It is critical for you and your horse to have a saddle that fits you both well.
For the horse a poor fitting saddle can be life threatening. Damage to the cartilage on top of the shoulder blades, irritated spinal processes, weight on the floating ribs and pressure on nerve complexes are all common problems caused by ill fitting saddles and unfortunately are often overlooked and explained away as ‘behavioural problems’.
The horse’s only way to communicate that something is wrong is either using avoidance behaviour i.e. (not moving freely forward, short choppy action, resistance to rounding the back, hollowing the back and head, high head position, refusing to jump or go down hills); or violence i.e. (bucking, rearing, bolting, running out from a jump, bolting or bucking after a jump, biting when girthed up, rushing down hills etc).
Unfortunately because horse owners often don’t think of the saddle as a problem- (it’s an expensive saddle, it’s been custom made for my horse, it fits my other horse, I’ve already had a saddle fitter up to check it and they said it was fine) the horse ends up with ‘behaviour correction’ devices or training, or are sold down the road- all because their back hurt caused by a saddle we strapped to their back.
For the rider, you will never be able to keep a good and balanced seat with ideal leg position if your saddle is not balanced on the horse and is the correct size for you. If you feel like you are tipping forward or back all the time, or your legs won’t stay in the correct place, then the saddle is negatively influencing your position and try as you might you can’t fight that battle and win.
We offer saddle fit assessments to address these problems. During our Thermal Imaging consultations we were seeing many horses with back damage caused by saddles and wanted to do something about it.
We do not sell saddles or endorse any particular brand of saddle. We do not have an array of saddles for you to try. However, we will assess your horse’s anatomy, identifying key markers, and then assess the saddle(s) you have (or are thinking of purchasing) for suitability for the horse and rider. We can also use our thermal imaging camera to definitively assess the contact surface between the saddle and your horse’s back, looking for pinching, bridging or slipping to one side; or assess current back injury.
If you suspect your horse’s behaviour may be due to saddle issues, or you are contemplating getting a new saddle, we would recommend that you take advantage of our consultation services to assess horse and saddle and save a great deal of money and potential injury by buying the wrong saddle.
Tip: Photograph you horse’s back regularly from the side and behind. We suggest every 6 months. This allows you to notice the changes in muscling, wasting, topline, shoulder and wither changes. They change a lot more than you think!
Click here to contact us and arrange a saddlefit assessment.