Saddle Fitting Session
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Saturday, May 10, 2008 05:52 PM
Ali's saddle isn't exactly a good fit for him or his owner. It has very narrow gullet which makes the saddle lift off Ali's back during turns and circles. The stirrups are too forward which makes rider struggle with balance. The twist is very narrow so there is no support for the upper thighs. The panels are hard and they are sloping more then Ali's back at the back of the saddle. Saddle fitter from Equi-Products of Edmonton came to the barn to take measurements and try some saddles. With Ali standing square in the aisle she took 4 measurements with flexible rod:
  • Along his spine from the withers
  • Across his back 2 inches behind the shoulder blades
  • Across the lowest part of his back
  • Across the back at the end of the ribcage
If you cannot have a saddle fitter come to measure your horse you can do it yourself and draw shapes of the flexible rod or ruler on the paper. This way you can order your saddle from online store and be more successful in fitting it to your horse.
We have tried several saddles on Ali (he was so good, standing square and quietly during the whole session). One saddle was bridging, another had very curved panels and saddle rocked slightly, another one was too long. Two we liked: there was a good gullet clearance, correct tree, panels contouring to Ali's back. We decided to take those to arena and try them.
The first one had a French leather, very soft and sticky. It made you feel very connected to it. However, the sit was too large for the owner and the back of the saddle lifted during trot and canter. I, personally, didn't feel any difference in Ali's way of going compare to the old saddle.
The second saddle we liked best, all of us including Ali. It had a smaller seat, made the owner very balanced, her legs were naturally under her. This made rising trot very easy. The saddle didn't move on Ali's back and Ali went better in it. He was more balanced, easily stretching into the bridle and generally more steady.
The third one was OK. However, Ali didn't feel as balanced in it as in the second one. And it was very expensive ($4,500!). We decided to try the second one for a week. I must say Ali behaved so well during the whole trial I was very impressed with him.
On Friday I have worked Ali in the new saddle. Again he felt more balanced and relaxed. He is learning how to jump and we have jumped a simple gymnastics line. He did it with balance and grace. I felt very balanced and at ease in the saddle.
The saddle fitter will bring us other saddles that are more appropriate for Ali's measurements she took. We will see what happens...
Happy riding...
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