In a blog last year, I mentioned how quickly six months can fly by, showing that it’s really easy to let the maximum time lapse between saddle fitting lapse by mistake. For my first blog of 2023, I’m sharing five reasons why getting your saddle checked once every six months is so important. None of us want our horses to experience discomfort when we ride, and it can be easy to cause damage to topline muscles which could need rest or even physio treatment to fix. So, with that in mind, let’s take a closer look:
1. Horses naturally change shape with the seasons
Even if you ensure your horse gets the same amount of exercise and feed all year-round, you can’t control the nutrient levels of the grass and other forage they eat, and their body’s own response to spring and summer versus autumn and winter. Horses have evolved to gain weight more easily when there’s ample grass to eat ready for the colder, darker months when food is harder to come by. That means their shape will change from one season to the next, and therefore your saddle needs checking too!
2. The flocking in panels can settle and compact
Did you know that the flocking in every saddle eventually settles and compacts? That means that all saddles need to be checked from time to time to ensure the wool flocking is still doing its job properly and proving comfort and shock absorption for the horse’s back. I use high quality British wool to fill the panels in AMZ saddles, and I’m careful to ensure the wool is always sourced from the same breed of sheep. That’s because some wools are denser and others fluffier, so they will compact to different volumes.
3. Your horse’s workload will probably change during the year
Most horses will gain and lose muscle as their workload changes throughout the year. Even leisure horses who are only hacked out and taken to the occasional fun ride, might get more work in the spring and summer. A long hack to the pub or beach ride is far more appealing when the days are long, and the sun is shining! Or you might be a keen hunter and your horse gets the summer off and is fit and hard muscled in the winter. Either way, your saddle needs to be checked whenever your horse gets fit and after they have a holiday.
4. A new saddle can lead to new muscle
If you’re lucky enough to have invested in a new saddle for your horse, you might notice their topline improves once they’ve been ridden in it for a few weeks. That’s because lots of horses find they can use their topline more effectively in a new saddle, fitted to their exact profile. I always book a return visit to my customers so that I can make any tweaks once they’ve been riding in their new saddle for a month or so and recommend that you do the same if you have a new saddle.
5. Horses age over time, just like us!
Did you know that as we age, our muscle density starts to decrease? It’s just a fact of life, and the same starts to happen to horses as they age too. That’s why older horses should still see a saddle fitter at least every six months, even if they’re ridden less regularly and don’t compete anymore. I love working with veterans and ensuring they are happy and healthy in their work with a saddle that fits like a glove.
I work with clients all over the north of England, Scotland and the Midlands, so if your horse is due a saddle fitting visit soon why not drop me a line to see when I’m next in your area? I fit all makes and brands of saddle and carry plenty of samples if you want to try something new!