Oh, I just discarded 4 saddles, and I’m not a saddler. I am in the middle of the process, of saddle training a 4 year old mare who is about to be ridden. The riding adaption has been unproblematic so far, and the mare has been very willing to cooperate, but saddle training can be very hard. Here is a few good advices.
As you have probably noticed, I always start the ridding adaption, by riding the horse without equipment. At first because I want the horse to freely accept the fact that I am on its back.. When the horse accept me on its back, and I am able to control it simply by the mane. I start the adaption of equipment. In the beginning I only use a bitless bridle, that is because I can feel exactly what is going on underneath me when I am riding the horse bareback.
The saddle is the problem
If a horse without equipment, is able to stand still during ascent, and suddenly starts moving when using the saddle, then the saddle could be the problem.
During saddle adaption, I use the saddle that the owner has brought with the horse. With my naked eye I see that the saddles weight is lying to much in the front, and that it therefore is placed across the horse’s shoulder.
Unfortunately, things like that happens often, but it has its reasons; The horse is often young. It has just been, or is still about to grow. Contemporary with that it hasn’t built any muscles yet. it is now that the horse needs to develop its muscles to be able to handle being ridden. The horse’s body is going to change a lot during riding adaption.
I change the saddle with my “good old” saddle, that I can see with is way too long. I change into a new saddle, and get disappointed because I can see that it is too short, and it probably weight to much from behind.
Hmm.. I call the owner and ask her to bring a new saddle. This time the saddle seems to fit. I get up and ride few rounds, then it feels like the horse is almost crawling underneath me.
I jump off and look at the saddle, which seem to be lying in a good position, but then I see that it has been gliding forward, and is now lying directly on the shoulder.
I take of the saddle, get up on the horse’s back, and now it is easily doing the trot – without the saddle.
And now I remember what the saddler Stine Julø said at her last clinic, which I paticipated in. “Now, get those saddles fixed and adjusted!”.
saddles need to be individually built, and as often as our horses are changing physically, as often should we adjust our saddles. In that way the horse won’t be hindered, and it won’t get pains or injuries. Contemporary with that, Stine Julø presented a so-called “pressure pad” which shows how the saddle is dividing the weight beyond the horses back, also during the riding adaption.
I truly recommend this fantastic tool to everyone having doubt about whether the saddle fits the horse. Maybe you can a saddle that you haven’t bought yet. The pressure pas will show you exactly where and how much pressure the saddle is making. Now we no longer have to trust the saddle seller. We can check it ourselves.
So friends, before you buy equipment for your horse, please make sure that it fits the horse!
Read more about the pressure pad on: Gundsø Dyreklinik eller på: http://www.pressurepad.dk/pressurepad