Common Saddle Fitting Myths
There are many factors that come into play when selecting the right saddle for you and your horse. You will often hear people say that they love a certain brand of saddle because they fit every horse. It is next to impossible to have one single saddle that fits every horse. Depending on the size of your horse's withers, the width of their spinal column, the shape of their back, the length of their back, the amount of muscle definition in their back or lack thereof. That being said many saddle brands do offer different models of saddles within their brands to fit a variety of different horse shapes and sizes. Knowing which particular model within saddle brand that will work best for you and your horse is most important step when looking at specific saddle brands.
Myth #2: I’ll be able to buy a saddle that fits two different horses.
Finding a saddle that will work well for more than one horse is a difficult task. If you have two horses that are extremely similar in weight, back width, back length, and wither shape you may be able to find a saddle that will work perfectly for both horses. But a mere 25 pounds in the wrong spot, a 3 inch shorter back, or a slightly higher wither can mean a saddle fitting one horse and hurting another. Sometimes it is possible to have corrective saddle pads that will help to have a saddle that works perfectly for one horse and fit the other horse better.
Myth #3: A good saddle pad will solve my saddle fitting problems.
Using a good quality corrective saddle pad can help the saddle to fit better in some minor saddle fitting cases. There is much technology in the pad industry to help a saddle fit better and you should take advantage of that technology. Using a pad with shims to lift the front or back of the saddle on one or both sides can help to fix slight saddle fit issues. Padding-up to help eliminate sores from a poor fitting saddle is not a good choice. Using a corrective pad under an ill-fitting saddle will not alleviate pinching, slipping, or uneven pressure. It is important to remember if a saddle is too narrow, padding up to buffer the pressure will make the horse wider which will cause even more pressure.
Myth #4: All saddles that claim to be a medium tree have the same gullet width.
The truth is that the saddle industry uses terms loosely. One saddle companies medium tree can be another companies medium wide or medium narrow. Since there is no universal sized medium tree it is best to know which brands tend to run wider or narrower than average.
Myth #5: You have to spend a lot of money or get a custom-made saddle to find one that fits properly.
Having a saddle that fits properly is not an impossible task that has to involve a brand new custom made saddle. Even if you have a hard to fit horse there are many saddle brands that have adjustable panels and trees that can be fitted to your horse. By purchasing a used saddle you can afford to buy a much higher quality saddle at a lower price and it is even possible to find saddles that have been custom ordered by someone else that can be adapted to fit your horse if needed.
Myth #6: A saddle with a changeable gullet system means it will fit every horse.
Saddles with changeable gullet systems do offer a wider variety in fit than a non adjustable saddle. However it is important to remember that the gullet width is only one factor in saddle fit. The changeable gullet does not change the width of the saddle channel or the width or shape of the tress itself which limits its ability to be used on all the different shapes and sizes of various horses.