are never flattering)

    And he had a bit of a rash still poor baby..

    Isnt it meant to be dogs look like their owners? Humm..

    Sorry for hyjacking the thread :p
  13. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    Amen - beige jodhpurs are a crime against women!!!!!! *#) We ought to be allowed to show in vertical stripes or black lol!!!! I HATE seeing photos of my legs in beige jods - I look fatter in them than I do in short shorts!!!! :eek::(

    THat tail is fab btw - you plait so well!!!! You bitch!!!! Lol :p
  14. myyky

    myyky Well-known Member

    Hahaha yeah Kylie, nice plaiting.. :p
  15. cupcake

    cupcake Well-known Member

    Ill share my secret hen..

    You spot a nice young 8 year old girls pony who has a lovley plaited up tail and pay her $5 to do yours!
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011
  16. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    Bahahaha that's gold!! Love it!!
  17. fishiz3434

    fishiz3434 Active Member

    I'm getting a new saddle next year and want to get it fitted, can't wait, my old girl always tells me if the saddle didn't fit but she usually waits until I get on and cantering to eject me from my seat.

    I agree with Lauren completely, I hate seeing novice owners buying the cheapest saddle they can get and saying it fits because the gullet is supposedly right. Or just as bad, putting paddings thicker than the saddle itself to make it fit, just as bad IMO.
  18. Cheeki

    Cheeki Gold Member

    With the enthusiasm over saddle fit these days - are we overdoing it?
    Personally - I don't think we are. Infact, as riders ourselves, we should be doing as much as possible to learn more about every aspect of our horses - including saddle fitting.

    Are we trying micro manage the situation to the point we are creating many more problems?
    In some areas, yes, I do think we are. But in others, including saddle and bit fitting, I don't think so. Saddle fit is something that cannot be over looked, nor should it be something that is encouraged to not be done. There are so many factors when fitting a saddle to a horse that even a 'trained eye' (nonprofessional) may miss.

    I myself remeber seeing more horses moving forward, in a relaxed, comfortable manner years ago....when saddle fit was done once in a horses life if it was lucky.... :}
    A lot has changed in such a short amount of time, I agree, but the more we learn, the more we can help prevent small problems turning into big ones, and we can provide more comfort for the horse.

    What are your opinions on this?
    I am doing everything in my power to become more educated about all areas of horses and horse riding - including saddle fitting. The more I learn and talk to various people, the more I realize just how little we all know, even though we think that we know more. When you consider just how much goes into a saddle fit: the type of saddle, the gussets, panels, channel, design and shape of the saddle, the horses back - the muscles, spine, width of muscles, rib shelf, topline (or lack of), evenness through the body, straightness through the back, pain or injuries, balance of the saddle, the withers, length of back, the rider (seat size vs back length, long or short back of horse, length of leg), etc ... Not to mention the condition of the saddle, quality of the materials used, flocked vs cair, lumps and bumps, stuffing up one side for unevenness,etc..
    It's not exactly something I would encourage someone to do themselves unless they were trained in doing so. It's easy enough to see if a saddle is balanced.

    It may seem like a bit of a droll having to spend time, and money, on a GOOD quality saddle, trialing several to find what suits you and your horse, then having it re-fitted until the horse is in good work and maintaining shape - but I'd rather ride knowing my horses are comfortable, and I have done everything I can to create a nice space for them to work with. They lug me around on their back and do what I ask with little fuss - the least I can do is to make sure ALL my gear is in tip top working condition, fits them and they are comfortable, happy and able to move freely.

    I don't take areas like saddle fitting lightly - I know of the damage and risk to the horses body by not having a correctly fitted saddle. And I take this passion and care into all areas from saddle fit, to bit fit, to the type of bridle I use. While it *sounds* over the top - in actual fact, it's not. I am very laid back about most of it, and 99% is just common sense, but I do pay attention to details.
  19. Seahorse

    Seahorse Well-known Member

    I think that many modern saddles aren't made to fit as well as some of the older ones. With the emphasis on "close contact", saddles are now often flatter seated, with the stirrup bars positioned more towards the front of the saddle. Many of the panels also seem to be rounded underneath rather than flat (not helped by overzealous restuffing), making it more difficult to fit the saddle properly to the horse's back.

    I'm in a situation now where I ride about 6 horses on and off, of very different shapes and sizes! With each one, I've made the effort to find the saddle on the property that fits each the best. Here's what I've picked up along the way:

    - Horses seem more able to deal with a saddle that is too low than one that is too narrow. I definitely wouldn't recommend riding in a saddle that doesn't have enough wither clearance, but what really seems to drive a horse to distraction is a saddle with a gullet or channel that is too narrow, and pinches the base of the withers. The older saddles on the property (Stubben, Passier etc) have wider gullets and wider channels, and can be made to fit just about anything with some padding in the right place. Some of the newer ones (Bates, Beval, Pessoa) don't seem to fit anything very well.

    - A nice flat seat is not going to work well on a big wither unless you change the laws of physics.

    - You can adjust gullets and flocking all you like, the basic balance of the saddle stays the same. It's possible to "fit" a saddle perfectly to a horse standing still, only to have it rock, pinch or slide once the horse is under way. Even a qualified saddle fitter cannot change this.

    - Some horses are more stoic than others, but most will tell you if they are uncomfortable. Most riders can tell the different between a horse that's a bit fresh and a horse that's really trying to tell them that something is wrong.

    Anyways, just my thoughts. And I think about it a lot: one of the horses I ride has a wither that ends at his tail! In short, I think many of the saddle fitting dramas are caused by modern saddles that have poor balance and design. I don't think horses just don't care about it: I've seen first-hand reactions from many horses from poorly fitting saddles, ranging from bucking, to teeth grinding, turning the head over, running backwards etc. All stopped as soon as the saddle was replaced.

    As modern horse owners, I think we need to distinguish between things that maybe aren't so necessary, and things that are. Maybe shoes, bowen therapy, stabling, supplements, rugs, animal communicators, aromatherapists etc aren't that essential, but a comfortable saddle definitely is, IMHO.
  20. Blackbat

    Blackbat Well-known Member

    After fluffing around for 6 or 7 years trying to fit a hard-to-fit horse... I didn't realise how much better he was allowed to be with a well fitting saddle. He put up with a lot until I finally got a saddle fitters opinion. His forward, stride, attitude and even downhill posture and muscling is improving, and I had thought they were things I could do nothing about.

    You don't know until you try.

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