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The Best Saddle Fit For Your Horse

Jul 23, 2008
Many people have asked me how to physically tack up their horses and what to check to make sure they have a near perfect fit. Here are four points to watch as you are saddling your horse to make sure everything is as it should be for horse and for the rider.

1. You must have the horse standing on level ground to begin with. Place the saddle on its back up at the withers and then slide it back in to place. You must consider this step very important, as some problems are not because of a bad fit, but an improper tacking technique. Position is very important.

Saddles are only designed to match a horse's anatomy that is standing in their proper position. If it is placed in front of or behind this position, then the physical problems occur for rider and horse. In the proper position, the cinch will fall about four inches behind the elbow of the horse. A common occurrence is putting the saddle too far forward causing soreness or saddle sores to occur. Forward placement also can cause constriction of movement for the horse and the rider is out of position. Likewise, if it's placed to far back on the loins of the horse, the rider is out of balance and the horse will have discomfort and impairing of movement. These problems are misinterpreted as a saddle fit issue, when the person doing the tacking is really to blame.

2. Always check the clearance of the withers. You should be able to place 2 or more fingers stacked between the withers and the qullet. No more than 4 fingers. Make sure you do this with no saddle pad. After fit, you can then bring the pad back in to play.

3. Shoulder clearance is next. There should be ample room to slip your hand between the fleece lining and the horses shoulder, this time with the pad included. Ideally, you should be able to do this with a rider in place also.

4. Lastly, you must check the skirt fit. The skirt should follow the shape of the horse's back and not extend past its loins. Past the loins will cause the skirt to dig in.

Now step back and look at the overall fit from the side. Check the balance. The flat area of the seat should be level and the fork should not be higher than the cantle. When cinched, the back of the saddle shouldn't rock up. If all these things check out, then you have tacked your horse correctly and done everything you can to assure a comfort fit.
About the Author
Beth is the webmaster of Posh Pampered Pets. If you have any questions regarding Horse Supplies or Posh Pampered Pets , please feel free to call 979-221-7251 or email info@poshpamperedpets.com
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