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English Saddle Fitting

Fitting an English Saddle

saddle-fittingThe correct method of fitting an English saddle is different from the method used for a Western saddle.

For the rider, something to keep in mind is that a Western 15" saddle equates to a 17" English saddle.

Key Features to Fitting Your Horse’s Back

1. There should be no restriction of the horse's shoulder blade when in movement...the points of the saddle should sit an inch or two behind the shoulder blade to allow for its rotation.

2. Discomfort and restriction of movement will be caused if the back of the saddle sitts behind the last rib. The weight of rider and saddle cannot be supported beyond this point on a horse's back.

3. Front arch of the saddle should have adequate clearance over the withers, and not be tight laterally so as to 'pinch' the withers. As a rough guide, with a seated rider there should be at least 2 fingers' width vertical clearance between the horse's wither and the underside of the arch of the saddle.

4. The central gullet of the saddle panel (underside) must ALWAYS maintain sufficient clearance above the horse's spine. Not having full clearance here can have dire consequences to the comfort and well-being of the horse, as sores, bruising, discomfort and, at worst, damage to the vertebrae can be caused by direct  pressure here.

5. Any pinching of the spinal areas of the horse's back caused by a 'too narrow' gullet can also cause soreness, soft swelling and discomfort which will again detract from the horse's ability to move freely and happily.

6. You need to be sure of all the points listed above, and that the saddle sits comfortably with an even bearing surface at the front and the rear, and that the balance of the saddle is correct (as detailed above).

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