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"...a saddle should have very little stuffing, so that the rider may get close to his horse."
"The lowest part of the saddle must be in the middle, close to the pommel."
"...it takes experience to learn the nuances that separate a good saddle from an average one."
"...if the saddle doesn't fit both you and your horse, neither horse nor rider can perform their best.
"Poorly fitted saddles can lead to a myriad of performance problems, including bucking, rearing, balking, shortened stride, rough gait, tripping or stumbling, stiffness and resistance to bending, refusal to canter and/or take a particular lead, lameness, and hoof-size variation."
"If the saddletree is properly sized to your horse, chances are yur saddle will fit well."
"A saddle, well padded or not, that puts pressure on the withers of the horse will eventually cause injury there."
"If a saddle fits well, a simple blanket to absorb sweat is all you should need."
"More often than not, an ill-fitting saddle will cause a behavior problem."
"The most important factor in buying a saddle is whether it fits your horse properly.
"Don't assume that simply adding an extra saddle pad or blanket will improve the fit of a saddle that doesn't fit in the first place."
"Riders who are able to correct saddle-fitting problems are often amazed at the dramatic changes in their horses."
"When a saddle does not fit your horse properly, it hurts him. It is difficult for him to respond correctly to your aids because he is preoccupied with pain."
"...it is imperative that, before you ask a horse to use his back and move forward and round in a frame, you acquire a saddle that fits you and your horse properly."
"The pockets bordering the withers are frequently caused by saddles that are too narrow or by unnecessarily thick saddle pads that compress the withers."
"If a horse objects to being saddled or girthed, he may be experiencing back pain."
"If the front third of the saddle restricts the horse's shoulders or withers, he will be reluctant to stride out."
"Reluctance to us the back and hindquarters properly [may be] caused by too much pressure from the back third of the saddle."
"The cut-back head allows the withers more clearance. The saddle may be cut back 1 to 4 inches, and the back of the head angles down so that it blends into the pommel of the saddle."
"The angles of the points on some high-quality trees can be adjusted to fit different horses."
"The shape of the seat influences the rider's position."
"The width and shape of the twist determines the comfort of the rider's hips and pubic area."
"...from the horse's standpoint, the type of tree is less important than the fit."
"Overly soft flocking may let the tree poke through, and very hard panel material may have hard edges that create pressure points."
"A correctly made seat supports the rider's seat bones and allows her to sit in the center of the saddle."
"Many saddles are built with the lowest point of the seat near the rear. This concentrates the rider's weight at the back of the saddle and causes the rider's legs to drift forward in what is called the 'chair seat'....A seat built like this will make it difficult to get out of the saddle in the rising trot."
"...seat measurements are not standard from one saddle to the next."
"In general...the leather is less important than the quality of the construction itself."
"Lack of flex is not a problem if the tree and the saddle fit the horse."
"Regularly mounting from the ground on the same side can twist a tree."
"Once you have matched a saddle to both horse and rider as best you can, don't worry about 'perfect.' Sometimes 'good' is good enough, especially if you ride recreationally."
"A correctly positioned saddle that fits well allows the horse to move freely and the rider to stay balanced."
"The saddle should be placed about 2 inches behind the shoulder blade when the horse is standing squarely."
"Because the lumbar or loin area is the weakest part of the back, the tree should not be so long that it places any weight on it."
"The [horse's] spine has no protective muscle covering and is not designed to carry weight directly."
"Instructors will often comment that the first time a student rides in a saddle that fits correctly, she can advance two years in one lesson."
"The most stable leg position is when the pelvis is in neutral, the hip joint is in line with the ankle, and the stirrup leather hangs perpendicularly to the ground."
"Correct seat width properly supports the crotch and prevents pain in the seat bones, hip joints, and thighs."
"Crotch pain is a clear indication that the shape of the twist is inappropriate or the saddle is too small, and it is a significant cause of poor riding technique."
"If the saddle shifts from side-to-side, the tree may be too narrow. (This is common with fairly wide, flat-withered horses.)"
"Many riders are uneven, or ride in a way that shifts the saddle to one side. It is important to learn how to distinguish rider issues from saddle issues."
"There are many riders who do not know what 'riding in balance' feels like. They have never experienced the freedom of movement that a well-fitting saddle provides to both rider and horse."
"A saddle can also slip off to one side because your horse has uneven hips.
"If your saddle will only stay in place with a breastplate, it most likely does not fit."
"A breastplate should be adjusted so it only comes into play during extremes of movement and interferes as little as possible with shoulder motion."
"When the edge of the pad is underneath the panel, painful pressure results — worse than a wrinkle in your sock!"
"...little harm is done if the [saddle] pad is too large for the saddle, unless it is so long or stiff that it rubs on the loins."
"The better the design of the saddle, the more horses it will fit."
"Why do we care how well a saddle fits a horse? Because it affects his comfort, his health, his performance, and his behavior."
"When a saddle fits poorly, it causes pressure points. Instead of the rider's weight spreading evenly over the entire surface of the bars as originally intended, it becomes concentrated in certain areas."
"A saddle can either help a rider tremendously or greatly complicate learning to ride well."
"...you have to be either a very good rider or a very poor one, not to be influenced by the saddle you are using."
"Riders in saddles that don't fit them are constantly working against the alignment and balance the saddles give them."
"Mobile hips, knees, and ankles let our weight stay consistent in the stirrups while the horse's motion lifts our platform away from our feet, which can help us sit more elegantly."
"The saddle should only be placed in the area of the thorax and not extend over the loins, otherwise, it can cause lasting tension in the back muscles. Unfortunately, a clever rider can use such tension to cause over-spectacular-looking trot and canter movements, even though these 'tense' steps are — for many young horses — the beginning of the end of their career!"
"A saddle should sit only over the thoracic region of the back and not extend into the loins."
"Saddles built up so high in front that they push you out the back door will not let you get your legs under you where they are the most effective and give you the most secure seat."
"Do not try to sneak the saddle on him. Make sure he sees what you are doing. Horses do not like to be startled."