Dear Saddle, It’s Not Me It’s You — Saddle Seeks Horse


I know a lot of people who could have written this letter. While there is a growing awareness of the importance of saddle fit for horses, many people don’t understand saddle fit for them! As someone who has very long femurs, I fought many saddles before I realized that I needed a saddle where the stirrup bars are set back. When you do find a saddle that fits you AND your horse, it’s magical.

Now, a saddle can’t fix all your riding problems, but if you’re having trouble keeping your legs still, if you’re pivoting on your knees or find your feet are always “on the dashboard,” take a good hard look at your conformation and your saddles components. Keep in mind that a saddle that is not level on your horse, will also put you off balance — so if you find that you are tipped slightly too far forward or too far back, check your saddle fit.

I decided to break up with my saddle and I am now making it public. I recently borrowed a friend’s saddle for a lesson and all my riding problems magically disappeared–sounds crazy, but it’s true. I had the “it’s not me, it’s you” phrase run through my mind when I gleefully realized I DO know how to…

via Dear Saddle, It’s Not Me It’s You — Saddle Seeks Horse

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6 thoughts on “Dear Saddle, It’s Not Me It’s You — Saddle Seeks Horse

  1. I went from a $100 “made in England” saddle to a Stubben Siegfried and cured a lot of problems. This really is true. Just any old 17″ doesn’t fit, just the right one. I needed bigger knee rolls than I had on the old one. My knees actually lapped over the end of the old ones. What I now want is the stirrup leathers from this saddle. I never had stitched leathers in my life.

    1. Liz Goldsmith

      Saddles have “sweet spots” and different brands are balanced differently. When I was growing up there were fewer standard variations and my knees poked over the edge of most saddles when I was jumping. Now I have saddles with the bars further back, the flaps cut more forward, and with flatter seats. It’s so much easier to ride in a saddle that works with you!

  2. sue funkey

    its so nice to read this. at one time, I was a saddle fitter. so fitting a horse was exceptionally important. As liz says, her femer is long and therefore needs a set back sturrup bar. What I used to tell people was saddlers made saddle proportionate seat to leg. The bigger the seat the more forward the flap! I always found those litttle people (around 100lbs with long legs) who wanted to sit in a 16″ saddle needed a 17 1/2″ or bigger, just for their legs. Saddlers at that time didn’t make a more forward flap. now they do! but its a custom/semicustom thing!

  3. Good point, Liz. There should be more attention for a riders fit as it comes to saddles.

    I feel nothing much has changed over the past century in saddle making (the basic built). Most English saddles still have the stirrup bars in front of the saddle (easiest place to attach it to the tree). Sadly it hinders almost every rider and position them in a chair seat (feet in front of their center of gravity instead underneath it).

    I also can imagine if you have long femurs not only your knees are pushed over the knee rolls but your butt will be too far in the back of the saddle. If the rider is not sitting in the lowest point of the seat but more on the canter it can make the saddle capsize a bit which causes unnecessary pressure on the chest bone of the horse (girth)

  4. I don’t think I ever thanked you for sharing my angst with your audience. I am now riding in my trainer’s 17 inch (she’s much shorter than me) Stubben Portos while I wait for my new County Stabilizer to be made. So if anyone is looking for an Innovation. . .

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