Does Your Horse’s Saddle Fit?

Having your saddle fit is paramount to your horse’s comfort and soundness.
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Does Your Horse
A well-fitting saddle distributes weight evenly across the panels to the thoracic region. | Photo: iStock

Having your saddle fit is paramount to your horse’s comfort and soundness

Imagine buying a pair of hiking boots in preparation for a six-month trek across the great American wilderness. Any old boot will do, right? Just the cheapest? Or maybe you should buy a name brand online in your size and hope it fits. After all, if it doesn’t, you can always just add extra layers of socks!

Of course you wouldn’t do that to yourself. Not only would it kill your feet, but the way you’d walk to compensate for the pain could end up causing knee, hip, and back pain, as well. You’d probably drag along behind the others in your group. And that uncomfortable fit could make you a particularly grumpy hiker prone to complaining and getting into arguments.

While the hiking boot situation might seem absurd, the reality is that we riders do this all the time to our horses. If you think saddle fit is overrated, take a moment to think about those miserable hiking boots. Asking your horse to perform under a poorly fitted saddle is going to cause him pain and musculoskeletal issues. Ultimately, it’ll make him a poor performer—perhaps with a sour attitude, to boot

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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