It’s super easy to select a saddle. Get a huge chunk of money, see a pretty one that all the pro’s ride in and pair it with a super-technical half pad in your fav colors. Right?
Poorly fitting saddles can cause:
- Attitude problems like pinned ears, tail swishing and crabbiness
- Performance issues such as reduced stride length, head tossing or bucking
- Vague, hard-to-diagnose lameness issues
- Rubbing, sores or white patches of hair around the wither or saddle
- Rider problems such as tipping forward, chair seat or uneven weight distribution in the hip/leg
The only way to avoid all of the above problems is to educate yourself on your horse’s conformation, your performance needs as a rider and what brands/models could suit both those needs. Ultimately, the horse’s comfort should be the deciding factor (if your horse is lame or sore due to poor saddle fit, you won’t be riding anyways) whereas the rider can learn to adapt. Consider this: saddles as recently as the 20th century didn’t have forward-cut flaps to accommodate the leg and balance the rider over fences!
If you have champagne tastes on a club soda budget, thanks to the internet you can find a great saddle at a reasonable price.
Check out our next article in this series, Saddle Shopping 101: Saddle fitting for your horse to learn more about saddle fit for your equine BFF!