Saddle Fitting

There are many reasons for a saddle fitting appointment, to check an existing saddle, reflocking, or purchasing a brand new saddle or a new second hand saddle.

We have a wide range of all types of second hand saddles and if you are looking to buy a brand new saddle we have the following available: Sam Jamieson Saddles, Ideal, GFS Saddles, Monarch Saddles, PDS Saddles, Silhouette Saddles, Jeffries Saddles, Equerry Saddles and The Saddle Company Saddles.

“Sam came to see my horse today and did an amazing job re-fitting my two saddles, she was very professional and friendly. My horse feels better in them already! I will definitely use her again and will recommend to friends and family. The online booking system brilliant too! Thank you Sam. – R McBeath, Peterborough.”

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Let’s talk about why you need your saddle fitted

Horses come in all shapes and sizes which is why saddles do to.  It is so very important to get the right match.  Stand a couple of metres away from the side of your horse and look at the silhouette of your horses spine, then have a look at another horse type, there can be a noticeable difference.

Now standing safely behind your horse and look either side of the withers, observe how wide your horse is.  Compare with another horse there can be a vast difference.

Take into account the type of work the horse is doing, for example is he in competition training or perhaps a happy hacker as his musculature will be very different.

“Very pleased today because my asymmetric horse’s back templates were all even! Other saddlers that I have used in the past have not been able to achieve this particularly in such a short time. Also my elderly horse had a new lease of life and moved well in his adjusted saddle. C Sharp – Lincolnshire.”

Is your saddle balanced?

This can have a detrimental effect on your horse and effect you and your riding including giving you backache, it could be that the points of the tree could be driving into the shoulders of your horse or the weight at the back could cause a restriction of circulation.  This can more than often be resolved by adjusting with flocking.

Is there unevenness on the underneath of the panels or even lumps?

This again is cause for concern as this could be causing discomfort and pressure points either side of your horses spine.  Again this can be easily resolved by a total reflock of the saddle, which basically means the saddle being taken apart, all the old flocking removed and replaced with new and the saddle stitched back together again, resulting in a happy and comfortable horse.

Why take chances

In a moment I am going to reveal to you seven important errors horseowners make when they own or buy a saddle.  But first, When you look at a saddle its the outside of the saddle you see yet the tree inside is of upmost importance.

The saddle tree may be considered the skeleton of the saddle and must have some elasticity to help disperse the rider’s weight over the horse’s back.

Remember sweat is acidic and if we put a saddle cloth on the horse under the saddle with wet sweat, this will cause friction and burns the horses hair, think of it like putting on wet socks and going out for a run.

Which leads me onto bulky horsewear under the saddle. If your saddle fits well beware of putting very thick numnahs or saddle cloths between the saddle and your horse. This can replicate how it would feel putting on a pair of perfectly fitting shoes but wearing wooly socks.

“Sam. You are lovely, patient and honest. Great with both the horse and people. Spent way to much of your time! We are so happy that Gavin has a lovely well fitting saddle. So now we can happily get on and get him broken in happy in the knowledge that if we have issues at least it won’t be the saddle.  Thank you again…will definitely recommend you.  Very happy customers. – A Searle – Cambridgeshire”

Now to reveal the 7 errors!

tab1Putting the saddle to far forward onto the shoulders which has the potential of damaging the cartilage, chipping bone of the shoulder blade and causing a criss cross effect at the back of the saddle across your horses spine.

“Cannot recommend Sam highly enough I run a busy competition yard Showjumping and Showing producing young horses. Her knowledge whether it be saddle fitting or dealing with loading difficulties is not only professional but with welfare of the horse is 110% her only priority. With a massive range of second hand saddles and her own range there is something for every budget. Her own range of tack is designed with comfort of the horse foremost and made to the highest standards. For a professional friendly and informative service give Sam a call you will not be disappointed.” – S Eldred, Cambridgeshire.

tab2Girths with elastic on one side, being incorrectly fitted with the elastic on the near side, then being over tightened has potential in damaging your horse. It is recommended that if you would like to use a girth with elastic it should be at both ends or in the middle of the girth or even better no elastic at all. Once tightened you should just be able to get your hand laying flat against your horse in between the girth and your horse.
tab3Buying a cheap new saddle that the quality is lacking compared to a good quality second hand saddle.
tab4Buying a saddle without having it fitted; it maybe the correct width but the wrong type of tree.
tab5After purchasing a new saddle not booking in for a follow up appointment for re-balancing once the flocking has bedded down and moulded to your horse.
tab6Not realising that crooked riding can effect the saddle and the horse.
tab7Believing a Master Saddler is automatically a Saddle Fitter. a Master Saddler is a very skilled person that works at the bench and most common has never even been near a horse. To be a Saddle Fitter this would be additional study.

A Winning Combination

My aim is to ensure both You and your Horse are happy and comfortable with your saddle whatever brand, new or old and provide the best fit that I can.  My approach to Saddle Fitting is discussing with you any concerns, assessing the saddle, your horse and working out how to rectify them if need be, you are the person that knows your horse best and how things feel to you, combined with my expertise as a Saddle Fitter, Horse and Rider Trainer, Equine Behaviourist, training Bodyworker plus working together with Tackaholics, we can work out what is the best for both you and your horse.

Get in touch now!

Where possible I like to show you what to look for when the saddle is correct/not correct, this then makes you more aware and able to maintain the comfort of your horse enhancing his or her wellbeing.

It is recommended that the saddle fit is checked every 3-6 months depending on the horses work load, to give you and your horse the ultimate performance. If you purchase a new saddle this should be checked immediately. For example the width maybe correct for your horse but the saddle maybe out of balance and be tipping forward or back or the asymmetry could be incorrect and need adjusting.

This not only greatly affects your horse and their performance but affects you also! Further more I will travel out to you or you are more than welcome to come to me and use our facilities free of charge

100 of years ago horses were used as a necessity whether it was by the Romans, Anglo Saxons, the cavalry and so on and so saddles have been around for many years and there has not been much change only innovations that modern technology has been able to produce for example moulding, air and synthetics.
An ill fitting saddle can cause great pain and tissue damage but the majority are just slightly out of balance, but, restrictive enough to prevent muscles receiving adequate circulation during exercise without causing pain.

The muscles under the saddle begin to waste, the horse compensates using muscles in front of the shoulders and below the point of hip. If the muscle wastage is severe the saddle eventually rests on the nerve endings which makes the back very tender. The horse becomes choppier in his stride, heavy on the forehand and gradually loses the ability to lift the forelimbs from the ground effectively.

Muscles that are painful tighten up and become hard or flinching, usually described as being in spasm. If the spasm is not relieved it gradually turns to paralysis and other muscles take over their function. The muscles that take over become overloaded and stressed which can then cause new areas of spasm.

There are nerve endings at approximately 2” intervals along the back, if a muscle feels like a lump often in the lumbar region; there is a loss of nerve transmission

Horses and ponies change shape through the seasons, with age, the type of discipline, general fitness and how much work they are doing. It is recommended you have your saddle checked at least every 6 months to ensure your horse is comfortable and that the saddle is benefiting both of you and it is still safe!

When the horses were in full work 100 plus years ago they could be ridden/working for up to 12hrs a day, think of ranch horses for example. Now it doesn’t take much to work out that compared to the majority of horses nowadays used for leisure there is a vast amount of difference of how their musculature, fitness etc would be developed and no doubt horses 100’s of years ago stayed very consistent whereas horses now can do a hard schooling session for up to an hour or go on a leisurely hack, some are worked 6 days a week others just taken for a hack a couple of times at the weekend.

I reiterate that if my own horses that work regularly through the week haven’t worked for 2 days I can see a change in their muscle formation where the horse begins to loose their muscle tone and so to the human eye, in only 2 days the horse can begin to change shape!

It is more often than not that horses have asymmetry in this case a more remedial rehabilitation approach is required. The aim of the interface of the saddle between horse and rider is that the saddle is symmetrical and the horse and rider aim to come together symmetrically with the saddle.
Think of a saddle Check as a Service on your car to keep all in good working order. The saddle should be balanced for both you and the horse, as an example there has been occasions where the rider suffered from back pain which was relieved once the saddle had been rebalanced.

Your saddle may require some additional flocking to re-balance the saddle which can be done on-site, this is chargeable depending on how much work is required. I am more than happy to adjust other saddles with changeable gullets if required, again this is chargeable.

It is recommended that your saddle is checked internally every 2 years, ruling out damaged girth straps, broken tree, loose rivets, loose stirrup bars etc that cannot be checked externally. Also a total reflock should be done at the same time (depending on type of saddle) to remove all old flocking as it can ball up over time and cause pressure points on your horses back.

All these checks are to ensure the saddle is as safe as possible for you and your horse and to enhance the life of your saddle. You are more than welcome to drop your saddle in to me or if I have been to you for a Saddle Check and you have decided you would like a Full Service on your saddle, I can take it with me and let you know when it will be ready to collect.

Once the full service is complete it is required that I come out to you again to check if any further flocking is required once the saddle is on your horses back to ensure your saddle is balanced including for you to ride in the saddle. For this a callout payment is required.

Please Note: A lot of saddles are only guaranteed for approximately 10 years use!

We have a vast range of second hand saddles in various brands and all shapes and sizes, or if you are looking for a totally new saddle have a look at my own saddle brand range ‘Sam Jamieson Saddles’ You can choose from GP, Dressage and Jump saddles.

All available in different colours and varied models: Classic, Deluxe and Professional.

I specialise in my own saddle Brand which includes Dressage, jumping and GP saddles, am the UK Distributor for the Childrens Inky Dinky Saddle.


Check out the site, the children’s saddles are unique and amazing. Take a look at the testimonials!