My Saddle Doesn’t Fit My Horse … Now What?

The saddle you bought a decade ago for your now-retired show horse doesn’t fit your new prospect. Now what? Learn how to find a saddle fitter, buy or modify a saddle, and recognize the right fit for your horse.
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My Saddles Doesn
A saddle is a big investment, and finding one that helps you and your horse perform at your best can be a daunting process. | Photo: Alexandra Beckstett/The Horse

How to find a fitter, buy or modify a saddle, and recognize the right fit

It’s clear from the dry pressure spots and general back soreness that the saddle you bought a decade ago for your now-retired show horse doesn’t fit your new prospect. But you don’t want to rush out and buy a new one for a horse whose body is still changing as he matures.

How can you find a saddle that fits or modify your existing one for the time being? How do you know when you’ve found the right fit—for both you and your horse? It’s probably time to seek a saddle fitter’s help.

Finding a Saddle Fitter

Mike Scott, an equine massage therapist and Master Saddlers Association–certified saddle fitter based in South Carolina, has trained extensively with saddlers in England and the United States. He opened his own School of Saddle Fitting and Flocking in 2006. He explains that while there are no standard qualifications for calling oneself a “saddle fitter,” in the U.K. fitters can get certified with the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) and in the United States with the Master Saddlers Association (MSA) program

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Written by:

Heather Smith Thomas ranches with her husband near Salmon, Idaho, raising cattle and a few horses. She has a B.A. in English and history from University of Puget Sound (1966). She has raised and trained horses for 50 years, and has been writing freelance articles and books nearly that long, publishing 20 books and more than 9,000 articles for horse and livestock publications. Some of her books include Understanding Equine Hoof Care, The Horse Conformation Handbook, Care and Management of Horses, Storey’s Guide to Raising Horses and Storey’s Guide to Training Horses. Besides having her own blog, www.heathersmiththomas.blogspot.com, she writes a biweekly blog at https://insidestorey.blogspot.com that comes out on Tuesdays.

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