Master saddler vital for a perfect fit

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There are many people who think if you have horses, you have money.

Well, let me tell you – if you have horses you have no money and any spare money you might have goes on something for the horses. Yes, you guessed it... we have just had the expense of a new saddle for our pony.

Our pony, Jasmine, arrived with a full wardrobe. That meant we had every rug, for every season and saddle pads, bridles, fly masks – you name it. However, the saddle she came with was her old saddle that was originally made for her some time ago as the saddle she was being ridden in fitted her old owner’s new pony.

We wanted to make sure her old saddle fitted her still, and I wasn’t convinced as it was rising at the back when my daughter was trotting and it wasn’t sitting perfectly on Jasmine’s back. It was lifting and a riser pad (this helps to lift the saddle in a specific area to sit better) just wasn’t doing it.

It’s imperative that a saddle fits properly as an ill-fitting saddle can cause a number of problems for both the horse and rider.

I always believe in using a master saddler, someone who is trained and an expert in this area.

Having horses for years does not make someone qualified in knowing how to fit one.

There are a number of possible side-effects, which might result in physical discomfort for the horse resulting in back issues ,for example, which may lead to being the direct cause of behavioural problems when ridden such as bucking or rearing.

Our master saddler, Helen, arrived and started by measuring Jasmine across her back to get a good understanding of her shape.

Saddles come in sizes and various widths – a little like going to a shoe shop. You can choose to have one ‘off the shelf’, if this fits your horse or if you are lucky enough you can have one made specifically for your horse – but this costs more money.