It is important to look at your horse for saddle fitting. It is something that is often overlooked. Buying a saddle straight off the shelf or off trade me etc without knowing what shape your horse is will often put you in the position of buying something that doesn’t fit.
|• High wither||• Long wither||• No wither|
|• Prominent spine||• Flat backed||• Short backed|
|• Long backed||• Roach back||• Bum high|
|• Bulging shoulders||• Flat sloping shoulders||• Muscle wastage|
|• Sway backed||• Any lumps, bumps or swellings?|
This is very important to know when saddle fitting because you may end up with a saddle that’s too narrow in the gullet channel at the back and then it will sit on your horse’s spine. Too wide and it may sit too low.
Feel either side of the spine towards the back of the saddle area and then put the fingers of your other hand on top of the spine to feel how wide it is. You can then use this measurement when looking at the gullet/channel of the saddle to see how wide it needs to be. Also feel either side of the wither area as well as that is usually wider.
Do a wither profile to give you a guide line of what size gullet plate your horse may need. See more information here.
Get your horse to stand square and stand on a box and look from behind. Be careful when you are doing this as some horses may get a fright.
Again stand you horse up square in front and look at shoulders, keens, fetlocks etc and see if they are even. Look for unevenness in leg muscles or shoulder muscles. How does the horse naturally stand with his head position?
Seem like a crazy question? This can affect shoulder height, which in turn affects saddle fit. Does your horse have one heel higher than the other? Are his feet similar sizes or does he have different shapes all round?
How your horse moves with no one on their back is a very interesting thing to watch. Some horses have natural swings one way or walk crooked and this will affect how you feel in the saddle and how the saddle sits on your horse’s back. These can be signs of injury or soreness and may be able to be helped with bodywork and correct exercise.
Also a horse can move totally different with some one leading him out compared to when he has a saddle on his back. Sometimes a good indication on if he is comfortable with the saddle he has had on his back.
Just make a note of what you see - don't panic if you find lots of things. They are just observations and not always signs of a problem.