A well-fitted saddle can make all the difference in the comfort and performance of both the horse and rider. However, there is a secret to saddle fitting that your trainer may have never told you about.
The secret is that the saddle fitting process is not just about the saddle itself, but also about the fit of the rider. That’s right, the rider’s position and balance can have a huge impact on how the saddle fits the horse.
According to the American Society of Equine Appraisers, up to 80% of all saddle fit issues are caused by rider position or balance. This means that even if you have the perfect saddle for your horse, if your position and balance are off, it can cause discomfort for your horse and affect their performance.
So, what can you do about it? The answer is simple: work on your own position and balance. This means taking lessons with a qualified instructor who can help you improve your riding position and balance, and practicing exercises that help strengthen the muscles used in riding.
In addition to working on your own position, it is important to have a qualified saddle fitter assess both your horse and your saddle. A good saddle fitter will take into account not only the shape of your horse’s back, but also their movement and any asymmetries or muscle imbalances.
The saddle fitter will also assess the fit of the saddle to the rider, taking into account the rider’s position and balance. They may make adjustments to the saddle, such as adding shims or adjusting the flocking, to ensure that it fits both the horse and rider properly.
It’s important to note that saddle fitting is not a one-time event. As horses’ bodies change over time due to age, training, and conditioning, their saddle needs may also change. It is recommended to have your saddle and horse re-evaluated by a qualified saddle fitter at least once a year.
In conclusion, while saddle fitting is often viewed as a process that focuses solely on the fit of the saddle to the horse, the rider’s position and balance are also crucial factors. Working on your own position and balance, as well as having a qualified saddle fitter assess both your horse and saddle, can ensure a comfortable and effective ride for both you and your equine partner.