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.
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.