The 9 Points of Saddle Fit for English Saddles
By Jochen Schleese, German Certified Master Saddler and Saddle Ergonomist
Let’s continue our theme – make it simple to find info you need, or wish to share with a friend. Of the 120+ educational videos on the SCHLEESE You Tube channel, it all started with The 9 Points of Saddle Fit – easy “DIY” diagnoses of very common saddle fit issues. You have to scroll to the bottom to find these gems!
Why is saddle fit so important? As the interface between your horse’s horizontal spine and your vertical spine, the saddle should distribute your weight comfortably over the horse’s saddle support area. Many challenges and health issues are caused by ill-fitting saddles – resistance, unwanted behaviour, girthiness, stumbling, tripping, gait irregularities, refusing jumps, busy tongue, head tossing, hollow back, ‘leg moving’, sore sensitive back, white hairs, swelling or undiagnosed symptomatic lameness. These frustrating behaviours make it next to impossible to have an effective lesson or an enjoyable ride.
These 9 tips alone have almost 900,000 views! Follow the links to the full 9 points of saddle fit videos and tips!
1 Balance – The center of the saddle (seat area) should be parallel to the ground while on the horse’s back.
https://schleese.com/fitting-tip/balance/ 210,429 views!
2 Wither Clearance – Clearance all around the withers should be 2-3 fingers for normal withers: (mutton withers will have more clearance and high withers will have less clearance)
3 Gullet Channel Width – The gullet should be wide enough not to interfere with the spinal processes or musculature of the horse’s back (3-5 fingers). https://schleese.com/fitting-tip/gullet-channel-width-2/
4 Full Panel Contact – The panel should touch the horse’s back evenly all the way from front to back; some panels may be designed with a slight lift at the cantle area to allow the horse’s back to come up during engagement.
5 Billet Alignment – The billets should hang perpendicular to the ground so that the girth is positioned properly and not angled either forwards or backwards. https://schleese.com/fitting-tip/saddle-length/
6 Saddle Length – The shoulder and loin areas should not carry any weight of the saddle and rider. Rider weight should be centered on the saddle support area only. https://schleese.com/fitting-tip/saddle-length/
7 Saddle Straightness – The saddle should not fall off to one side when viewed from back or front – and especially not during movement. The tree points should be behind both scapulae (shoulder blades). https://schleese.com/fitting-tip/saddle-straightness/
8 Saddle Tree Angle – The panel tree points should be parallel to the shoulder angle to allow full freedom of shoulder movement. https://schleese.com/fitting-tip/saddle-tree-angle/
9 Saddle Tree Width – The tree width should be wide enough for the shoulders to move properly upwards and backwards during the dynamic movement of the horse. https://schleese.com/fitting-tip/saddle-tree-width/
We invite you to learn how a personal 80 point diagnostic saddle fit evaluations will help you find answers to your own saddle fit issues. You won’t believe the difference a well-fitting saddle will make for you – and your horse!
Find solutions for saddle fit issues through Saddlefit 4 Life education. http://www.Saddlefit4life.com http://www.SaddlesforWomen.com 800-225-2242 Jochen Schleese, German Certified Master Saddler, is author of “Suffering in Silence – The Saddle Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses” (Trafalgar Books 2013, 2015, 2017). © Saddlefit4Life 2018. All Rights Reserved.
Follow us on social media!