Free guide to fitting your saddle
Whether you’re an established rider or a complete novice, a well fitting saddle allows your horse a greater degree of freedom, movement and comfort. It also helps you to adopt the correct riding position. Fitting your saddle accurately will ensure both you and your horse enjoy your time together, whether you’re competing or out for a casual ride.
A saddle that fits your horse well will mean he can move freely, as well as protecting his vital back muscles. This will ensure your horse develops a rounded, perfectly balanced outline. It also means both you and your horse will have a comfortable ride together.
Check, check and check the fit!
There’s been a lot of advice written over the years, about how to fit your saddle correctly – some of it good, and some of it confusing…
Here are some of our top tips:
- (1) Take time to position it.
Place the saddle on your horse’s back. In terms of placement, it should go slightly forward of your horse’s withers. Slide it backwards and forwards until it naturally falls into the right place. The points of the saddle should ideally be an inch or two behind the shoulder blade to allow for rotation.
- (2) Check fit around the withers.
The front arch of your saddle should have sufficient clearance over the withers. It mustn’t be restrictive. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to get 2 fingers width vertical clearance between the withers and underside of the saddle arch.
- (3) Check the gullet
The central gullet of the side panel must have sufficient clearance above the horse’s spine. A poor fit can make result in the horse feeling uncomfortable, and lead to bruises, sores and an unhappy ride.
- (4) Check the seat level
Check that the saddle sits comfortably and has an even bearing surface at the front and the rear, and that the general balance of the saddle is correct.
- (5) Do a final check
When you’re absolutely sure that the saddle is well balanced, positioned and securely fastened, you are ready. If you’re unsure about anything, get some help from a professional saddle maker. They will be more than happy to give you their best advice about how to fit different types of saddle.
What our saddle fitting guide video below
Take care of your saddle
Your saddle is probably going to be one of the most expensive pieces of equine equipment that you purchase, so take care of it.
Make sure the flocking remains flat, store it in a cool temperature (to preserve the leather) and treat it regularly with a quality cleaner. This should ensure that it lasts and continues to ensure you have a safe and comfortable ride.
Many riders have found that the Bedale Saddle by Whitaker has been a good choice.
This all-rounder, is idea for everyday use, easy to keep clean, with a shallow seat for comfort when jumping. For a more videos of Whitaker Saddles please click here to visit our video library.
John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit. The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI). Combining superior quality with exceptional performance, the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.