FITTINGThis is how it's done:
The rider feels with a finger that there is no pressure under the ends of the pommel (first on one side of the withers and then on the other side). The rider also checks the channel under the saddle is open so that a whip or a twig can be pulled through.
We will see the rest in the photos we'd like you to email us:
– The saddle is in the right place (= the shoulder is free)
Otherwise the saddle will adapt according to the horse's shape under the rider's weight.
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A flexible saddle is fitted like a treed saddle, but is a lot easier to fit because the saddle adapts. Some useful things:
FLAPSA treed saddle usually has flaps that are rigid. Therefore the width of a treed saddle must be exactly right. A thumb of rule says there must be room for a hand between the saddle and the horse under the front side of the flap. This rule doesn't apply to flexible saddles. As the whole saddle is flexible and soft, it may surround the horse in a tighter manner than a treed saddle with a fixed width.
Think of a girth that is used to keep a blanket in its place, or a long girth of a jumping saddle – they surround the horse tightly all around. A soft saddle will do the same. A flexible saddle is not too narrow, as long as the pommel is of the right size and as the saddle is in the right place, behind the withers.
ADAPTINGIt doesn't matter what the saddle looks without a rider. It may look too straight or too narrow. How a flexible saddle fits can be seen only after there is weight in the saddle. The rider's weight will make the saddle flex and adapt.
It's a good idea to mount from a stand when using a wool flocked saddle. If you always mount from the left and on the ground, the left panel will flatten. The stand saves the saddle and is comfortable for the horse. Mounting from the ground easily causes a yank in the girth area and around the spine.
GIRTHIt's a good idea to tighten the girth gradually and check it after mounting. When the saddle gets warm between the horse and the rider, it will flex and give way so that the girth will loosen a little.
CHANNELPlease check there is an open channel under the saddle so that you can pull a whip or a twig through.
POMMELPlease feel with a finger that there is no pressure under the ends of the pommel when the horse moves.
Sometimes a saddle can seem narrow because the saddle is on the withers. The withers should move in front of the saddle, not under it. Then the saddle is in the right place.
If the pommel is too narrow, the saddle will lean backwards. If the pommel is too wide, the saddle will lean forward.
There should be several centimeters of empty space between the highest point of the pommel and the horse.
LENGTHThe rider weight is allowed to reach the area where the last rib meets the spine. The last rib is where the flank of the horse starts to sink towards the area where there's no bone under the skin to support it. Here the rib curves forward towards the horse's head and meets the spine.
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Please take photos of the whole horse, directly from the side, so that his head and legs are in the photo and the head is up. First without saddle, then with the saddle before and after the ride. It's also useful to send us a photo where the rider sits in the saddle.