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Why Correct Saddle Fit is Crucial

Updated: Apr 2, 2023

It takes a team of professionals to help keep your horse happy, healthy and feeling at his best. It doesn’t matter what you do with him, whether it’s enjoying long leisurely hacks in the countryside or galloping around a cross-country course his health and comfort comes first.

At the recent Horses Inside Out Conference one of the key messages that was repeated from many different perspectives was the importance of working together as a team. Professional help is out there to help you with your horse whatever the problem. It is just a matter of finding the right professional to help.

At Horses Inside Out we regularly share tips, exercises and techniques to improve health and musculoskeletal comfort, posture and performance. For example massage techniques that can be performed between sessions from your regular professional massage therapist and pilates exercises to improve posture to perform on a daily basis.

However it is important to surround yourself and your horse with a good team of professionals that all work together. The vet-led team should include but not be limited to a professional and fully qualified: farrier or hoof care professional, dental specialist, saddle, bit and bridle fitter, coaches, nutritionist and musculoskeletal therapist.

In this blog article we will explore the importance of regular saddle fit, include some back assessment techniques and show you some simple checks you can do on your own horse.

Correct tack fit is a key element to your horse’s health and welfare, and one that shouldn’t be overlooked. This is why regular checks from your saddle fitter are vital to ensure the best possible fit not just for your horse, but also for you.

There are many factors that can affect saddle fit such as seasonal changes, fitness level, travelling, and changes in weight and condition. These changes can quickly alter your horse’s shape, which will have an impact on the balance of your saddle.

To learn more about how Back shape changes check out the on demand webinars: Understanding Your Horses Back and Understanding and Assessing Posture

An out of balance saddle will influence your horse’s way of going – and not in a good way. He may start to lean on the bit, struggle with engagement or fall onto the forehand. Long term, if not corrected this can lead to change in his musculature and put increased stress on his joints.

A balanced and correctly fitting saddle is important for you, the rider too. If your saddle is out of balance it can make maintaining the correct position difficult. You may feel that you’re tipping forwards, or your lower leg may not be as stable and secure as usual. Over time, this altered position can cause asymmetry and lead to a drop in your confidence too.

It is not just the design and fit of a saddle that is important for comfort and performance but the balance also. If the balance is slightly off this can severely affect horse and rider posture, and harmony as well as comfort and performance. Whatever saddle you ride your horse adjustability for both horse and rider is really important. I ride in wow saddles and have done for years now. One of the things I love about the Wow Saddles are their adjustability. Not only is there a range of headplates to fit every horse, but the tree is flexible, the air flocking is adjustable and for the rider there are different seat shapes and styles, asymmetrical adjustment potential and different stirrup bar positions which mean that the Wow saddle can be adjusted to ensure the best rider as well as horse balance.

In the video above I am joined by David Kempsall from Wow Saddles and we discuss why regular saddle checks are so important. Watch, as David assesses my horse, Toby and shows you some simple checks you can do on your own horse. It also highlights how quickly a horse can change shape, altering the fit of the saddle. It's just three months since Toby last had his saddle checked - there have been some dramatic changes which require the saddle to be adjusted so both he and Gillian are ready for the start of the competition season.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog article and video. If you have any questions don't hesitate to get in touch. If you have any questions about wow saddles contact:

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