Does your horses saddle fit??
Hey y’all! So this week I am going to talk a little bit about saddle fit. I have helped a few people this week with some basic saddle fit. I am not a professional at saddle fitting however I do know some basic indications of poor saddle fit. I am going to base this off of a western saddle.
The first thing that is important, is to know your horses back. Ask yourself, does it have a high wither or a flat back, etc. It is important to find your horses shoulder as well. I will try my best to explain this just by writing it out but to find your horses shoulder you start just below the horses withers, you should be able to feel the top of the shoulder-blade. Then, slide your hand back and continue to follow the shoulder-blade so you know where the shoulder is. Your saddle should not be restricting the movement of the shoulder-blade. If your saddle is hitting the shoulder-blade it could case the horse to want to compensate by shortening their stride which could lead to soreness. If your horse starts to get white spots on it’s back that means the pigments have been rubbed off and that could mean the saddle has rubbed and could be too narrow.
One way you can check to see if your horse’s saddle fits is after you get done riding, check the sweat marks and it should be an even mark and should not have a bunch of dry spots. Another way to check saddle fit, that my Aunt told me is sprinkle baby powder on your horses back and when you set the saddle down it will leave an imprint in the baby powder. So, another thing to do is to run your hand under the saddle going from the front to the back and it should be a nice even pressure not too tight or too loose. Also, be sure to check the ring that the off billet attaches too and make sure that it is not poking the horse’s side.
Another sign of poor saddle fit is a change in the horses attitude. If your horse does not usually buck but starts bucking a lot and does not ride out of it then that could be the horse telling you something is bothering them. Now, I am not saying that horses will only buck if it is a saddle that does not fit, because horses can buck for many reasons, but that could be a sign. One big sign that I have personally seen is a horse that will start to throw fits when you put the saddle on, or a horse that starts to pin its ears or try biting when you are saddling. So, just be mindful of your horse and it’s attitude. Also know that a horses attitude could change from soreness, not related to the saddle. So, if your horse has a sudden change of attitude then there usually is a bigger problem such as physical pain which then I would recommend having a vet check the horse out.
There are many videos on YouTube about saddle fit on YouTube but I hope some of these tips help. If you suspect your horse’s saddle does not fit and is causing problems then it would be a good idea to consider having a professional come out to check.