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Are you Saddle Savvy? 5 Mistakes Most Horse Owners Make

Many horse owners consider themselves saddle savvy but there are some common pitfalls many horse owners make:

1.    Storing Saddles on Saddle Racks

Saddle racks with prominent rails are awful for your saddle! These can leave indentations in your saddle panel whether it is flocked or foam filled. Top Tip! Use a saddle friendly saddle rack or add insulation pipe and plenty of cushioning to your metal racks.

2.    Adding or Removing Saddle Pads

Your saddle should have been fitted with a specific type of saddle pad, changing the type of pad to a thicker or thinner one will affect the fit. Top Tip – Ask your saddle fitter which pad you should be using and buy a selection of the same type so that you can rotate and wash them without affecting the fit of your saddle.

3.    Placing Saddles too Far Forward

This is by far the most common and problematic mistake horse owners make. Your saddle must be placed to allow the shoulder to move back. Placing the saddle too far forward can damage the horses shoulder and affect the range of motion of the forelimbs. Top Tip! Ask your saddle fitter to check the positioning of your saddle and show you how to locate the back edge of the shoulder and the tree points.

4.    Using Girth Straps 1&3

You may remember being taught to use the 1st and 3rd girth strap but nowadays girthing has evolved. Using 1&3 is fine if your girth straps are webbed on in the neutral position but many people mistakenly use the point and/or balance strap – again this may be right for your horse but you should only use these straps if your saddle fitter has recommended it and given solid reasons. Top Tip! Check to see where your girths are webbed on, if you are using the point and/or balance strap have a chat with your saddle fitter to see if these are necessary. Using a point strap will increase pressure behind the shoulder so avoid using this if you can.

5.    Not Having Regular Saddle Checks

Once your saddle has been fitted it is important to stick to a regular check-up schedule. Just like humans, horses change shape. Both weight and muscle can change as well as postural and movement changes. These will all affect the fit of your saddle and each horse will need their saddle checked at varying intervals. Some can go as long as 6 months whereas others may need check ups more regularly. Top Tip! Learn to template your horse and speak to your saddle fitter about your horses specific fitting schedule.

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