6 Preps for your saddle fitting consultation
A saddle fitting consultation is an important step towards your and your horse’s welfare and your enjoyment together. Therefore it’s important to be well prepared so that you can get the most advantage from your consultation. If you keep the following things in mind before your consultation you will save yourself, your horse and your saddle fitter a lot of time and effort.
1. Advice from other professionals
Offer yourself the needed information about yourself or your horse that other professionals have given you that could be of influence on your saddle fit like; your own fysiotherapist, your horse’s chiropractor or osteopath, vet, farrier, dentist, instructor or past saddlefitter. Saddle fitting is a complete package made up from a lot of different factors. If you want your saddle fitter to be able to do their job make sure he is informed. Do you or your horse have any old injuries; make sure you let your saddle fitter know, even if they’re not bothering you at the moment.
2. Facilities & Location
Especially when your consultation is in fall or winter it’s important to be prepared for a sudden change of weather. Make sure you have a place to take shelter from the rain with your horse for the actual fitting of the saddles. Depending on the kind of saddles your fitter works with he might not be all too happy to let you ride them in the drizzle. And if you live a long way away from your fitter and is there a big chance of rain, you might even want to fix an indoor arena you could ride in, just to be sure.
Prepare a location where you and your saddle fitter won’t be pushed aside by other riders or people longing their horses; maybe you’ll have to reserve part of the arena for an hour to get this. Ideally you have a closed off area like an arena or paddock where you can just focus on the saddle you’re riding.
3. Prepared Horse
The saddle fitting consultation is not the moment to get a green horse started. If you have an unridden horse make sure he is at least okay with a barebackpad and a girth. Also be aware of the fact that your saddle fitter can never fit a saddle with a 100% surety without having you ride in it at least at the walk. Understandingly this becomes a dilemma with a green horse, but even then there are plenty of possible solutions.
Take care that your horse is calm before saddling and riding. If you’re riding at a new location and you know your horse gets nervous; be there early and calm him down before your fitter shows up.
4. Dry & Clean Horse
Doing a back examination or fitting a saddle on a wet back is tough. Does your horse normally live outside and is there a big chance of rain; put him in the stable if he’s used to it or rug him for the night so that his coat underneath the saddle will be nice and dry when your saddle fitter shows up. Brush him before the appointment to avoid rubbing of dirt and so that the (usually quite new) saddles of your fitter won’t be damaged. Your saddle fitter will thank you for it!
5. Bring your saddle(s)
Whether it’s about checking your old saddle or you’ve already made up your mind to buy a new one; your old saddle(s) can give your saddle fitter a lot of insight into what works and what doesn’t and possible complaints you or your horse currently have. So if you still have your old saddle take off the girth, stirrup leathers and pad and take it with you so your saddle fitter can have a look at it.
6. Bring your own accessoires
Of course your saddle fitter will have the needed accessories to allow you to ride but if you want to save money and energy and you would like to know if the accessories you already have will be good to ride the saddle with you would like to buy, then have them ready. Believe it or not but accessories have a big influence on your riding and the fit of your saddle.
Girths, stirrups, stirrup leathers and even bridles if you would like to have these checked; lay them all out so that your saddle fitter can advise you on what works and what doesn’t or might need adjusting or replacing.