You Have A New English Saddle. Now What?
This is a conversation I have with all clients who purchase a saddle through me, be it in person, out of state or overseas. (I fit saddles all over the world, on all seven continents, thanks to a system of long-distance saddle fitting and balancing I’ve developed.) I ask my riders to get in at least thirty rides which raise a sweat before I return to do the initial balance and fine tune the saddle panels once the wool has taken a mold.
Thereafter, depending on how often you ride, under what conditions, your saddle should be seen and evaluated for balance at least once a year. For high performance and competition horses, those evaluations may double or triple. For horses in rehab or who are growing, gaining or losing weight, this check-in can be as simple as a series of photos and answers to the following four questions, all done without a pad or girth:
With one hand over the pommel and the other over the cantle, press each gently. Is there any rock?
When you sweep your hand beneath the saddle points (those 1” by 2” long leather pockets under the saddle flaps, approximately 2-3” behind the saddle button) then down out from under the saddle, does it feel like a ‘credit card swipe?’ Or is there tightness or a gap? IMPORTANT NOTE: make it a habit of finding the back edge of your horse’s scapula and always positioning your saddle with the tree points in that little leather pocket behind the shoulder blades.
Reach into the channel with your thumb on one side of the spine, and fingers on the other. Slide them along the spine as far as you can reach. Is the contact consistent throughout?
Take hold of the billets and draw them straight toward the ground. Does the saddle stay in place?
If you need any help, just shoot me an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org