5 Ways to tell if your Dressage Saddle Fits
Rule One: Room over the wither. You know this is the wither. This is the pommel. And you need enough room over the wither. So, I like about four inches, about a hands worth. If it's sitting too much higher or lower than that it's not sitting on the horse properly. Especially important that it doesn't sit too low because you never want a chance of the horse's wither getting rubbed by the pommel. So the first thing you ask is this: is there enough room there?
Make sure with the dressage saddle is behind the shoulder blade. So important. Run your hand down and find where the horse's shoulder blade ends. You're going to feel it right here. Make sure when you put the saddle on, it's sitting behind the shoulder blade. When you girth it down, it's going to snuggle up right behind the shoulder blade. And that's how you know if the saddle is in the right place.
Rule Two: the points. Are the points digging into the horse's shoulders. It's really important that the points aren't too tight and digging into the horse's shoulder. So, make sure you can run your hand down and it doesn't feel like it's pinching here.
Rule Three: Make sure the saddle doesn't rock. If it rocks then it's what we call "bridging" and it's going to put pressure on either the front or the back, and it's going to give your horse a sore back. So, make sure the saddle is sitting down well enough that it doesn't rock.
Rule Four: slip your hand underneath the center of the saddle and make sure that you can feel the pressure of the center of the saddle on the top of your hand. The idea is the whole under panel of the saddle needs to be sitting on the horse evenly. Otherwise you get pressure points and your horse gets a sore back. So, if you put your hand under here and you feel space above the back of your hand, it means that the saddle is sitting on him in the front and the back and it's not sitting on him in the middle. And you can also tell that by rocking. Does it rock?
Rule Five: you need to be able to see air through the gullet. The gullet is the middle part of the saddle, underneath. And it's a lot harder with a taller horse, sometimes you have to stand on something, but you have to make sure that you see daylight all the way through the gullet. Be careful behind your horses of course, but make sure that when you look through the gullet that you can see all the way through. The saddle is not allowed to make any sort of contact whatsoever along the gullet.
If you check those five things with your dressage saddle, your dressage saddle is probably fitting pretty darn nicely.
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