Saddle Fitting

Posted in: Horse Supplies

It is so important for people to be aware of how a saddle fits a horse and the rider. So I wanted to write about saddles and the proper fit. I interviewed my husband Matt Thompson, who has been a saddle maker for the past 18 years, and owns MT Saddlery. He has mainly built saddles that are used hard by ranchers and working cowboys across the West.

MT Saddlery

There are many variables when it comes to saddle fit. Any saddle can sore a horse if it is not properly placed and reset frequently during the day. A good saddle should fit the horse as well as it fits the rider. A good saddle will fit a lot of different horses and the pads you use can be adjusted to keep the horse from getting a sore back. Matt recommends purchasing a good quality handmade saddle from a reputable maker who has spent time in the saddle cowboying and knows and understands horses.

A saddle starts with a good tree of course. A good maker will be able to order or build a tree that will fit most horses properly. They will know how to balance the measurements of the tree to be proportioned to the rider and to look right on a horse. He will be able to recommend the proper tree depending on which activity the saddle will be used for; cutting, ranch work, pleasure riding, ect.

A saddle with a good seat is the difference between an enjoyable day in the saddle versus a miserable one. You want a saddle you can ride IN instead of ON. A good ground seat will put you as close to the horse as possible and should have enough rise to keep you from sliding around in the saddle. If possible, it is a good idea to set in the ground seat when the maker is to that point. It will give the rider an idea of how their saddle is going to feel and if it is a comfortable fit for them. The rider may choose to have a padded seat put in as well. It includes a neoprene piece covered by leather that is put in the seat for extra padding. I personally like the padded seat. Who doesn’t like a little extra padding when you have a long day of cowboying ahead?

Matt also stated that rigging placement is one of the most important elements of a good fitting saddle. The term rigging is used to refer to how the cinch strap attaches to the saddle to hold the saddle in place. The type of rigging a saddle has is related to the purpose of the saddle depending upon the amount of stability the activity requires. It doesn’t so much matter what position they are set, or whether they are flat plate, skirt, or ring riggings as long as they are exactly the same. If one is ahead or lower than the other, you will have problems. Riggins can also stretch over time which will also cause problems.

Of course, there are many variables to how the saddle should fit the horse and rider. Please visit our Facebook page, MT Saddlery If there are any questions that you would like to ask, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in: Horse Supplies

About Jayme Thompson

I was Daddy's little cowgirl being raised horseback on our family ranch. I am a ranch wife and mother. I believe in having pride in your work and yourself. I am thankful for the exciting and fulfilling life I get to live doing the work...

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