Stephen A. Lovatt, Master Saddler
SMS Qualified Saddle Fitter
Member of the Worshipful Company of Saddlers
What is the correct fit?
What we are looking for is a saddle that sits level, puts the rider in balance and does not injure the horse by being too narrow or too wide — the majority of injuries occur with saddles that are too narrow.We need our saddle to sit clear of the withers with the ideal being a clearance of two to three fingers. With correct clearance one should be able to draw an imaginary level line from the top of the pommel through the middle of the cantle. The deepest part of the seat should be directly behind the ‘twist’ of the saddle. This puts the rider in the correct balanced position. If the saddle is level, this is naturally where the deepest part occurs.The saddle that fits correctly will sit level with two to three fingers height clearance between the pommel and the withers, a more or less pronounced wither may make a difference, to this calculation, the important thing is that the pommel should not rub on the horses withers with the full weight of the rider in the stirrups. This is with the rider seated and the saddle girthed up correctly. One must also make an allowance that as all of our saddle panels are stuffed with 100% pure English wool, they will settle down–possibly as much as 1/2″ or thereabouts during the first couple of months, depending on the weight of the rider and the frequency and length of use. The points of the saddle should lie down the flanks of the horse and not dig into the shoulders. The panels should be in contact the whole length of the horse’s back so there is no bridging.