Saddle Fitting

WOW SaddleWhat your saddler requires from you in order to carry out a saddle fit.

The horse should be clean and healthy. The area for the saddle fit needs to be level and provide light and space to move around the horse safely.

You will need a level firm surface on which to run the horse up in hand and a safe area for riding the horse in. (if the weather is bad an area under cover is useful even if only for the non riding part)

You will need your saddle and other equipment for riding the horse in. Make sure you show the saddler the saddle pad and girth you use and tell them about any other equipment such as non slip pads etc.

Have any previous saddle fitting records handy. It is helpful if you have all the information you know about the horse's history ie. if there have been any injuries or behavioural issues etc

It may be useful to write down any questions you think of so you remember to ask all of them at the time of the fit.

If for any reason you have to cancel a confirmed saddle fit please try to give a week's notice but a minimum of 48 hours to allow us to fit someone else in and keep everyone's traveling costs down.( we do appreciate it doesn't always work that way with horses but the more notice the better)

It can take from 1.5 to 2 hours to fit a saddle so it helps if the horse is in and ready when your saddler arrives. Some adjustments can be done on site such as flocking to balance panels and adjust the way in which a saddle sits. Major work such as stripping out all the flocking and replacing it needs to be done in the workshop. The saddle fit can only be based on what the saddler sees on the day of the fit and on the information given by the owner / rider. Saddle fit changes as the horse and rider change and needs to be maintained with regular checks, at least twice per year.

What you can expect from your saddler

BridlesIn all cases the welfare of the horse is the primary concern but the comfort of the rider is important too.

We will try to meet the needs of both within reason We will try to be punctual and if for any reason we are delayed for more than 15 minutes we will try to notify you. We aim to deal with everyone fairly and honestly and in a courteous manner. We will advise on saddle fit for all types of horse and will assess and fit your own saddle as long as it is a good quality saddle and appropriate for horse and rider. We offer high quality saddles for sale but we recognize that these are not a solution for all horses and riders and are happy to give advice on what else may be on the market that may be suitable.

We will explain what we are looking for and what we find and what we can do to alleviate any problems. If for any reason you are not happy with our service we would ask you to contact us as soon as possible to discuss what can be done to remedy this. We will discuss costs before we undertake any fitting or work on your saddle and in the case of finding something unexpected in a saddle we will contact you before carrying out that work. In the case of traveling long distances for a saddle fit we will try to combine it with several other clients and split the traveling costs.

Our hourly rate for saddle fitting is $60 +tax and traveling costs at 45c per km. Workshop rates vary and pieces of work will be priced individually.

Rachael Argo SMS Qualified Saddler

Learn what your horse's back feels like when he is fit and sound. Run your hand over his back before and after you ride and take note of lumps, hot spots and anything unusual or different.

Pay attention to any unwanted behavior like nipping when girthed or pinning ears etc. A change in behavior could indicate a problem.

Check your tack regularly for any wear or breakage. Your safety and that of your horse depends on it. Replace worn or broken tack immediately.

Ensure your tack is appropriate for your horse and for yourself and fits correctly.

Poor quality tack should be avoided. It can cause the horse pain and potentially lead to an accident.

Have your saddle fit checked at least twice per year by a qualified saddler / saddle fitter.

If your horse is stiff on one rein , refuses to canter on a particular lead, goes with his head in the air and a hollow back or displays any sign of discomfort and /or muscle wastage, have your saddle checked.

Use a mounting block to get on. It will save you, your horse and your saddle from damage.

Make yourself aware of how you sit in the saddle. Most people sit on one side and this can make the saddle and the horse uneven. Also be aware of how the horse moves and which hip he drops more than the other. Most horses drop the saddle to one side when moving, some more than others.

Be prepared to change your saddle if necessary. Rarely, if ever, will one saddle fit a horse all his life.

Don't be tempted to use any old saddle on your youngster when breaking him as this can cause a huge amount of damage on a developing back. Have the saddle properly fitted and be prepared to keep it that way. Don't think that you can get away with a bad saddle fit if you only ride for a short while each time or the rider is lightweight. You might get away with it, your horse won't !