If you’re on a mission to find the best-fitting saddle, you’ll want to know what things to consider before you make your purchase. A properly fitted saddle is important for the comfort of your horse, as well as the maintenance of safety throughout the ride or performance. Here are some tips for finding the ideal saddle for your horse to ensure maximum comfort and performance.
Things to Consider When Selecting a Saddle
- Go for quality. A new saddle is an investment in your riding experience as well as your performance. You may be tempted to shave off a few dollars here or there, but don’t put price before quality. Check each saddle you look at for nails, lumps or other things that might result in pressure points for your horse. Likewise, it’s important to purchase a quality saddle that’s going to last for several years.
- Ask for a trial run. The best way to determine if a saddle fits properly is to give it a try. After you’ve determined if the saddle is the right fit for your horse’s body and the correct size for you, the next step is to try it out. A trial run enables you to experience the saddle under riding conditions.
- Work with your equine vet. Your equine veterinarian is the most qualified person to check your horse for back issues or other health concerns that might impact the type of saddle used. He or she will notice areas on your horse’s back with white hair, indicating excessive pressure. The second person that should be involved in a saddle fitting is your trainer. Have him or her present at the fitting since he or she can provide experience-based input and guidance.
- Try the saddle without a pad. The saddle tree should match the horse’s shape for the best and most comfortable fit. Since a saddle pad can obscure your ability to assess fit, it’s best to try the saddle without. Padding can obstruct your view and make it hard to ensure that no pressure is being placed on the horse’s back, shoulders or lumbar area.
- Take care of your saddle. After all the time that’s been spent searching for the perfect fit in a saddle, you should give your saddle the care necessary to get many years of use from it. Clean and condition it using products made specifically for leather horse tack. After each ride, wipe the saddle to remove dirt, debris and moisture. Store it out of direct sunlight, in a well-ventilated area, to avoid dryness and mold development.
The Benefits of Using a Properly Fitted Saddle
Finding the perfect-fitting saddle is important for your horse. A proper fit ensures that too much pressure isn’t placed on any one particular area of your horse’s back, causing discomfort, chafing or other problems. Likewise, once you’ve found the right saddle, taking care of it also prevents your horse from suffering from skin or coat conditions.
Use this guide to assist you in finding a horse saddle that keeps your horse comfortable and healthy while safeguarding your comfort and health, too. Even a less expensive saddle can be quite an investment, so it’s important that your purchase contributes to a safe, comfortable riding experience for you both.