Saddle Fit.

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

  1. Eventer4Ever

    Eventer4Ever Well-known Member

    I think one of the major problems now is that;
    A) We have had a range of saddle fitters out to fit the same saddle to the same horse, within a couple of weeks of each other. Each fitter told us someyhing completely different. And STILL the problem wasn't fixed. This is a big reason that we lost faith in saddle fitting.

    And B) Humans are greedy. And saddle fitters are but human. We struggled to find someone that would work with what we have and stop trying to sell us a brand new saddle when the one we had could easily be fitted to the horse in question, they even admitted that to us...

  2. wawa85

    wawa85 Guest

    I just got my 2 saddles fitted last week for both Shanti had never had them on her back before and I asked the fitter (Gary) to make the fit a lil wider as once she is back in full work her muscles will change and for the meantime I will put an extra blancket on. I don't see the point getting a saddle fitter to come out every few months if the horse is working happily. If the horse appears unhappy or sore unsaddle then I would get saddler fitter, vet and chiro out to find the source of the pain/discomfort. I ascribe by the saying "why fix it if it ain't broke":D
  3. Eoroe

    Eoroe Gold Member

    One of my concerns is the 'precision fits' i have seen numerous times on over stuffed saddles that sure - at the time of fitting fitted perfectly - but are on Young - and Amateur performance animals that are changing shape on a regular basis.

    Which is a a situation that requires constant management - it usually results in pattern of where the animal peaks, then drops in performance in relation to the precsision fit no longer being appropriate.

    The horse experiences discompfort - and it becomes a situation of 5 steps forward 3 back.

    I look at MANY saddles these days, and the backs they are 'designed' for and I really wonder......

    Fixed tree - precsision fit, small area of weight distribution on panels.....hmmm.....These animals do move - they are not mantle peices! The entire back apparatus is destined to be flexible as the ultimate goal......why are we in a cyclical pattern of locking it into a box?? :}
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  4. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    Mmmm .. I rode lots and lots of horses for years and years before saddle fitters were even heard of and they all performed well, were healthy and happy and well behaved. I think alot of modern horses (and humans lol) need to HTFU!!!!

    Nothing in life is perfect - for any of us - horse wears a saddle for what, an hour a day? If the rider is well balanced (ding ding - huge issue to horse comfort!!!), the saddle is balanced (ie appropriate clearance pommel/cantle balance), padding is appropriate (not too thick!!) and the horse is fit enough for the job it is being asked to do (whole other thread but I reckon that's a big issue these days - horses don't work hard enough) after that I expect my horse to get over it *#)

    The day I look after me as well as I do the horses I'll be laughing :D
  5. Blackbat

    Blackbat Well-known Member

    You should start another thread called " Are horses getting sore because we don't ride them well or often enough and ask for too much of an unprepared horse/rider and then blame our gear and the 'expert' we asked an opinion of" and we can all have a go at that tangent. Thats a good notion.
  6. IbanezGirl

    IbanezGirl Well-known Member

    ive only used a saddle fitter once. when i bought my new dressage, i knew it was just a tad down in the front. the fitter did a good job but as my horse at the time was packing on the weight. in about 3 weeks i was having problems with my saddle again. it has large blocks so i can feel right away if something is wrong because i wont be able to sit properly. so it either has to fit or i cant ride in it.

    i do agree with the older saddles fitting better. my old western has been on most horses with just a change of a pad. and fitted well. my cyro guy loves it and have never had a back problem on any of my horses from that saddle.

    i even remember being a smart a$$ one day by mounting my horse from the ground with the cinch undone, hanging and my saddle diddnt move :p**)
  7. Eoroe

    Eoroe Gold Member

    Lol you lost me on that one bb :p pardon?
  8. Blackbat

    Blackbat Well-known Member

    Oh dear, sorry Eoroe. I think I'm having a tone problem this morning. Can't seem to get the words right to avoid offending :(

    I just was thinking we are so much better informed these days, about everything that contributes to horse back pain. Saddles is the most obvious, and thats why its the go-to solution for many, and maybe why so many repeats are required. But other factors like hoof health, musculoskeletal factors, conformation, diet, supplementation, horsekeeping practices, terrain, riding style, tension in training, rider imbalance, so many things affect it.

    But one of the worst is our lack of time in the saddle, not many of us can devote the time needed to really become a better load for our horse to carry, or them fit enough to bear us. Who here really rides heaps of kms or hours per week to get those sweaty saddle blankets of a horse moving efficiently and athletically? (endurance die hards excepted). Maybe in the old days, horses didn't get as sore so often because we had more space and more time to just ride simply. Now it might be weekend riding, or 45 minutes in the arena 4x week, or the odd rally or show, where horses are asked for a lot of concentrated physical and mental effort without all the undemanding hours of conditioning needed to guard against soreness?

    Just a theory. We all have access to lots of info, but not the hands-on experience in everything to be our own experts, so we call on the help of saddlefitters, bodyworkers, nutritionists, trainers etc. Maybe some think we ask for too much help, but in the modern age of information and disposable income, we like to do all we can to make up for our lack of time. We also like to blame the experts when they can't resolve this problem for us, but we have to take responsibility to keep trying all avenues ourselves. Ie; its not always just our saddlefitter trying to scam us into multiple fittings (!) its also up to us to look at all the other factors too.

    Love my saddlefitter, she is a goddess who has been a huge part of the solution for us.
  9. Eoroe

    Eoroe Gold Member

    Nah mate - you didnt offend at all :))

    I knew you were trying to say something, and Im always interested in what you say, so I wanted to delve more - and find out what you meant :) Its allllllll good **)

    Absolutely :) I agree. I never like to blame professionals for taking our 'money'. After all - it is ours to freely give and choose where it goes!

    And it is the case of modern society , we try to buy time with our earnings.
  10. Brew

    Brew Well-known Member

    We Have noticed that "cheaper" more "highTech" saddles seem to need far more regular fitting than good quality older stle "low Tech" saddles. We have two saddles that seem to fit countless horses pretty well. We are very aware of saddle issues and check pretty carefully. New type "budget" saddles seem to be a pain to fit
    We don't think that saddle fitters "rip you off" but they are often asked to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. Some saddle fitters are, to be honest, rubbish and some are very good but if you call a saddle fitter to your horse we think that they do there best
    We find more trouble with saddles that are padded and not flocked and have found that quite a few saddles improve dramatically after correct flocking. We think that flock self adjusts far better than padding but this is a personal view
  11. Anna E

    Anna E Guest

    As in all that has to do with horses.. it depends :p
    Some horses - will do OK with "amateur" saddle fit. Joe has sported 4 diferent saddles since I have owned him, the latest being a little 15" old style Wintec so that Ashleigh could ride him, and they could all be made to be a good fit with a bit of fiddling with pads.
    Similarly I have had no issues with the kids saddles and their ponies: both bought second hand, both I went out to look for with an idea of what we would need, and both have been fine straight up.
    BUT - all 3 of those horses have wide backs, not too much wither... easy to fit.
    Prycie on the other hand is slab sided, high wither... He doesn't get told to suck it up princess if he acts as though he is uncomfortable, and I worry constantly about whether his saddle fit is OK or not (especially when 100 kilos of unco-ordinated Pete is up there!!)
    TBH it's a factor now when I look at horses and ponies to buy: access to a saddle fitter in Narrogin isn't easy and I find myself asking "will that horse be easy to fit a saddle to"??
    So while I think sometimes we over think saddle fitting, there are also horses out there that DO need repeated adjustments and who are just bloody hard to fit!
  12. falloff

    falloff New Member

    saddle fit - the other side...

    As a saddle fitter I find this a little irresistible not to reply!

    I think, in some ways you are all correct. Saddle fitting is not sometimes rocket science. I give lectures to people all the time and, armed with some basic knowledge you can pretty much figure out if your saddle is fitting your horse. The problem I most see with people is that they can figure out WHAT the problem is but they have no idea as to HOW to correct it to make their saddle balanced and a happy ride for the horse.

    Many times I will see an older saddle that fits beautifully - I have no interest in promoting a particular brand - I am interested in the fit that best suits your horse and the shape of his back. I will often recommend someone go find a particular older model not made any more if I think it will suit the horse better.

    I think that we have come a long way in saddles,the technology and fit. We have all admired the craftsmanship of an older saddle and sometimes fallen in love with something that we ride in over a long time - comfortable and familiar. Where I get itchy sometimes is that we know a lot more about weight distribution and the comfort of the horse these days - just like car technology has changed so too has the equipment we use to ride. We can all ooh aaah over an old, beautifully crafted car but would you want to drive it comfort wise all day? No airconditioning? Lumpy old seats? No central locking? It is the same deal with saddles - whilst the rider might feel in seventh heaven the horse may have other ideas. Just because he doesn't protest doesn't mean he is is not sore. I for one applaud the increase in rider knowledge about saddle fit and horse anatomy - one of the main reasons I lecture and will always share my knowledge with people - I think you have an obligation to these magnificent creatures to help them at every turn. I also love that fact that people are feeling empowered enough to discuss it and demystify what has been a bit of a secret code at times

    In terms of fitting a saddle specifically on the day I will pretty much always do that, but only after consultation with the owner and giving them a timeline on what will happen in the future should the horse change shape. No one likes the idea of wearing a pair of jeans too tight or too big that one day you will fit in to - saddles are the same. Fitting for the future shape of a horse can often impede his development as the balance of the saddle will put pressure on the very areas you are trying to develop muscle wise...

    At the end of the day all the saddle fitters we have in Perth are a pretty dedicated lot that try hard to do a good days work. Sure, we all make mistakes at time in our work. I think it is easy to say that we are all after the money - I know I will often return to tweak or discuss a problem with a saddle I have worked on without charge - I know the others do that as well. Please try and be generous with your comments and realise that these people ( me included) are trying to make a living and provide for families just like you do in your job.

    Great discussion!! Thanks
  13. fuddles

    fuddles Well-known Member

    l am not a saddle fitter but a shoe fitter and the amount of women that l see who have no idea what their actual shoe size is, is quite surprising. They just say l am an 8b, (well honey you havent been a b fitting for at least 20 years) They have this idea coz that is what they used to wear in their younger days and haven't taken into account how much their feet have changed over time.

    And the worst saddle l purchased was off my then riding instructor. After that experience l would never buy a saddle without getting a 2nd opinion

    My newer saddles were both fitted by trained fitter and totally happy with them. pity tho they dont come with a claim that says will turn you into super rider overnight .

    And the way l look at any new product today is no manufacturer wants a product to last for ever.
  14. Cheeki

    Cheeki Gold Member

    Fantastic post, Falloff. (p.s. I will be pm'ing you! :D ).
  15. Blackbat

    Blackbat Well-known Member

    Aha, Falloff, thats my goddess. Ended 6 years of fumbling in the dark for us. I just finished a month of all day riding with a completely sound and happy horse thanks to her. Once upon a time that was merely an impossible dream. Endless thanks from the wide two.
  16. Lauren

    Lauren Gold Member

    Highly, highly recommend Lou :)* Best saddle fitter for sure.

    :) Like I said in one of my posts, I love getting you out as I don't just learn WHY the saddle isn't fitting, but I learn how this can be corrected.
    I've seen the enormous difference in a horse (and no, she wasn't showing any signs of being 'sore'.. not all horses do!!! There are a hell of a lot of patient horses out there.. doesn't mean they are comfortable! just forgiving!) both in behavior (habits changing) and muscular.

    I don't actually think saddle fitters make much money?
    What's the average saddle fit? $80 for consult + materials... well by the time you subtract fuel (driving all over the country side), time (I know Lou & Gina have always been at LEAST an hour) and the fact that you're working with sometimes uncooperative animals (bitey, girthy horses) and the fact that you're in the rain/hail/shine... I can think of many jobs that pay a LOT better :p
  17. Lauren

    Lauren Gold Member

    Hehe I had paid hundreds trying to get a saddle to fit (tried all the other saddle fitters).. had given up and was going to buy a new saddle.. Lou challenged me that she could fit it (and did it for free!)... = very happy horse and owner! The difference in Bess was amazing.. dropped an average of 20 pens each dressage test.. her back completely changed shape.
  18. Blackbat

    Blackbat Well-known Member

    Same. Back and loins getting wider (its not fat, he weighs the same), but best of all... Mr Downhill no longer looks so downhill :) Completely thrilled. If I noted down all the changes I've noticed since I got this saddle, nobody would believe me.

    Hear hear on consult costs, must be one of the lowest paid per hour jobs if you factor driving and free revisits.
  19. realalvin

    realalvin New Member

    I have to say that many modern saddles aren't made to fit as well as some of the older ones. I have a Horseware dressage saddle that is almost 15 yrs old.It is very durable. But i have to say that their exercise sheet is not good enough. I changed it many times. Recently, a friend of mine recommend me Harrison Howard.
    I bought an exercise sheet from them and it’s really good. A good saddle is very important, so does an exercise sheet.
  20. Harney Stone Racing

    Harney Stone Racing New Member

    Saddle fit depends on the size of Horse.

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