Saddle fit and the young horse

Peter7917

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6 August 2015
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588
I personally ride youngsters in a treeless and then they get a treed saddle once they are older and fitter and fully mature.

A friend had a saddle fitted to her four year old. After just three months, the saddle no longer fit as the horse had dramatically changed shape. She had a saddler out around six times within an eighteen month period to make adjustments to keep the saddle fitting correctly and the horse comfortable.

Do most people do this? It concerns me that there are likely people who have a saddle fitted to a young horse and then don't bother to ever get it checked again until there is a problem, by which point the horse has already experienced discomfort in some way.

How often do you get your saddles checked? Do you do it more for youngsters?

A girl at a yard local to me had been riding in a poorly fitting saddle for literally years. Saint of a pony put up with it, I wonder how many more out there are in the same position with sweet, honest animals who just do their best despite the pain.
 

Kaylum

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29 May 2010
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I am guessing quite a few people ride with a badly fitting saddle. But there again having seen the quality of some saddle fitters and their fitting skills. The good ones in our area have waiting lists of 2 months.
 

TotalMadgeness

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25 April 2014
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My youngster is on saddle number 4. I got him when he'd just turned 4 and he's now 6. He now has a made to measure saddle and this will be checked in 3 months. I think I'm unusual sadly as too many horsey folk I know seldom check their saddle fit!
 

Denbob

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11 September 2017
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My 6yo is on the 5th saddle in the 2 years I've had him - all assessed by saddlers. I rely heavily on the advice I get from professionals so it's been interesting to see what different advice I've had from different people! But based on threads on here, guidance from pros, and a bit of common sense in between 'official' visits from the saddler/physio (3-6 monthly) i'll do my own testing for sore points as instructed by my physio, and a weekly check of saddle fit using https://www.doversaddlery.com/english-saddle-fitting-guidelines/a/405/ and information I get from my saddle fitter.
 

RHM

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29 January 2019
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I had to buy a treeless purely to save my sanity. The pony got through four saddles in a year before I called it a day. Its only now that he is fit and in constant work that I’m considering a treed saddle again.
 

MiJodsR2BlinkinTite

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Slopping along on a loose rein somewhere in Devon
I've got a youngster (she's the one in my profile picture), and we ride treeless: it suits us both, and frankly she is such an odd shape that I very much doubt that we'd get a tree'd saddle to ever fit her. Blimmin cobs!

I do get her back regularly checked (and mine too, I use the same McTimoney practitioner for me AND the horses), as well as the fact that the firm who made her saddle live near enough to pop out for a check if needed.
 

mandyroberts

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25 October 2011
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South Beds
I got an adjustable Kieffer saddle and get it checked every 3months. When horse is 7 I may be able to reduce the frequency of the checks
 

Polos Mum

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22 September 2012
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West Yorkshire
When I got my 5 y/os fitted not long after I bought him (recently broken) the saddler promised me what she was selling me wouldn't fit in 6 months time. She was apologetic but honest that the shape he was and condition he was in there was just nothing that would be comfy now and still OK with 6 months of work.
She made a big thing about it as she'd had lots of people angry with her when after 6 months on a youngster saddles were causing problems and it was her fault !
Saddles are a mine field
 

Follysmum

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15 February 2013
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1,462
Unless you get a good adjustable saddle that is frequently checked I wouldn’t bother with an expensive saddle until they about 7/8. I would always prefer a good fitted 2nd hand that’s checked frequently.
 

sbloom

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14 September 2011
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Suffolk
A fitter friend has recently had someone try to throw a saddle back and get a refund and part of her reason is that she had 4 saddle adjustments in just under 2 years. Unbelievable lack of understanding of how, and how much, horses change shape. The SMS now recommend a check every three months, I have had customer horses change by a width fitting in under a month, spring grass and/or good rehab or classical work can really make them a lot wider, for bad and good reasons in that order!

Agree with Polos Mum's statement, when the horse outgrows a saddle, especially if you try and help the owner by keeping it working as long as possible (and it eventually doesn't work) and you get the blame and they go buy their next saddle from someone else. It's the fact the saddle fitting was so good that the horse gained topline!
 

ycbm

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30 January 2015
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This is why I first moved to WOW saddles. One saddle for the entire life of the horse. Umpteen different gullet plates and air changes!
 

Wheels

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23 September 2009
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My 6 year old is on his 5th saddle, this time last year I decided to try a treeless and his topline bloomed so much that even his treeless was no longer working so I had to change it! Using a treeless does not negate the need to change although minor adjustments are not needed in quite the same way
 

flying_high

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5 February 2016
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A fitter friend has recently had someone try to throw a saddle back and get a refund and part of her reason is that she had 4 saddle adjustments in just under 2 years. Unbelievable lack of understanding of how, and how much, horses change shape. The SMS now recommend a check every three months, I have had customer horses change by a width fitting in under a month, spring grass and/or good rehab or classical work can really make them a lot wider, for bad and good reasons in that order!

Agree with Polos Mum's statement, when the horse outgrows a saddle, especially if you try and help the owner by keeping it working as long as possible (and it eventually doesn't work) and you get the blame and they go buy their next saddle from someone else. It's the fact the saddle fitting was so good that the horse gained topline!
I'd be thrilled if / when my horses out grow saddles. I tend to buy second hand, sell on second hand, and buy second hand again, so it is a constant iterative process.
 

Batgirl

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4 February 2011
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Yaaaarkshire
I was extremely lucky that my expensive made to measure saddle (bought for an 8 yo) fits my 4 yo Clyde with room to spare (it is super wide with air) so currently about to book fit 2 (though I adjust myself with pads between fits as he literally is changing weekly!).

I find it so hard to bang my head against the 'it fit 6 months ago, it's still the same horse' but equally hard to bang head against the 'wnky saddle' when it is 'wonky rider'.

I learned a lot about saddle fitting by trusting a very bad 'fitter' in my area that when it was demonstrated to me reaslised why my horse was bucking, despite being told after fit 4 that the saddle fit, and in fact the saddle could have never fit due to my horses basic shape. I rely on my common sense and instincts a lot more now!
 

teddypops

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9 March 2008
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885
I use an adjustable saddle company saddle on my youngsters. I can then continue to use this or I sometimes get them a made to measure saddle once they are mature.
 

nikkimariet

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18 December 2010
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I made do using Figs saddle on Nova until it was physically no longer viable. Luckily it just about worked, but if I had to then I'd would camp it out with a cheap wintec or similar.

Nova had his checked religiously every few months and only now is he starting to settle down. Fig has his checked every 3/4 months even as a mature horse.
 
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