About the Saddle Doctor
There are three elements to saddle fitting; the horse, the rider, and the saddle. The saddle will always be the compromise. It's sandwiched between two moving bodies neither of which is ever perfectly symmetrical or stable. There will always be "pressure" and "pressure points" from the saddle onto your horse's back. This is your weight, and the saddle's fit. The saddle's job is to disperse your weight as evenly as possible over the largest amount of space. If your saddle does not fit, has panels that are hard and lumpy, over round, a channel too narrow, a gullet to tight, or the balance is wrong, your saddle could be causing numerous behavioral and movement issues for your horse or great difficulty with your position.
I truly have you and your horse's best interest in mind. It's my job to help guide you into making the right choice for your horse with regards to its saddle fit. It is in your best interest to involve your trainer with the fitting if you are purchasing a new saddle, they know you better than I do. I will look at every scenerio to making your saddle work better. Saddle design has come a long way over the years. Today's saddles take into account our pleasure horse, top-level dressage horse, long-legged show jump rider, round short-legged lady, shark-fin withered horse, sway-backed horse, croup high horse, draft-cross horse... the list goes on. This is why there are so many brands and styles of saddles today. Your 30 year old saddle may not be doing you or your horse any favors.
Reason's to suspect you might have a saddle problem
- horse's body language while tacking up (ears pinned, tail swishing, moves away from saddle)
- rubs or white hair on saddle bearing areas
- muscle atrophy behind shoulders or along the spine
- over developed muscles in the shoulders
- swollen areas on spine after riding
- won't stand while being mounted
Horse while riding:
- does horse drag his back toes
- moves in a straight line or "crab"
- unhappy while posting on a specific diagonal
- only happy going in one direction
- he jumps/resists/falters going into transitions
- sounds very heavy footed "stomping" while being ridden
- won't stand in a halt
- while jumping does he rush to his fences or away from them or buck
- when landing a fence does he drop his head down or stick it way up
- does he feel "free" with his front legs or is he shuffling along or stumbling
- can you feel the horse using his back, can he round his back and carry your weight
- is your horse very resistant and getting progressively worse during a ride
- is he slow to warm up
- does he buck or rear under saddle suddenly
- pins his ears or swishes his tail during a ride for no obvious reason
While riding do you:
- hear the same comments from your instructor time and time again
- struggle/fight to stay in position
- struggle to keep your lower leg forward or back
- get "rubs"
- get lower back or pelvis pain
- struggle to keep a straight back (are you hollow or round)
- constantly have to get off and move saddle forward or back
If some of these issues sound like you then contact The Saddle Doctor today!