What if my saddle is slipping?
A beginner rider may assume that a slipping saddle is a poorly-fitting or a poorly-made saddle, but that’s not necessarily the case. In most cases, it’s some of the accessories that are causing this problem, but it’s not uncommon for the saddle’s panel to be the main culprit.
Today, we’ll cover the main reasons that can cause a saddle slipping, as well as the measures you can take to fix said problems.
Saddle Slipping Direction and Nature
The reasons as to why your saddle may be slipping can be dependably uncovered when you determine the direction in which the saddle is leaning towards. Consequentially, the actions you should take to eliminate saddle slipping are different depending on whether it is slipping forward, backward, or moving excessively at its back.
Check Girth Fit and Tension if Your Saddle is Slipping Sideways
More often than not, the saddle’s girth (a strap used to secure it onto your horse’s back) is causing the saddle to slip sideways. This strap is hugging the horse’s belly, but it’s actually determining the stability of its back.
Should the tension be too firm, your horse can experience anything from slight discomfort to pain. Beginners are often taught to keep the girth looser to avoid this, but in turn, the saddle is not receiving the support it needs to remain stable.
To fix this problem, make sure that the tension is just firm enough. All girth models feature different holes that can be used to adjust the tension on both sides, so make sure it is even.
In the summertime, the horse is getting sweaty. When that happens, you need to wipe the sweat and re-saddle. If it often happens, you need to consider replacing the pad.
Use Point Straps to Stabilize Saddles Slipping Forward
Regular girth models can fit most horse types, but even if they are correctly balanced and fitted perfectly, the saddle may begin slipping forward if there’s enough space for it to do so.
In such a case, you may have difficulties retaining your balance and may shift your body weight on your horse’s shoulders by reflex. To avoid this, you can use Point Strap girth instead.
Unlike regular straps, point straps are fastened to tree points beneath the saddle’s flap and over knee blocks.
Elasticated girths, although they do provide some benefits regarding the flexibility of saddle fit, are generally more prone to cause forward-slipping problems. If you own one, it may be prudent to upgrade to a quality string girth, which evenly disperses the bodyweight pressure across the girth’s width.
The Saddle Pad
It is essential to have a decent quality saddle pad. Apart from checking the size, we also highly recommend you checking if the saddle pad is dry and clean before riding.
A slipping saddle may physically hurt both you and your horse. Please do take some time and carefully check all the equipment before each ride.
(P.S: We do carry girth, cinch, and saddle pad as well. If you're interested, please click the link)
Work on Improving Your Balance
Balance is second nature to most seasoned riders, but intermediates, and especially beginners, are usually overly conscious of the way they ride their horses. It’s only natural for riders with only a couple of years of experience to be still searching for the perfect riding position that is comfortable to both their horse and then personally.
Some riders are top-heavy, others prefer to tilt just a bit towards the back, while most riders only rarely shift sideways. To counteract the saddle-slipping problem caused by improper rider balance, work on your low points (for instance, if you are a back-heavy rider, make a conscious effort to lean slightly forward, or vice versa).
On your next riding session, pay attention to your balance and tilting angle. If you are shifting your body weight before the saddle begins to slip, your balance may be causing the problem.
Enjoy your ride!