The serious consideration of proper saddle fit, though having gained more recognition in recent years, is certainly not a new or novel concept. William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, when writing his treatise on the care and training of dressage horses in 1656 admonished “…the first saddle you put upon him should be quilted, or one made of chaff or straw, well fastened by a surcingle, that it may not hurt his back, but leave his shoulders liberty that he may trot freely…” Chaff and straw may have given way to synthetics and other 21st century materials but the importance of proper saddle fit remains a key component of every rider’s strategy. With the increased awareness of this facet of riding, the number of saddle fit “experts” has also increased. Many of these are representatives of saddle manufacturers, whose primary goal is the sale of saddles, not the solving of your fit problem. Most have no experience in the crafting or repair of saddles and their only knowledge of saddle fit comes from a short “course” provided by the manufacturer. Others have certificates from various English institutes whose main requirement for certification is the payment of a substantial fee. The question to ask is not so much “Does the saddle fit?” – the horse can tell you that – but “What can be done to make it fit properly?” I offer both my 40+ years of experience and a guarantee of satisfaction to those in need of such a service.
If your horse is experiencing problems due to an improperly fitting saddle please consider contacting me to discuss your options. Oftentimes there are solutions, for both English and western riders, that do not require the purchase of a new saddle. Trees can be altered, panels reflocked and/or refitted, riggings can be repositioned – all are potential solutions.
I also conduct saddle fit seminars and provide individual consultations, time permitting. If you or your group is interested in such services feel free to contact me for details and scheduling.