CARE FOR YOUR SADDLE
Be sure to clean your saddle carefully. Insufficiently treating the leather will dry it out causing it to crack. Cleaned and oiled too much, the dressing will not be absorbed and the saddle can become sticky or gooey, possibly marking your clothes or causing the saddle stitching to rot.
Saddles should be carefully stored on a well-made saddle rack. Never position saddles where they can be knocked off the rack. Beware that lifting a saddle onto a very high rack can damage your own back and often results in the saddle being stored crookedly.
Mounting from a mounting block is definitely better for the horse's back and guards against the saddle tree becoming twisted, which can quite easily happen if the saddle is regularly used as a lever.
"Each horse should have its own saddle. Just as a pair of shoes adapts to the wearer's foot, so the saddle adopts the contours of the horse."
-The Soceity of Master Saddlers
Saddles101 has the ability to fit horses of many different widths and sizes, from high withered thoroughbreds to the wide warmbloods and wide backed ponies.
Heather takes pride in resolving soreness and performance issues for the horse and rider, and she is passionate about educating people on how a saddle fits, and the way each part contributes to the fit.
Heather is a Qualified Saddle Fitter for the Society of Master Saddlers in the UK. This recognized qualification shows her dedication to the industry, and allows her to give better quality and service to her clients. As a Society member, she follows a strict code of conduct to protect clients and other society saddle fitters.
When fitting for a custom saddle, Saddles101 inquires as to the rider’s needs and measurements, such as:
the height and weight of the rider
how often he/she rides
the owner’s budget
Other important factors come into play, such as:
the breed of the horse
the condition and shape of the horse
the work and conditioning program for the horse
whether weight gain or loss is anticipated for the horse
It is essential for optimum performance and care to understand these seven points of saddle fitting:
Your horse changes shape often and the frequency of these changes will relate to his age, training, health and management. Try to recognize these changes, and have your saddle checked, and any necessary adjustments made at least yearly.
It may be possible to adjust your existing saddle to fit your new horse, but the advice of a qualified saddle fitter should always be considered.
Great attention must always be paid to the condition of the saddle flocking. Irregular, uneven or lumpy flocking can cause pressure points that may seriously damage the horse's back. Severe irregularity in the flocking can cause the saddle to sit to one side. Correct flocking provides a cushioning effect that helps to reduce trauma. Over stuffed, the saddle will be hard and will not adapt to the horse's back and may cause pressure points or sensitivity.
It is possible to re-flock your existing saddle, but only if it is wool stuffed and not stuffed with foam. Saddles101 can provide this service on-site. However, if you need to convert from foam to wool or need tree adjustments, such as having it widened, Saddles101 can provide this service off-site.
ON THE DAY OF THE FITTING
Once you decide you would like a custom saddle, Heather will make arrangements to meet with you and your horse. At this meeting, she will gather needed information about you and take your horse’s measurements. She will trace your horse’s back to find the proper fit, and bring sample saddles for you to try. First, the samples will be placed on a fitting horse for you to sit on and decide which ones you want to try out on your horse. Then, when your selection is narrowed down, she will make adjustments to the samples so they can be used on your horse. You can ride in as many of the samples as you wish until you find the one that is right for you. Finally, once the selection is made, she will order the tree and seat according to your requirements and your horse’s measurements.
Planning ahead and providing the 'right' facilities helps the saddle fitter give you the best possible services. The following accommodations can help during saddle fittings (if possible):
Make certain the arena is ready on time and in good workable condition. Saddle fitting can take a considerable amount of time and the saddle fitter is likely to want the horse owner to ride in a number of short-listed saddles, an essentially important part of the fitting procedure
It is always advisable to have the rider present
Wear suitable clothing
Have your stirrup leathers and girth available
Have your horse well groomed, in and ready. The marks left on a well groomed horse's back after removal of the saddle are significant to the saddle fitter because they indicate bearing surfaces, and further identify unwanted movement.
Your new saddle will arrive within approximately four to six weeks depending on stock. It will be delivered to you and adjustments will be made to the flocking if necessary. Your new saddle will need to be readjusted within 90 days of delivery as the wool will settle and compress as the saddle is ridden in and used.