At the risk of offending any of our readers, this is a topic which does need to be addressed again in all honesty. The issue of proper saddle fit is not by any means limited to heavier riders – all riders and all horses can and will benefit from a correctly fitted saddle! However, heavier riders bring with them a whole different set of challenges. Before anyone gets their knickers in a knot about possibly ‘arbitrary’ designations of weight – I absolutely recognize that someone who weighs 180 pounds and is sitting in a gender appropriate saddle may ride more lightly and more balanced than a 120-pound beginner rider who is sitting in a saddle that doesn’t fit her properly. Supporting documentation from an independent source: Sue Dyson et al. The Influence of Rider: Horse Bodyweight Ratio and the rider-horse-saddle fit on equine gait and behaviour: a Pilot Study. 2019 Equine Veterinary Education Https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eve.13085Read more about Saddle Fit and the Heavier Rider - Revised Edition Download the PDF version of Saddle Fit and the Heavier Rider - Revised Edition
Muscle atrophy is usually something we see happening in old people—and old horses. Muscles waste away from simple aging and lack of use. Sadly, rescue horses who have suffered starvation usually show signs of muscle atrophy, regardless of their age. In short, muscle atrophy is a decrease in muscle strength because of a decrease in muscle mass or the amount/number of muscle fibers. Atrophy can be partial or complete, causing varying levels of weakness. When atrophy occurs in the aging process, it’s referred to as sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is defined as an age-related loss of skeletal muscle, resulting in frailty. It is often partnered with osteoporosis, a loss of bone density that is similarly associated with aging. But age isn’t the only cause. If your horse is laid up due to injury and his regular exercise comes to a grinding halt, you can expect his muscles to atrophy to a degree. But what if your horse isn’t old, hasn’t been on stall rest and you are exercising him diligently on a regular basis, yet you notice his muscles diminishing?Read more about Muscle Atrophy and the Saddle Fit Connection Download the PDF version of Muscle Atrophy and the Saddle Fit Connection
Aufgesattelt – alles rund um den Sattel Der Sattel – die direkte Verbindung zwischen Reiter und Pferd. Wer beim Sattel aufs falsche Pferd setzt, der macht einen folgenschweren Fehler. Denn ein Sattel ist nicht nur eine hochwertige Anschaffung für lange Zeit, er ist auch ein entscheidendes Verbindungsglied zwischen Reiter und Pferd. In dieser Eigenschaft muss er zwei großen Ansprüchen Genüge leisten: Er muss zum einen dem Pferd optimal passen und zum anderen auch dem Reiter ein gutes Gefühl vermitteln. PSJ-Fachautorin Jessica Kaup hat sich mit dem Thema auseinandergesetzt und einige Experten dazu befragt. English: Saddled up - everything around the saddle The saddle - the direct connection between rider and horse.Read more about Aufgesattelt (Tacked Up) alles rund um den Sattel (All Around the Saddle) Download the PDF version of Aufgesattelt (Tacked Up) alles rund um den Sattel (All Around the Saddle)
A recent article in the Journal of Veterinary Science concerning the repeatability of 20 Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) Qualified Saddle Fitters observations of static saddle fit outlines the lack of cohesiveness in the methodology of assessing saddle fit. The SMS has committed to overhauling their entire saddle fitting curriculum within the next year or two – recognizing the fact that a) saddle making does not equal saddle fitting and b) their saddle fitting training is somewhat remedial in its ramifications. Further work is definitely necessary to standardize the criteria of what is saddle fit and how should saddles be fitted – and perhaps to develop a common language that is accepted throughout the industry...Read more about Saddle Fit and Industry Education Download the PDF version of Saddle Fit and Industry Education
I am a trainer with lots of horses to ride but I cannot afford a saddle for each horse. I start a lot of young horses – some of which will presumably leave within a year or two. How do I manage to do right by all these animals (and for myself) by ensuring I have and use a saddle which works for me and works for all of them? Obviously, ideally, it would be great to have a saddle that has been made and fied for each horse’s conformation, but the reality is that this will seldom be the case. So, you get a saddle that fits you absolutely wonderfully, is comfortable, works with your anatomical requirements (male or female), and makes sure that at the very least you won’t let any discomfort from the rider’s end translate down to the horse. That’s the first step. Then, you have it fitted to the largest horse you have because it’s always easier to fill in the gaps and make it fit for horses with narrower shoulders, lower withers, etc. (just like it’s easier to fit shoes that are too large with insoles and extra socks; the other way really doesn’t work that well.)Read more about Many Horses But Not So Many Saddles - Saddle Solutions? Download the PDF version of Many Horses But Not So Many Saddles - Saddle Solutions?
Most people will agree with the statement “horses do not make conscious decisions to behave badly.” Horses react to outside stimuli—either a poorly fitting saddle or an incompetent or untrained rider can cause all kinds of unwanted behaviors. How and where a rider’s weight is carried can make a huge difference, and dangerous horses can quickly be created when aids are misunderstood or mishandled. Sometimes horses will develop resistant or evasive behaviors because the handler does not know how to get what he is asking for, but remember that this does not make a “bad horse”—it’s simply a horse behaving badly. Some of the strategic behavior horses have adopted could be interpreted as stereotypical, but these behaviors are not vices, as vices would infer that the horse is somehow at fault....Read more about Bad Horse! Really? How About "Bad Rider!" or "Bad Saddle!" or maybe even "Bad Genes!" Download the PDF version of Bad Horse! Really? How About "Bad Rider!" or "Bad Saddle!" or maybe even "Bad Genes!"
The girth is the most important saddle accessory because it directly affects saddle fit and how it feels to your horse. There are many different types, lengths and versions of girths available. In this article, we look at the factors to consider when finding and fitting a girth that will work for your horse...Read more about Saddle Fit and Girth Choices - the two go hand in hand! Download the PDF version of Saddle Fit and Girth Choices - the two go hand in hand!
It’s always interesting to take a few moments when I’m working at a horse show to check out the competition. I mean the real competition- the riders who have trained long and hard and are now showing off their skills in the ring. Especially in dressage shows, but also at the lower level hunter/jumper shows – it is almost painfully obvious how few boys there are riding and competing!...But let’s examine the question a little closer concerning why boys specifically generally don’t ride. Beyond the ‘peer pressure’ issue of it not necessarily being a ‘macho’ sport, perhaps there are other reasons at play; issues that have to do with my favorite subject: saddle fit!Read more about Why Don't We See More Boys Riding Dressage? Download the PDF version of Why Don't We See More Boys Riding Dressage?
When mankind began riding horses, and saddles were developed to help keep riders astride their mounts, the original purpose of the saddle was to support the horse in his job. Saddles were designed to accommodate the demands placed on horses during activities such as combat, transportation, and sport. And since riding in long skirts was not practical and it was unbecoming for women to straddle a horse, side-saddles were created to allow women to ride. Recent years have seen a change in saddles from mainly functional to often fashionable (featuring bling, silver, etc.). More recently, as the general demographic of riders changed to primarily women, gender considerations have been incorporated into the mix of saddle design for both English and Western disciplines...Read more about Saddle Fit: English vs. Western - What are the Differences? Download the PDF version of Saddle Fit: English vs. Western - What are the Differences?