Does my saddle fit?
Optimise your saddle fit with Bates Saddles! Our guideline serves to empower you in recognising the pivotal moments when minor adjustments can transform performance and comfort, unlocking your true potential.
To elevate your performance and ensure continued comfort for your horse, we recommend an initial saddle fit and a follow-up saddle fit within your first three months of riding. As with many new saddles, this crucial adjustment check ensures optimal alignment allowing you to ride quietly at full power.
Beyond the initial settling period, to optimise your partnership, and ensure your saddle continues to fit correctly, we recommend organising six-monthly saddle fits. Your horse’s shape is continually sculpted by their age, fitness, training and competition schedule, this proactive approach encourages unwavering performance and comfort.
Seeking professional guidance on your horse’s saddle fit is paramount. Our guideline serves to empower you in recognising the pivotal moments when minor adjustments can transform performance and comfort, unlocking your true potential.
For unparalleled performance and complete comfort, book a saddle fit with your local Bates Saddles stockist today!
A basic saddle fit check will involve
Begin with your horse standing square on level ground with the saddle girthed up, without a saddle pad*.
Saddle positioning is crucial when assessing saddle fit, ensure the nail of your saddle is approximately three fingers distance from the edge of your horse’s shoulder. The stage is now set for optimising your saddle fit!
All fitting adjustments and saddle alterations should be made in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. *It is easier to see the saddle fit without a saddle pad, however it is important to consider safety first and ensure you and your horse will be safe with this alternate feeling.
Clearance of your horse's wither for their comfort
Clearance of your horse’s wither and along the width and breadth of their spine is essential for their comfort. Check your saddle’s channel has sufficient clearance of your horse’s wither and spine through the entire length of the saddle.
If your saddle features HART, it is important that a rider sits in the saddle to check the clearance is maintained, as the air becomes dynamic under the rider’s weight.
Even bearing or contact with your horse's back
As an extension of your precision and balance, your saddle should bear evenly on your horse’s back, providing a close fit for clear delivery of your aids.
Glide your hand between your horse and the saddle panel, ensuring even bearing (pressure and contact) along the length of the panel.
If your saddle features HART, it is important that a rider sits in the saddle to check the bearing, as the air transforms becoming dynamic under the rider’s weight.
Assessing saddle seat balance for your natural position
A perfectly balanced seat should guide you to a neutral position, where contact is closest. This allows for a longer leg, effortless alignment and support for your upper body.
Check that the deepest part of your saddle seat is central and level to ensure perfect saddle balance.
Should your saddle require further adjustments select the optimal combination of EASY-CHANGE Risers to achieve sufficient clearance, even bearing and perfect balance. You can find a handy guide to Assessing your Saddle Fit and Making Changes to your saddle here.
Our systems, your performance potential
Bates saddles featuring revolutionary Horse and Rider Technology (HART) offer the highest flexibility for achieving an optimal fit and the ultimate performance for your horse.
The innovative systems in our saddles offer unsurpassed flexibility in achieving optimal fit and making sure your horse rides in pure comfort, however no one saddle can claim to fit any horse.
It is always recommended you seek ongoing professional advice on the fit and in meeting the unique needs of each horse and rider combination.
With our guide to assessing your saddle’s clearance, bearing and balance you can now recognise where subtle refinements to your saddle’s fit will elevate your performance. Maintaining an optimal saddle fit enhances your natural position and stability, granting you an independence of seat and encouraging precision in every stride.
Follow Bates Saddles for more secrets on how to unlock your true potential!