Saddle fitting advice (Part 4)

If Ken is happy with the saddle, he asks the owner to ride either in a school or open space so he can assess the horse in all paces. "A good saddle fitter will always see the horse being ridden in a saddle" says Ken.

   

While walking, Ken looks at the saddle from behind to check for sideways movement which could cause bruising or hair loss.

 

Ken makes the final check when he takes the saddle off. Scuff or sweat marks on the horse's coat will show whether the saddle has moved. This saddle has slipped forward 
during riding.

 

The saddle should remain still and not come up off the horse's back as the rider rises to the trot.

A good tip is to watch the downward transition from canter to trot. A happy horse will throw his scapula forward as he takes the first trot stride. Here we see the horse is moving freely in the transition with a good outline. A 'shambling' transition indicates a saddle which is too tight across the shoulders.

Ken keeps a record of all his clients including a wither template and the horse's weight. This information helps him monitor any changes in the horse's shape or size.