Signs of a Poor Fit

Some horses give clear signals that their tack doesn’t fit. When you approach with the saddle, the horse may greet you with little enthusiasm, and possibly flattened ears and bared teeth. The horse may flinch or stiffen as you move to put the saddle on his back. Or he may attempt to nip or kick as you tighten the girth. 

Here are some other clues: 

Your saddle pommel sits on the withers, or is close enough to rub the withers when the rider is mounted without a pad. 

Your pelvis tilts forward and you continually must bring your legs back under you, you jackknife your upper body forward or you feel slightly behind your horse’s movement. 

Your saddle shifts from side-to-side, slides forward, rocks or bounces. 

When you remove the saddle after riding, you see areas where your horse’s hair is rubbed up. 

During work, your horse may lack willingness, take a long time to warm up and seem to be going backward in training. 

Your horse may refuse to switch leads or may seem stiff and unable to bend from side-to-side. 

He may go hollow in his back, carry his head too high and his stride may be uneven and abbreviated. 

Many of these problems may not be related to saddle fit. Back pain and poor motion can be caused by improper bitting, unbalanced riders, poorly shod hooves, conformation problems and sickness or injury. If you’re having these problems, and we find your saddle fits correctly, I suggest you consult your veterinarian.