Gear of the Month — March
Sponsored by TW Saddlery
Two signs your saddle does not fit and what you can do about it.
1. Saddle tends to roll to one side when riding.
Horses are often asymmetrical and will have one shoulder larger than the other. This can be seen by standing on a mounting block directly behind the horse (without saddle) and looking at the outside profile of the shoulders looking down. In the majority of cases the left shoulder will appear larger. This is because in the same way that most people are right handed, most horses are left-side dominant. This means they will often want to take the left lead easier, and the increased use of this side causes the overdevelopment. For this reason, most barrel racers make two turns to the left and one to the right, racetracks turn to the left, and steer ropers start on the right and turn steers to the left. This larger shoulder pushes harder against the bars of the tree, pushing the saddle to right in the case of left-dominant horses or to the left in the case of (much fewer seen) right-side dominant horse.
TW Saddlery or Specialized Saddles, which feature the patented independent adjustment for each side. In the case of an asymmetrical horse, with these saddles' innovative design, you can easily create more room for the dominant shoulder. The saddles have “fitting cushions” that can be independently adjusted for these differences in the shoulders. To learn more about these saddles' ground-breaking design, click here https://twsaddlery.com/3-d-fitting-system. If you are using a traditional non-adjustable saddle you can try using a felt pad and cut a hole about the size of a tennis ball at the apex of the protruding curve of the larger shoulder. This hole provides pressure relief for the larger shoulder and helps to equalize pressure on each side.Fixing this is not easy unless you have a saddle from
2. Saddle slides backwards when riding on flat ground.
If the gullet of your saddle is too narrow, both shoulders will be overly tight and the movement of the muscles of the shoulders that attach to the scapula will tend to push the saddle backwards as your horse moves. This can be especially prevalent when the saddle is not held by a breast collar or very tight cinch. To see if this is happening with your saddle, remove your breast collar and ride with a fairly loose cinch. Remember, this is a test for walking and easy trotting; don’t do fast work or turns with your cinch loose! Use a mounting block to get on and off. If you suspect your saddle is too narrow and is tight, you can also look for evidence of bridging. When the gullet is too narrow, the saddle will bridge. You are getting contact in the front of the bars of your saddle and the back of the bars of your saddle and no contact in the middle. You can look for these large, dry areas in the middle of your horse's back, which result from bridging, by removing your saddle and pad about 5 minutes after your horse first begins to show signs of sweating. If you have dry areas, this can be an indication that your saddle is not wide enough and does not sit down fully on your horse's back.
Fixing a saddle that is too narrow for your horse can be difficult unless you have you have a saddle from TW Saddlery or Specialized Saddles featuring the patented adjustment fit. In the case of wide horses, you can easily create more room by adjusting the saddle. The saddles have “fitting cushions” that can be independently adjusted wider for any size horse. To learn more about these saddles' ground-breaking design, click here https://twsaddlery.com/3-d-fitting-system. Other fixes for this can include using thinner saddle padding like a single Navajo blanket or thinner felt pad instead of both as well as width-adjustable saddles.
Visit TWSaddlery.com for more information and to see their full line of saddles.