The Importance of Saddle Placement

Saddle Placement

Saddle fit is extremely important to the comfort of both the horse and the rider and there are a lot of coordinates that influence proper fit. However, one of the things I see most often when looking at pictures that people have submitted to evaluate if their saddle fits has more to do with placement than with tree size or panels and everything to do with where the saddle is placed on their horse’s back.

So many people put their saddle too far forward! This means that even if the saddle technically would fit (if it was in the right place), the incorrect position puts the rider behind the motion, puts too much pressure on the cantle, and interferes with the horse’s scapulas. You can see on the example above, that the position of the saddle makes it pommel high, and creates quite a sloping seat! Ideally the seat of your saddle should be level, giving you the best base of balance and keeping your weight evenly distributed over your horse’s back.

In this video, Wendy Murdoch, an anatomy and movement expert, demonstrates how to put the saddle in the correct place on your horse’s back. As mentioned above, there are a lot of elements that impact saddle fit, but unless you start by putting it in the right place, it won’t matter.

Remember that while it’s fine to put your saddle on in a more forward position, you should slide it back before girthing it up.

One thought on “The Importance of Saddle Placement

  1. You are right. EVERYONE, it seems, places their saddle right over the scapulars. It just amazes me how patient the horse is. I’d been massaging horses for several years by then and most of my client’s horses were sore backed, and it was almost always due to bad saddle fit. So I branched out into saddle fitting. I learned what is put in this video, but convincing someone that the saddle needs “to be further back, don’t you see how the shoulder blade is being impinged?” was fruitless. People automatically run it right up to the withers and then wonder why the horse is sore or resists doing what was asked.
    For that matter, I realized I’d never be a saddle fitter because in most cases, the client had spent an awful lot of money on the saddle and didn’t want to listen to someone like me tell her it didn’t fit her horse. In virtually every case, I left knowing the person would continue to use the saddle.

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