Is most of the wear in the middle, and none on the ends? The saddle may be rocking-excessive rocking can be corrected with pads or shims. compressed as the ends? That could be an indication of bridging.
If you think there is even a chance there is any bridging (pressure at the front and back of the bars) it is best to correct with a shim or bridge pad in the center of the bars to correct the problem. Avoid Common Mistakes of Saddle Fitting Saddle Placement The front of the bar of the saddle tree (approximately the front edge of the concho) should be behind the shoulder blade (scapula) to allow for freedom of movement. Placing the saddle too far forward over the scapula can cause unnecessary rubbing and pressure (white spots).
The blanket or pad and the skirt of the saddle can cover the back of the scapula but the bars of the tree must be behind the shoulder blade.
Front Cinch Usage Do not over tighten the cinch.
The tighter you cinch the more pressure YOU create before you even sit in the saddle.
The front cinch should be about as tight as your belt-if it’s comfortable for you it should be comfortable for your horse. Do not over tighten the cinch to compensate for a saddle that rolls.
Check that the saddle is the correct fit for the horse.
Try a different saddle pad (make sure you aren’t over-padding), a wider cinch, neoprene cinch, or flank cinch to help secure the saddle. Bars of the tree should settle behind the horse’s scapula.
This is important as a saddle will travel back/ forward to settle into this sweet spot. Your horse is one of the best indicators of Good Fit, so be aware of changes in your horse’s attitude or performance. • • Proper saddle placement Avoid Common Mistakes of Saddle Fitting Flank Cinch Usage Most people use the flank (rear) cinch incorrectly.
The flank cinch provides stability to the saddle and should be snug (not tight) against the horse.
A rule of thumb is to be able to slip two fingers between the flank and the horse at the apex of the belly.
It should not be loose or hang below the horse’s bellya loose flank cinch is a danger to horse and rider.
Always use the connecting strap between the front and rear cinches to position the flank cinch properly and prevent it from becoming a “bucking strap”. If the back of your saddle is moving side to side or up and down at the walk, trot, or canter, the movement can cause a scrubbing action, irritating the skin (white spots).
Use a flank cinch.
Pads and Padding Don’t over pad your horse; the more pads you use the wider it makes your horse and the higher your saddle will sit on the horse’s back (saddle will roll easier, more leverage being higher).
Excess padding will not allow you to feel the horse’s movement as well. If you are riding for extended periods of time, you need a pad that will absorb sweat and dissipate heat.
Natural fiber pads and blankets are more breathable and comfortable for your horse.
Wool is a great example for its natural moisture wicking and shock absorbing properties.
Don’t use a neoprene pad on a long trail ride-it doesn’t breathe or absorb moisture, and white spots, rubbing and pulling of the hair follicles can occur.
Neoprene is a shock absorbing material and is great for performance horses that will not have a pad on all day.
Cleanliness Keep your horse’s back clean-dirt is abrasive.
The movement of the horse and the rider creates movement of the saddle.
The abrasiveness and movement causes skin irritation.
Your horse’s back should be cleaned, brushed, vacuumed or washed before and after riding to remove sweat and dirt. Keep your blankets, pad, and cinch clean.
Conditioning A horse is no different from a human athlete; horses get sore muscles when they are not in shape.
Long trail rides, once a month barrel races, or competitions when a horse is not in the proper condition will make a horse’s back sore.
When you apply pressure to an unconditioned horse’s back you will get swelling which accentuates or creates saddle fit issues.
If you feel heat or swelling after long or strenuous use of your horse, let his back rest and heal. Do not jump to the conclusion that your saddle does not fit if you find your horses back is sore due to being in poor condition.
A horse’s back will drop when it is not in condition or is overweight.
When this happens, bridging of the saddle tree can occur.
Strong abdominal muscles support and straighten the back of both the horse and the rider.
Daily riding and conditioning will keep your horse’s back tough and strong.
Rider Balance Consider how you sit in the saddle.
For the tree to function properly you must sit balanced in the saddle.
If you are sitting in the saddle like a recliner with your legs out in front, you are exerting twice as much force on the back of the bars, and digging the bars into the horse’s loins.
The rider must sit in a balanced position, vertically with your legs under you-this will allow the bars of the tree to function properly, spreading pressure equally front to back. Heavy riders require the tree to distribute more pounds per square inch on the horse.
For this reason, proper saddle fit and equitation is even more important with the heavy rider. Saddle fitting is a process.
Arm yourself with information, talk to your retailer, professional or the saddle manufacturer for information on the product you are interested in.
Remember – it’s just common sense saddle fitting, so go out and ride. How NOT to sit in the saddle.
Sitting balanced benefits your horse and helps you ride better too.
Read more about Flank : Try a different saddle pad make sure you aren’t over….: