“I don’t care if I’m not comfortable in the saddle; the main thing is it fits the horse.” I’m sure many saddle fitters and sales people have heard this statement from riders. Many riders (and fitters) seem to ignore the necessity of the saddle also being comfortable for the rider. The reality is it’s much easier to make a saddle to fit the horse than it is to make it also fit the rider. There are many more points to consider when designing or making a saddle to fit the rider properly – to allow him to sit in balance on the horse and concentrate on riding rather than fighting the saddle to maintain position. Consider the quotes of two professionals I have worked with.
Laura Whitteron, Certified Saddle Ergonomist, England
“Having spent years doing exercises that supposedly loosen the hips in an attempt to sit ‘deeper’ in the saddle and prevent my toes turning out while riding, I have now found that when sat in a saddle designed for the female rider I am immediately sat ‘deep’ in the saddle with toes pointing forward, without even warming up. I now wonder what unnecessary damage I have done as a result of years of putting torque on my joints with these exercises. I learnt these exercises as a child from an instructional riding book; I wonder how many other people, specifically women, have unnecessarily damaged their bodies believing they struggle with ‘tight hips’.”
Nicole Künzel, Trainer for Classical Riding Methods, Hanover, Germany
“A saddle just for women??? I thought this was a joke. I was an emancipated woman – or so I thought – and as such, I should be able to ride in any saddle. That was the thought – until I actually felt the difference between a saddle made for a man and one made for women for the first time. Without exaggeration, this was truly an eye-opening experience. I rode so naturally without any effort to have my legs hang straight down where they were supposed to be; to feel the movement as one with my horse. Since then, as a trainer I often think that a saddle that is correctly fitted to my students would definitely help or even hinder some of their position issues.”
There are 25 points we look at which specifically focus on how the saddle fits the rider. These, together with 55 evaluation points to horse, measurements, dust pattern, static and dynamic analyses, comprise the Saddlefit 4 Life® 80 Point Saddle Fit Diagnostic Evaluation to horse and rider. The following video shows 3 important views and discusses fit of the saddle to the rider.
Jochen Schleese is author of ‘Suffering in Silence – The Saddle fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses’ (2013). Through the Saddlefit 4 Life® global network of equine professionals Jochen Schleese provides industry education to help equestrians recognize and prevent saddle fit issues and long term damage to horse and rider. Find answers in a personal 80 point Saddle Fit Evaluation to horse and rider. www.SaddlesforWomen.com 1-800-225-2242 www.Saddlefit4life.com