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Taking a template:-It is useful to take a template for the saddler so that we can gain an idea of the fit the horse will need. To do this you can use a "Flexi Curve" which can be purchased from most art/stationary stores, if you are unable to obtain one of these then a bendy wire coat hanger will surfice.Mould the "Flexi Curve" or wire coat hanger over the horses wither where the front points of the saddle fits. Draw around the template on a plain piece of paper, A4 size will be good. A second template of the horses back can be taken by placing the "Flexi Curve" down the horse spine from the wither towards his tail, this will give our saddlers an idea of the horses back confirmation which may also help in finding a suitable saddle.
A saddle to suit the horse:-Horse vary in breed and confirmation. A wide range of horses are generally easy to fit but certain breeds such as cobs, arabs and high withered thoroughbreds can be a little bit more tricky. There are styles of saddles which are specifically made for these types of horses which maybe more suitable.
A saddle to suit the rider:-As well as it being essential that the saddle fits the horse, it is also important to fit the rider. Style is often important depending on what you are doing eg: dressage, showing, showjumping etc. The most popular style is General Purpose which is suitable for all levels of riding and competition. Dressage and Jumping saddles are more specific styles, for eg, you would not wish to showjump in a dressage saddle.
A guide to seat size:-Upto a 15" for a small child/toddler.16" for the average child/small teenager.17" Average teenager/lady.18" for the average man.
How to fit a saddle:-Stand your horse on a flat surface and stand him square. Place the saddle on the horse back. Look for the saddle to sit level across the tree from pommel to cantle. The bearing surface needs to have a good contact all along the horses back with no bridging in the centre or rocking. There needs to be good clearance of about 3-4 fingers at the pommel as well as clearance along the horse spine. Once the fit looks good at this point then girth the saddle up. If the saddle is still sitting level without excessive lifting off the horses back then the rider can sit on the saddle.Once the rider is in place check again the clearance of the saddle with someone viewing from the ground. The saddle will have dropped slightly with the riders weight but still requires 3 fingers clearance at the pommel with good clearance down the spine, you should be able to see daylight through the channel.At this point you need to see the saddle ridden in all three gaits, again by someone viewing from the ground. Check the saddle is sitting relatively still with no excessive bouncing or lifting off the horses back.
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