PROPER SADDLE FITTING GUIDELINES
If you would like more information about having our saddle fitter come to your farm or if you would like to schedule a saddle fitting, please contact Janie directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please email questions about our store or any products to Pelham Saddlery at at email@example.com.
For information on fitting your Bates or Wintec Cair Panel Saddle click here.
Wither tracings can be emailed in pdf. form. Please un-check fit to page and scan without changing the size. Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. PLACE THE SADDLE,FIRST WITHOUT A SADDLE PAD, BEHIND THE HORSES SHOULDER BLADES. THIS WILL ENSURE MAXIMUM SHOULDER FREEDOM AND COMFORT.
- HINT: With the horse standing square on level ground, place the saddle slightly forward of the horses wither.
- Slide saddle down and back until the saddle stops sliding.
- Run your fingers from the front to the back of the horses shoulder blade. The front of your saddle should be behind these rotating blades.
2. GIRTH UP THE SADDLE AND CHECK THE GENERAL FIT WITHOUT THE WEIGHT OF THE RIDER.
- A. The pommel should clear the wither bones by a minimal distance of 2-3 stacked fingers for a used saddle or 3-4 stacked fingers for a new saddle.
- B. The panels should be in contact with the horses back from front to back and should span the horses spine.
- C. The cantle should be higher than the pommel. The center of the saddle must be the lowest point.
* IF THE SADDLE PASSES THE ABOVE CRITERIA THEN PROCEED TO STEP 3
3. REMOVE THE SADDLE AND TACK UP USING THE SADDLE PAD THAT YOU REGULARLY USE. WE DO NOT RECOMMEND USING CORRECTION PADS. WITH THE RIDER IN THE SADDLE CHECK FOR THE FOLLOWING:
- A. The pommel should clear the withers by 2-3 fingers for a used saddle or 2 1/2 -3 fingers for a new saddle.
- B. The cantle should be higher (recommended height varies with the style saddle) than the pommel and the rider should feel balanced in the deepest part of the seat, not tipped forward or back.
PORTIONS OF THESE GUIDELINES ARE USED WITH THE PERMISSION OF PERFORMANCE SADDLERY AND COUNTY SADDLERY.
A. Incorrect fit
- Cantle is lower than pommel
- the deepest point of the seat is too far back
- there is too much clearance under the pommel
- you should go with a wider tree
B. Correct fit
- the cantle is slightly higher than the pommel
- the deepest point of the seat is in the center of the saddle
- there are 2 fingers clearance under the pommel
C. Incorrect fit
- Even though the pommel and cantle relationship is correct, there is not enough clearance under the pommel.
- you should go with a narrower tree
How to do a wither tracing
Wire coat hanger or flexible curve (electrical wire)
Large piece of paper
1. Find the shoulder blade. (if you need help pull the horses leg forward so you can see the blade). At the back edge of the shoulder blade, keeping the wire perpendicular to the ground. Mold the wire to your horses back (up and over the wither). Immediately trace this on the paper before it bends. Mark a spot on the wither corresponding to where you took the measurement. Label this measurement A.
2. Go back approximately 1.5" -2" inches and take a second measurement the same way. Immediately trace onto the paper . Mark where you took this measurement on the horse. Label this measurement B.
3. Next measurement is at the horses spine at his deepest drop. Immediately trace onto paper. Mark where you took this tracing on the horse. Label this measurement C.
4. The last measurement should be taken at the last thoracic vertebrae directly under where the cantle would lie). Immediately trace this onto the paper. Mark where you took this tracing on the horses back. Label this measurement D.
5. Go along the top of the spine with wire and mark where all of you tracing points were taken (onto the wire). Then trace this curve onto the paper immediately. (making sure that all of the points are marked on the tracing A,B,C & D.
If you have any further questions please call us toll free at 1-877-7PELHAM or e-mail us.
Next time you suspect your horse has a sore back, don't call your vet, call your saddler! The major cause of sore backs, discomfort and poor performance is an ill-fitting saddle. In most cases, this saddle can be re-adjusted to fit the horse and relieve any discomfort for both horse and rider.
A saddle which does not fit affects the free movement of the horse and greatly diminishes the rider's control. A well fitted saddle is like a comfortable pair of shoes - not too tight, not too loose, just right. Each horse is unique in its build and deserves to have a well-fitted saddle.
The following are important factors used in fitting a saddle correctly to any horse:
- The saddle tree must fit the horse across the withers at the shoulder, not in the hollow behind the shoulder.
- The entire panel must touch the horse's back.
- There should be at least two fingers of vertical space between the withers and the gullet of the saddle after it is girthed tightly.
- The saddle should be level from side to side and carry the rider naturally in its deepest part. The rider should not feel as though he is riding up or down hill.
- The horse's back should be well worked and firmly muscled, since even a well fitted saddle could possibly cause soreness on an unfit horse.
- The person fitting your saddle should be qualified and must be willing to guarantee his work.
Anthony Cooper, a saddler born in Dublin, Ireland, is a member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen. He has extensive training in both making and repairing saddles. Top riders who have employed his services include such names as Kathy Connelly, Renate Lansburgh, Sue Steinhof and Denny Emerson.