National Saddle Centre Saddle Fitting
Does your saddle fit?
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - National Saddle Centre Saddle Fitting
National Saddle Centre NZJosephine Giles DancyOwner, Founder & Master SaddleFitter
Does your saddle fit?Unweighted ChecksThe Basics
Check the PositionThe points of the tree should sitthree fingers (2inches/5cm)behind the scapula.
Saddle in Correct PositionSaddle sitting too far forward. The points of the tree arejamming into the scapula. The balance is lost. Doing this can havesevere implications on the ligaments around and above thescapula.Saddle sitting too far back. Balance is lost and weight is beingtaken beyond the 18th thoracic vertebrae and into the lumbarregion.Saddle sitting in the correct position. The points of the tree are 2inches/5cm behind the scapula, the back of the saddle does notencroach into the lumbar region and balance is good.xx
Check the BalanceThe cantle of the saddleshould sit about1inch/2.5cm higher thanthe pommel.The lowest part of theseat should be parallel tothe ground.
BalanceThe saddle is sitting in correct balance. The cantle about aninch above the pommel; the lowest part of the seat sittingparallel to the ground so the rider’s weight is being takenmost sympathetically on the horse’s back.This saddle is sitting “cantle low”. The pommel is level orhigher than the cantle causing the rider’s weight to be takentoo far back. This can totally destabilize the saddle and causepressure at the back of the saddle and friction throughout. Itmay incline the saddle to slip forward.This saddle in sitting “cantle high”. The cantle isconsiderably higher than the pommel causing the rider’sweight to be taken across the front third of the saddle. Thiscan cause excessive pressure from the points of the tree &stirrup bar and friction & concussion at the back of thesaddle.xx
Check the ClearanceMake sure that there issufficient clearancebetween the withers andthe arch of the saddle.It is very important tocheck the clearancethroughout the channel ofthe saddle not just at thefront.
ClearanceInsufficient clearance: Balance lost;saddle is sitting too close to the horseswither and spine where all the rider’sweight will be taken.Bad choice for this horse.Too much clearance: Balance lost;weight taken at the back of thesaddle; front destabilized and saddlelikely to slip forward.Bad choice for this horse.Good clearance: good balance.Good choice for this horse.xx
Check the PointsWhen you stand by yourhorse’s side the points ofthe tree should follow thecontours of the horsesoutline, running parallelwith the area behind theshoulder where they sit.
Check the ContactFeel underneath thepanels to make sure thereis contact throughout thehorses back. Pressureshould be even and noteshould be taken of anylight spots or where thesaddle feels heavier.
Check the SizeThe saddle must be anappropriate size for bothhorse and rider . Noweight should be takenfurther back than thehorses 18th thoracicvertebrae (T18). To checkthis, find the last rib andfollow it up to where itmeets the spine – that’sT18!
Check the width of ChannelMeasure the horses spineand then measure thewidth of channel.When correct, you willhave the mostsympathetic weightbearing surface on thehorse’s back and will haveminimised friction againstthe spinous processus.
Does your saddle fit?Weighted ChecksThe Basics
Check the Panels are EvenStand behind the horseand make sure the panelslook even on each side ofthe spine and that thesaddle isn’t tipping over toone side.
Check the StabilityWhen the rider stands in thestirrups the back of thesaddle should stay in contactwith the horse’s back.Looking for this stabilitywhen the horse is beingridden and we have addedthe dynamic of horse andrider movement is one ofthe most important checks.
Check the Riders BalanceFirstly, you mustcheck the saddle is incorrect balance andis in the right placeon the horses back.The rider should be sitting in the lowest partof the seat, not tipping forwards orbackwards and in the correct shoulder-hip-heel line.
Balance, Stability & ClearanceCheck the Stability: After the saddle has been ridden on for 10minutes or more get the rider to stand in their stirrups. Check tomake sure the saddle isn’t coming up off the horses back when therider is in two point position.Check the Clearance: After the saddle has been ridden on for 10minutes or more, get the rider to sit on the seat and check theclearance at the front of the saddle. You should be able to seedaylight throughout the channel.Check the Balance: After the saddle has been ridden on for 10minutes or more, check the balance of the saddle when horseis standing four square on flat, level ground. The cantle shouldbe approx. 2.5cm higher than the pommel if a parallel line wasdrawn.
National Saddle Centre NZFor more information, visit our website:www.nationalsaddlecentre.co.nz