How to Choose a Saddle Fitter
what you need to know
Your saddle is the single most important thing connecting you to your horse. It is imperative that it is doing its job correctly, distributing your weight evenly, while allowing your horse to move freely. Looking for a saddle can be challenging, and it is important to have the right professional assist you along the way. Here are some questions to ask a potential saddle fitter.
What training or certification do they have?
- The education of fitters varies widely. Some fitters only have the experience provided by the saddle company they work for. This can often be biased or incomplete. Others may have official sounding titles but are not necessarily as thorough as they would seem. For instance, the training provided for the Master Saddler designation, is only four days long.
What kind of assessment tools do they use?
- Unfortunately many companies offering “custom fit saddles”, provide the custom aspects to the rider and use a generic, often foam, panel for the horse. In order to have a truly custom fit, your fitter should pay attention to what tree size and panel is appropriate for your horse, as well as take tracings and measurements of your horse’s back.
What kind of maintenance plan do they offer?
- A saddle is a large investment. It is important to know what kind of maintenance schedule your fitter provides, as all and any panel will compress, it is imperative that it be maintained to ensure a current fit to the horse.
What price range of saddles do they offer?
- This may seem like an obvious question, but it is important that the fitter you are working with is willing to work within your budget, and not try and persuade you into a higher priced saddle.