Finding the right saddle for your horse is a mix of high-tech and hands-on approaches

Lectures on how to fit a saddle are staples at equine expos and for good reason: It’s a complicated subject to master.

When you try on a pair of shoes, you know right away whether they feel good on your feet. Your horse knows if his saddle fits, too, but unfortunately he can’t tell you what he thinks—at least not in words. So it’s your job to try to see through the fancy padding and accessories and determine whether the underlying structure fits his back correctly.

As you likely know, it’s much better (and more cost-effective) to fit a saddle correctly than to try to fix a back-pain issue or retrofit an existing saddle. To that end, we asked three leading researchers on the subject of saddle fit to share their latest findings and advice. 

Saddle-Fit Basics

Let’s start with a brief refresher course on the ABCs of saddle fit. Traditional saddles are built on a “tree,” which is the saddle’s skeleton. Trees come in

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