Tip 1

Balance

The center of the saddle (seat area) should be parallel to the ground while on the horse's back.

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Tip 2

Wither Clearance

Clearance at the withers should be 2-3 fingers for normal withers, whereas, mutton withers will have more clearance and high withers will have less clearance.

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Tip 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).

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Tip 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 off the back end to allow the back to come up during engagement.

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Tip 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.

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Tip 6

Saddle Length

The shoulder and loin areas should not carry any weight of the saddle and rider. Rider weight should be on the saddle support area only.

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Tip 7

Saddle Straightness

The saddle should not fall off to one side when viewed from back or front. The tree points should be behind both scapulae (shoulder blades).

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Tip 8

Saddle Tree Angle

The panel tree points should be parallel to the shoulder angle to position saddle properly.

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Tip 9

Saddle Tree Width

The tree width should be wide enough for saddle to fit during the dynamic movement of the horse.

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Testimonials

As quoted in the Certified Horsemanship Association February Monthly Newsletter "I recently attended a nine day intensive saddle fitting course conducted by Jochen Schleese. Jochen and his wife, Sabine, have attended two of CHA's International conferences.  I was intrigued by his demos on how saddles are made differently for men and women. This year in Amarillo, he went into more detail about fitting saddles properly to horses to prevent serious injury.  He is passionate about helping horses and by offering this course to professionals in the horse industry, we can do our part in having healthy horses and educated riders. This 3-day course event covered how saddles [may] cause injury and how little has been done in the last 100 years to prevent these injuries.  By educating professionals who deal with horses on a daily basis on how to properly evaluate a saddle fit can go a long way in making horses healthy.  by teaching an 80 Point Evaluation, taking into account, the shoulder angles, wither shape, saddle support area and making sure critical pressure points are not impinged on by the saddle is just a small segment of this course.  The Schleese's passion for helping horses is much the same as CHA's mission statement for riding instructors.  It is for the good of the horse.  Taking these courses reminded me of my certification week to become a CHA instructor.  A huge highlight of my life with horses."  Check our Saddlefit4life.com and the book "Suffering in Silence."

— Lori Maciulewicz - Regional Director for Region 6

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