Saddle Fitting Instructions
MindBUZZler's provides a variety of types of saddles, disregarding your discipline and budget any saddle will need to fit your horse and you.
Fitting a saddle to the rider:
English saddles come usually between 16 inch to 18 inch seats. This is measured from the side of the pommel to the middle of the cantle. The saddle also needs to be balanced on the horse. This can be recognized by the fact that the cantle (back end of the saddle) sits slightly higher than the pommel (front) as shown below.
For dressage saddles in particular the saddle flaps should roughly be covering three quarters of the rider's leg and the knee pad should feel comfortable.
For the Australian Stock saddle the poley (kneepads) should be fitting snugly against your thighs while sitting comfortably in the centre of the saddle. The saddle flaps will be much longer to prevent being in contact with the sweaty horse. The Western saddle also provides the same protection using fenders rather than stirrup leathers.
MindBUZZler's Western range comes mostly in the most common size of 16 inch which is equivalent to a approximately 17 inch for an English saddle.
Fitting the saddle to the horse:
Buying a saddle on the internet always bears the risk that it might not fit. An ill-fitting saddle can cause serious discomfort to the horse to the extent that it might react in a way which will be dangerous to his rider. A saddle must fit both the horse and rider, if it does not do not attempt to use it!
MindBUZZler does want to supply you and your horse with a perfectly fitting saddle, because we would like both you and your horse to be happy and comfortable with it. We will describe in some detail how you can create a template which should provide us with a good idea which saddle would be suitable. To take a template you can use something as simple as a coat hanger if you mark the middle of it. We have used a flexicurve which can be bought in most artist's shops.
For taking the front template place the flexicurve behind the shoulder of your horse (as an indication check where the main of your horse ends and feel where the shoulder blade sits) Take it off and draw it on a piece of paper.
Than take the template to where the ribs of your horse end and draw it also onto the same piece of paper.
Use the flexicurve again and create a template along your horse's wither as shown below and place it also on your piece of paper.
We will use this template to compare against the standard templates, e.g. narrow, medium, wide as shown below. Though it is said that mostly native horses have a wide fit this template here was taken from a 17 hh warmblood.
The front template determines the general fit of the saddle, but this alone does not guarantee a good fit. Therefore we use the wither and the back template to get a better idea.
Once we have identified a potential good fit and delivered it to you, try it on your horse, girth it up, check that there is sufficient space all across the wither (3-4 fingers under the pommel and approximately two fingers on either side) and that it does not hinder the horse's shoulder (lift a front leg and move it forward). Check that there is daylight to be seen if you view the gullet from behind. Than get on and check again for space under the pommel, also check that you sit comfortable and let someone else look if you sit in the centre of gravity.
The gullet should also be wide enough not to interfere with the ligament running along your horse's spine.
Check also if the panels lie evenly along both sides of your horse's spine. They should distribute the weight evenly all over the horse's back. Nowadays many saddles come with panel extensions to accommodate for this, see below MindBUZZler's Cascade model.
Below you find an example of a good fit of our Portuguese saddle on a narrow fitting horse
Below an example of a well fitting Australian Stock saddle.
Now you should be confident that the saddle fits, if you are still unsure you should probably seek the advice of a local saddler. For customer's local to us we offer that you bring your horse along or we could come out with a selection of saddles, please contact us using our contact form or call 01337 870489