HUNTERS – The importance of saddle Fit

21st November 2018

As a saddle fitter, I see more problems with sore backs etc with horses that are hunted regularly than in any other equestrian field, for the following reasons:


  • Hunters tend to change shape as the hunting season progresses; they can start the season carrying some summer fat, but the more days they do, the more they become leaner and fitter, and this has an impact upon saddle fit. A saddle that fitted perfectly in October can be too “wide” in December.
  • Hunting days can be very long and arduous for horses, particularly if they do a whole day galloping and jumping through mud. Some hunters do not develop the correct musculature to carry a rider for that long.
  • Riders may not be as fit and balanced as they should be – particularly those who do not ride regularly. Hunting gear (jacket, boots etc) is also heavy and can increase the weight that the horse has to carry.
  • Horses tend to sweat profusely, particularly if they get excited, which can cause irritation in the saddle area.

For all the above reasons I suggest it is good management to have your hunters’ saddles checked regularly so that minor adjustments can be made.  If you are buying a saddle for your hunter, please do not expect to be able to buy a second hand one that fits perfectly! It is really important that the saddle is comfortable for both horse and rider, so that you both enjoy a full season