The perfect saddle fitting is the base for a painless and effective riding. But the process of finding the right saddle can be very difficult and long. Every rider refers to his own experiences and every rider will give you a different advice. There are so many opinions about the right saddle – but in the end only the horse is able tell us if the saddle fits or not.
We want to tell you about a useful trick that can help you to make the right decision. With the help of this trick you can easily see if the new saddle fits or if it presses on the horses back. In some cases it may be very useful to analyze the saddle blanket. Irregular sweat stains are a hint that the saddle lays irregular on the horses back. In this case the saddle presses on the horses back at some points and cause painful abrasions.
Instead of the saddle blanket it can be very useful to build a “testing-pad”. You need:
- Any kind of modeling clay (in the internet you can find several recipes for this clay consisting of flour, water and some further ingredients)
- A colored plastic bag originally constructed for fish transports. These bags are big enough and robust. They are available in any do-it-yourself store.
Fill the modeling clay inside the plastic bag. Then take a rolling pin and roll the clay until you finally formed a uniform mixture. Then you can use the pad as a saddle blanket and lay it directly underneath the new saddle. But please be careful: Some horses can be irritated by the strange feeling of the plastic, the soft clay or the crackling sound and may react in a frightened and unexpected way.
Then you can ride with the pad for about 20 minutes (ride in all paces!). Afterwards you can take off the pad. You need to be careful and especially you need to remember the exact position of the pad. The colors of the plastic bag can be very helpful to remember where the front, left or right side was.
The pad will show you if the saddle presses on the horses back or not. If you can see pressure points in the pad the saddle clearly does not fit well.
This picture shows that the saddle does not fit at all. At some points you can even see through the pad. This means that the saddle presses that much that it even presses away the modeling clay! This would easily cause great pain for the horse. If the pad instead has a regular surface the saddle fits perfectly!
This practical test may be very helpful. Indeed it is a great possibility to make a first quick and cheap test of the new saddle. However it does not replace a saddle expert! Especially when you have the impression that the body of your horse has changed (thicker, thinner, general growth process) you should definitely contact an expert.
Did you already test the Pad? Please tell us about your experiences!