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Saddle Fit and Industry Education

Saddle Fit and Industry Education

A recent article in the Journal of Veterinary Science concerning the repeatability of 20 Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) Qualified Saddle Fitters observations of static saddle fit outlines the lack of cohesiveness in the methodology of assessing saddle fit. The SMS has committed to overhauling their entire saddle fitting curriculum within the next year or two – recognizing the fact that a) saddle making does not equal saddle fitting and b) their saddle fitting training is somewhat remedial in its ramifications. Further work is definitely necessary to standardize the criteria of what is saddle fit and how should saddles be fitted – and perhaps to develop a common language that is accepted throughout the industry...

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Many Horses But Not So Many Saddles - Saddle Solutions?

Many Horses But Not So Many Saddles - Saddle Solutions?

I am a trainer with lots of horses to ride but I cannot afford a saddle for each horse. I start a lot of young horses – some of which will presumably leave within a year or two. How do I manage to do right by all these animals (and for myself) by ensuring I have and use a saddle which works for me and works for all of them? Obviously, ideally, it would be great to have a saddle that has been made and fi􀄴ed for each horse’s conformation, but the reality is that this will seldom be the case. So, you get a saddle that fits you absolutely wonderfully, is comfortable, works with your anatomical requirements (male or female), and makes sure that at the very least you won’t let any discomfort from the rider’s end translate down to the horse. That’s the first step. Then, you have it fitted to the largest horse you have because it’s always easier to fill in the gaps and make it fit for horses with narrower shoulders, lower withers, etc. (just like it’s easier to fit shoes that are too large with insoles and extra socks; the other way really doesn’t work that well.)

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Bad Horse! Really? How About "Bad Rider!" or "Bad Saddle!" or maybe even "Bad Genes!"

Bad Horse! Really? How About "Bad Rider!" or "Bad Saddle!" or maybe even "Bad Genes!"

Most people will agree with the statement “horses do not make conscious decisions to behave badly.” Horses react to outside stimuli—either a poorly fitting saddle or an incompetent or untrained rider can cause all kinds of unwanted behaviors. How and where a rider’s weight is carried can make a huge difference, and dangerous horses can quickly be created when aids are misunderstood or mishandled. Sometimes horses will develop resistant or evasive behaviors because the handler does not know how to get what he is asking for, but remember that this does not make a “bad horse”—it’s simply a horse behaving badly. Some of the strategic behavior horses have adopted could be interpreted as stereotypical, but these behaviors are not vices, as vices would infer that the horse is somehow at fault....

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Saddle Fit and Girth Choices - the two go hand in hand!

Saddle Fit and Girth Choices - the two go hand in hand!

The girth is the most important saddle accessory because it directly affects saddle fit and how it feels to your horse. There are many different types, lengths and versions of girths available. In this article, we look at the factors to consider when finding and fitting a girth that will work for your horse...

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Why Don't We See More Boys Riding Dressage?

Why Don't We See More Boys Riding Dressage?

It’s always interesting to take a few moments when I’m working at a horse show to check out the competition. I mean the real competition- the riders who have trained long and hard and are now showing off their skills in the ring. Especially in dressage shows, but also at the lower level hunter/jumper shows – it is almost painfully obvious how few boys there are riding and competing!...But let’s examine the question a little closer concerning why boys specifically generally don’t ride. Beyond the ‘peer pressure’ issue of it not necessarily being a ‘macho’ sport, perhaps there are other reasons at play; issues that have to do with my favorite subject: saddle fit!

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Saddle Fit: English vs. Western - What are the Differences?

Saddle Fit: English vs. Western - What are the Differences?

When mankind began riding horses, and saddles were developed to help keep riders astride their mounts, the original purpose of the saddle was to support the horse in his job. Saddles were designed to accommodate the demands placed on horses during activities such as combat, transportation, and sport. And since riding in long skirts was not practical and it was unbecoming for women to straddle a horse, side-saddles were created to allow women to ride. Recent years have seen a change in saddles from mainly functional to often fashionable (featuring bling, silver, etc.). More recently, as the general demographic of riders changed to primarily women, gender considerations have been incorporated into the mix of saddle design for both English and Western disciplines...

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Saddle Fit and Technology - How Technological Advances are Changing the Way Saddles are Fitted

Saddle Fit and Technology - How Technological Advances are Changing the Way Saddles are Fitted

Many tools have been developed over the years to assist in the diagnosis of saddle fit, however, as ‘sexy’ as they are, they are just that – tools – providing information that exemplifies the situation at a given moment. Unless you have someone that actually knows what to do with this information to provide you a solution to your issue, it’s pretty much without value. Many people can tell you what’s visually wrong with your saddle but there are very few who can analyze the data to actually tell you why you are having the issue you are.

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Do you have any hints to avoid 'saddle fitting hell' of buying a saddle?

Do you have any hints to avoid 'saddle fitting hell' of buying a saddle?

rt and a science to fitting a saddle to both horse and rider. Human and Equine anatomy are a key determinant in choosing the correct saddle. In a nutshell it has to work for both of you. A badly fitting saddle not only causes discomfort to the horse and rider, but can actually stop a horse from moving properly. The tree and panels of a saddle should be chosen for the horse; the seat and flap length for the rider – at minimum. The proper way to measure the seat size of an English saddle is ...

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Top 10 Signs of Poor Saddle Fit

Top 10 Signs of Poor Saddle Fit

It is apparently a psychological truth that people have an affinity to lists consisting of 10 points; maybe because we have 10 fingers, 10 toes, there are 10 commandments, etc. 10 is just a nice round number to work with and easy to count off. David Letterman adopted an interesting institution with his “top 10” lists on his late show. I don’t know why I actually came up with 9 signs of poor saddle fit that you can self-diagnose, but those are what they are and I couldn’t artificially inflate that number. You will see 7 or 8 points in the literature as well, but I think these lists combine some of the points of reference...

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I am a new Schleese customer and wanted to tell you how much I love my new saddle!  I have struggled for almost 5 years trying to find the right saddle for my horse.  New ones would work for a short time, but were never the right fit for myself and my horse together.  After watching all your videos, reading your book and the information on your website, I decided that I wanted to do the right thing for my horse and purchase one of your saddles. Working with Denise Lenz was so educational and fun!  She was just super and explained everything she was doing.  I had several people there to watch me ride in 3 different saddles, but my horse Rex chose the Obrigado.  His movement was so different than anything I have ever felt before!  He has a very short back so it really suited him, and everyone watching agreed it was the one.  He was so happy and forward moving in that saddle, and I really just sat there and let him go.  Sitting the trot and canter was effortless for me for the first time!  Now I see why a “female” saddle makes such a difference.  I could never sit his canter easily before or keep my toes forward in my previous saddles.  The seat is so comfortable and I feel really supported as I ride.  It’s like I am one with him, and not just sitting on his back.  Every ride is a good ride and I’m excited to keep progressing with his training now that he can really move his body and not be uncomfortable or restricted. I am also very grateful to Denise for selling me that demo saddle so I didn't have to wait for one to be made.  She said she could leave us knowing it fit perfectly, and that gave her peace of mind.  I slept really well that night knowing I had purchased not only a lovely piece of equipment, but also feeling relieved that my horse will never suffer pain from an ill-fitting saddle ever again.  I am a Schleese customer for life now and look forward to working with Denise for years to come. “Obrigado” [Thank you] and kind regards.

— Christine Stevens - Winnipeg, Manitoba

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