Most riders realize the importance of a properly fitted saddle. With a good fit, your horse will be more comfortable and able to move easily. A poorly fitted one can cause not only sharp pressure points, but actually damage their back in the long run.
Stacy Westfall, a renowned horse trainer, created a simple guide for checking your horse’s saddle fit. It can be done in seven easy steps!
- Place the saddle on the horse without the pad. Is your saddle level from all angles?
- Feel under the saddle in the front, middle, and back. There should be no sharp pressure points or gaps (known as bridging).
- Place your left hand under the front of the saddle and use your other hand to press downward with the horn. The pressure from the saddle should be even across their back and shoulders!
- Look for clearance over the wither.
- Place the saddle pad on horse. Again, look for wither clearance.
- Add the saddle to the pad. The pad shouldn’t be pressing on their wither.
- Lastly, pull your pad up into the gullet. Your hand should be able to feel your horse’s wither easily.
You can follow along with Stacy’s video tutorial.
Remember, you’ll want to frequently check the fit. Your horse’s body will change with training and diet.