Trail Saddle Fit

The Trail Saddle is on your horse for extended periods.  Proper fit is essential.

Frequently we hear discussion that when a saddle does not fit, just try out a variety of pads. This way of thinking is bothersome for many reasons.

  • Whenever a saddle is truly too narrow for the horse, a larger pad will simply cause the problem to get worse. If the saddle is actually too narrow , there is no special pad, breast collar, or even a increased tight cinch that will ensure fit.
  • The saddle that’s too narrow may slip sideways, producing pressure spots in front and back of the saddle.  This uneven pressure will also cause the horse irritation. The saddle is not in position to perform its function by equally disbursing rider weight. It is forced to concentrate weight in small points forward and back.
  • Whenever a saddle is just too broad for a horse, the rider may be sitting right on the horse’s backbone rather than utilizing the bars to distribute the bodyweight.  The saddle is going to rest too low on the horse’s withers and may push up in the back. Additionally since there is no standardization for the terms “semi Quarter horse bars” and “full Quarter horse bars”. A full Quarter horse bar for one brand of saddle will fit differently than another brand saddle. This is especially true with regards to saddles with specialized trees.

Several techniques to test your Trail Saddle and see if your saddle fits:

1) The saddle remains in place when you ride without a breast collar and the cinch does not cut into your horse.

2) The perspiration pattern beneath the saddle is even without dry areas.

3) The horse does not have whitened spots or rubbed-away hair.

4) The saddle looks even and not tilted forward or popping up in the rear. The saddle is not sitting low on the withers. There is sufficient width in between the withers as well as the gullet.

5) Place the saddle on the horse without a saddle blanket. Feel underneath the saddle. Is there is contact all the way around the horse’s back?

 If your horse has gained weight, the saddle will not fit the same. In the event the saddle was tailored to your horse while young, his shape has changed as he has aged.  The saddle will fit differently. Always be aware of changes and saddle fit.