Assessing optimal saddle fit for happy trails ahead!
We’re here to share the secret recipe for an optimal saddle fit, helping you make sure your saddle is comfy for you and your horse for many rides to come! This will assist you in not only assessing your saddle fit but also understanding when your saddle might need a tweak or two and when to call your saddle fitter. We always recommend seeking professional advice on your saddle fit.
When should I get my saddle fitted?
After your initial saddle fit and once the riding adventures in your new saddle have begun, we recommend that you have the fit of your saddle checked within the first three months – to make sure it’s super comfy for you and your horse!
Find a local expert by contacting your nearest Wintec Saddles stockist.
Fun fact: your saddle will settle in the head during the initial riding period, as is standard with all new saddles. Once your saddle has become BFF’s with your horse’s back, your saddle’s fit should be checked every six months throughout its life. Why you ask? Your four-legged friend’s shape can change according to age, level of fitness and work program.
Pre-saddle fit checklist
Before we kick off assessing ‘does my saddle fit?’ There are some key items we need to check off first.
Check your saddle is:
- Positioned correctly. Locate your horse’s shoulder and check to see that the nail of the saddle is approximately three fingers distance from the edge of your horse’s shoulder.
Check your horse is:
- saddled up, and with firm girth as if you were about to ride (if your horse is willing to do so safely, you may find it easiest to assess without a saddle pad).
- standing on level ground, and
- striking a picture-perfect square pose.
Please note: all fitting adjustments and saddle alterations should be made in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Does my saddle have enough clearance?
It’s important your saddle gives your horse’s withers and spine sufficient clearance. Picture this: your horse’s wither and spine are VIP’s, clearance across the width and length of their spine should be maintained at all times.
It’s time to clearance check!
Place your hand down the channel at the withers and the back of your saddle. Check to see that the channel is clear of your horse’s wither and spine through the length of your saddle.
Does my saddle have even bearing?
Your saddle should bear evenly on your horse’s back, providing a close fit. To give it a friendly check, gently slide your hand between your horse and the saddle panel. The pressure should be even across the entire panel. If you feel the bearing is lighter in some areas and heavier in others, it could be time to get your saddle fitter out.
Top tip: If your saddle features the CAIR Cushion System, it is important that a rider sits in the saddle to check the bearing, as the air becomes dynamic under the rider’s weight.
Is my saddle’s seat balanced?
For perfect balance the deepest part of your saddle seat should be both central and level.
If you’re finding it a little tricky to assess your saddle’s balance up close and personal, we recommend safely tying up your horse and stepping back approximately two meters or seven feet.
Should your saddle require a tweak or two, we recommend contacting your saddle fitter, who will work with you to achieve a balanced outcome.
If your saddle features HART or a combination of individual technologies, you or your saddle fitter will select the optimal combination of EASY-CHANGE Gullets and EASY-CHANGE Risers to achieve sufficient clearance, even bearing and perfect balance.
The innovative systems in our saddles offer unsurpassed flexibility in achieving an optimal fit, however, no one saddle can claim to fit any horse. It is always recommended you seek ongoing professional advice on the fit and in meeting the unique needs of each horse/rider combination.