You have decided it’s time to buy a new or used saddle for your horse. You want to have the fitter visit your farm or you have decided to trailer to the fitting destination. What should you expect?
This is the time of year that many people revisit the fit of their saddle(s). Does it need a flocking adjustment? Has the horse developed enough that another panel or tree width or shape is necessary? Perhaps you have a new horse or your horse has been recuperating and has lost some condition.
At Trumbull Mountain, we do ninety five percent of our saddle fitting long distance but we also have quite a few more local and not so local customers trailer their horses to us. Additionally, we do some travelling depending on distance or the amount of people requesting it. If you plan to trailer, it is helpful to send a questionnaire ahead of time and if possible, conformation shots. We are happy to take tracings once you arrive but it is nice to do be able to do some homework for you before you arrive and have some saddles set aside if possible.
The first thing we do when you come to us is to take a look at your horse and get an idea, (if we don’t already have one), of what type of saddle will work for both horse and rider. We will pull as many as we think might work and have you sit in them on a saddle buck in the shop.. We rule out the ones that are a definite no, knowing that the saddles will feel differently once put on the horse.
The next step is heading to the indoor where we unload the horse, try the saddles on for a static fit, selecting the ones that have the most potential and then proceed to the active fit part.
We like to tack up the horse without any pad and observe how the rider feels in the saddle and how the horse moves in the saddle at all gaits if possible. We check all aspects of the fit. There are times when we might add a correction pad if the saddle could use a more specific flocking adjustment to suit the horse. This allows us to determine whether we can do enough with flocking. It is helpful for the customer to bring their own fittings such as leathers, irons,girths, a pad, bridle and a helmet. We do have some fittings available to use for demo purposes but we don’t stock helmets and riding with your own fittings ensures some familiarity.
We try saddle after saddle and note if there are changes in gait and comfort of the horse and the rider. Many horses will show a marked difference in attitude and gaits between saddles and it can be very rewarding when there is a huge change in freedom and relaxation.We check to see if the saddle is stable, if it moves forward, laterally, up and down, etc. After evaluating saddle fit, we pick the top choices and suggest that they be taken for a trial so that the rider can try them in their own environment. Yet, there are also times when the rider and horse proclaim that they have found their perfect saddle and we sell the saddle and then make any flocking adjustments if needed.
If we have a plan to travel to your barn or see multiple customers, we like to have as much information beforehand as possible. Sometimes, we are just checking current saddle fit both static and active and bring tools and wool to make adjustments if necessary. If the goal is to purchase a new or used saddle, we like to have an idea of what to bring so that we can narrow down the possibilities. We do take current wither tracings and photos, assess the conformation and then proceed the same way, essentially, doing an onsite fit. We like to plan on about an hour for each customer/horse and if flocking or adjusting is needed, then that will likely require more time.
We find that active and static fit are both important as the fit of the saddle can be quite different under movement. Moreover, if we need to adjust the flocking, it is nice to see how the horse moves and how the saddle feels to the rider after the flocking work as sometimes a little tweaking is necessary. Therefore, it is helpful if your horse is groomed and ready when we show up so that the fitting can move along and stay on track, particularly if there are multiple horses.
I have travelled by air for multi-day, multi-horse fittings and in that case, we definitely need info ahead of time to be able to send saddles so that they are there waiting when I arrive.
If you have further questions or would like to set up a saddle fitting appointment, please email us or give the shop a call. Some of the information can be found on our website under the drop down, Saddle Fitting.