Saddle is an important part and parcel of equestrian life, and choosing the right type of saddle is the key to perfect ride. If you want to mount comfortably on your horse’s back, enhance your horse’s performance and experience a smooth ride, then choosing the right saddle is the key to success.
Choosing the right horse saddle can be tricky; however, it does not have to be challenging. We have prepared a complete guide for you to choose the right horse saddle. Read on to choose the perfect horse saddle on your next saddle shopping spree.
#1 Choose the right fit for your horse
Checking the fit of saddle for your horse is the key to smooth ride. The fitness and body condition of your horse varies depending on the age, exercise and diet of your horse. So, it is important to evaluate the right fit for your horse.
#2 Choose the saddle that stays centered
Make sure your saddle sits right in the center of your horse’s back; that is, your saddle should not slide off to left or right side. To ensure your saddle is centered, place your saddle on the back of your horse without a cinch and a pad.
#3 Choose the right gullet channel
The space under the center of your saddle is known as the gullet channel. To choose the right gullet channel, put your hand under your saddle’s pommel, then turn your palm downwards, straighten your fingers, and ensure that there is enough space for your hand’s width.
P.S: The DP Saddlery’s Adjustable Gullet Width System™ allows you to adjust the gullet width from narrow to wide. To learn more about it, please click the link below:
#4 Choose the right bars
When choosing the right bars, make sure the front angle of the bar matches your horse’s shoulders angles. You can adjust the angle by sliding your hand down the shoulders of your horse, and ensuring that there is sufficient space for your horse to move back and forth.
#5 Choose the right saddle length
Evaluate where you sit on the back of the horse. Make sure you are not seated too far back; that is, on your horse’s ribs, as your horse may not feel comfortable carrying you. Ensure that your body’s weight is distributed in the region starting behind the shoulders and the ribs of your horse.
#6 Choose free withers
Make sure your horse’s shoulders and withers have space to move. Choosing a tight saddle can limit the movement of your horse. To do so, point your thumb to the sky, while straightening your middle, index and ring fingers. Then place your hand between the top of withers and the underside of saddle.
#7 Choose the right pad
Once you have chosen the right fit, you can choose the right pad to solve your equestrian problems. You can choose a one-inch-thick pad if there is a hollow space under your saddle, or if you have chosen a wide saddle. Choose the right pad thickness as per your horse’s size and the required protection.
P.S: If you're wondering why do we need a saddle pad, please click the link here:
#8 Enjoy a test ride
Take a test ride to see how your saddle moves. Make sure you walk, lope and jog in all directions. See if your horse is comfortable, and gauge the performance of your horse. Now, dismount the horse and check the impression on the back of your horse. Make sure your horse’s hair are flattened on both sides. If you observe ruffled hair, then opt for a different saddle.
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