You know what it is like to walk around in shoes that don’t fit, so it is easy to imagine how uncomfortable a poorly fitting saddle must be.
The problems caused by a poorly fitting saddle are well documented, including pain for the horse, behavioural problems that are labelled as “naughtiness” and poor performance. In our book “Understanding Horse Performance Brain, Pain, or Training?” we help people to identify the causes of their horse’s problems and whether the problems are caused by brain, pain, or training.
While the majority of riders understand the need for correctly fitting saddles, the practicality of ensuring this can be challenging. Saddles are notoriously expensive and if you have just purchased a new saddle and then your horse changes shape, the tendency is to make do. Do make sure you seek out a professional saddle fitter to come and assess you and your horse. There is no point having a saddle that fits your horse, if it doesn’t fit you. Do make sure that you have a good instructor to help you achieve and maintain a good position. Even getting a friend to video you riding can help to develop a correct position.
We understand that everyone wishes to keep their horses happy and healthy, but the logistics of doing so can be hard. So make sure you schedule the time to have your horse’s saddle checked by a competent professional, and should ridden problems, such as bucking, develop make sure that checking the fit of your saddle is one of the actions that you take. For a great guide on saddle fitting and what you should look for, take a look at this guide which has been put together by the Animal Health Trust in association with World Horse Welfare, click here to view the guide.