As I write this monthly update for you, I’m finally back in the office taking a breather after a flurry of events and a brilliantly busy autumn. The AMZ trade stand was in action at the Horse of the Year Show at Stoneleigh Park at the start of October alongside some of the biggest riders and brands in the equestrian world. It was just so good to see this famous show back on after a hiatus (no prize for guessing why!) in 2020 and it felt like ‘normal’ life had returned. The atmosphere was brilliant, the Shopping Village bustling with people checking out the latest equestrian goodies and of course the equestrian competition and displays were excellent too.
After such brilliant events to finish off the year I’m now getting ready for the usual Christmas flurry of orders for our branded goodies and planning which shows to head to next year. It’s also a busy time for saddle checks and fittings as horses naturally change shape in the autumn and winter months. Changes in their routine, the reduction in grass quality and a genetic predisposition to shedding some pounds in winter all mean it’s time to assess your saddle and see if it needs a tweak. If you’re not sure if your saddle still fits, or if your horse’s back needs looking at, here’s a quick reminder of some basic checks you can do.
1. With the saddle on and no numnah, check wither clearance and that there’s ample gullet clearance along the length of the saddle.
2. Check there is continuous contact with the panels all the way along the back - you can use chalk dust to check this if you’re not sure.
3. Check the seat is level and there’s no great difference between the height of the pommel and cantle (unless yours is a specialist jumping saddle!).
4. With the girths done up ensure you can slide your hand up and down the panels on either side (where the knee rolls are) to check the shoulder can move freely.
5. Check the saddle is stable and doesn’t rock or roll around - even without the girth done up a well-fitting saddle should sit quite neatly and securely.
6. With no saddle on, check the horse’s back muscles for symmetry. All horses are slightly asymmetrical but anything we can see just looking at them should be investigated.
7. Look at the hair in the saddle area and back - is it being ‘rubbed out’ on one side or in one area? That can indicate the saddle is moving more than it should.
If you’re not sure about any aspect of saddle fit then make sure you book a saddle fitter to come and take a look. Amy covers most areas of the UK, especially if groups of owners arrange for saddle fitting on the same day, so make sure you drop us a line to enquire.