Picking the right saddle for you and your horse is about as serious as when you were picking out your horse! Read these tips on buying the best saddle for your needs.
Used or New
If you are a new rider and trying to keep expenses down, you might want consider buying a used saddle. This will cut down your costs and also help you get more comfortable with riding. The reason is because with a used saddle, you will not need to break it in. If it was taken care of properly, the leather will already be soft and supple. Look into your local tack store to see whether they offer used saddles. If buying one from E-Bay or some other on-line source, be sure to look at the condition that is advertised and shown, and also it is helpful if you can look at a similar saddle at a tack shop or a stable that might own one. If you are still not sure how to pick out the best saddle for you and your horse, the best thing to do is take your horse out and examine its conformation. Focus on its top line and consider some of the following:
- Withers: The withers of your horse should ideally be level or a little bit above the highest point of its rump, the croup. If it’s lower, or your horse has “meaty” withers, a saddle can more easily slide sideways. Prominent withers presents a different problem. To check the withers, place your hand on edge and slide your fingers between the withers and the gullet. If it’s correctly fitted, you should be able to fit two to four fingers into the space. It is important to test this when you are mounted on your horse as well, so the saddle does not pinch the horse’s withers.
- Spine and Back: If your horse has a narrow or overly flat back, it can be harder to find the best saddle for it. A sign that will tell you if the saddle is placing weight on your horse’s spine is if there are sweat marks on the saddle where the spine was resting. Another concern is placing a saddle on a short-backed horse with long, square skirts that push into the horse’s hips.
To learn more facts and tips on horse care and other horse related topics, please refer to our blog often!
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