Society of Master Saddlers Qualified Saddle Fitter
Saddle Pads, The Best & The Brightest!
Now, a few words about saddle pads, . .
1st Cleanliness is all. Wash the buggers! Frequently, especially when the weather makes for sweaty riding. If you havenít got time for an all over groom, go for the gold everywhere that saddle and your leg will be touching your horseís body.
2nd You canít fix a saddle fitting problem with pads. No ifís, anís, butís or maybeís. In short, donít be thinking that if your saddle is too small, you can make things all better with a thicker pad.
3rd You canít cure a training problem with a "therapeutic" pad. What you can do is make your saddle sit still upon your horse's back and reduce the shock of a ride by using a ThinLine Pad on top of your cotton pad. For more info, click here: ThinLine Pads
4th In an ideal situation, where the saddle fits like a glove, youíll need less pad, not more. (Or none at all if you are riding English Pleasure!)
And last, but not least, . . .
1st The saddle fitting problem you solve today may well need resolving six months from now. Mary Wanless, the respected British riding teacher has written a book titled For The Good of the Horse. In it, she recounts the story of a horse who went through seven saddle tree size increases! The theory behind this experiment states that a horse will muscle up their back until muscle meets the saddle tree/bars, then back off slightly and go into a holding pattern. If the rider is unaware of this, their horse will not develop their back more (and may start evidencing the training problems I described earlier.) In my own experience, I have a mare who has gone from a 30 cm tree, to a 32 cm tree to a 36 cm tree! Late breaking news!!! And now, she's in a custom made. Folks, this lady emptied out the "off the rack" stock. She is a 15.3 hh Morgan, but needs a Warmblood size tree! This 6 + cm back growth has occurred over 3 years of training.
2nd If your horse is fat, and becomes fit, you will have to deal with this change using more padding. Stay awake to the fact that this fit horse will be growing back muscles as you continue to train them and that extra padding will need to go, making room for the new back muscle.
3rd The saddle fitting problems you solve in the summer may well not hold over winter if your horse "hibernates" over the winter, i.e.. does not remain in work. The back muscles may "retreat," the horse may put on fat or lose weight. In short, take nothing for granted!
If, at any time, you need more help fitting your horse, you may write me at Saddlefitter@gmail.com or call the farm at 651-462-5654.