Saddle Check – How Often?

22nd June 2023

If you have just purchased a brand-new saddle, I recommend you have it checked after the first couple of months of use, particularly if the saddle has flocked, rather than foam, panels. Your saddle fitter may well need to top up the flocking to rebalance the saddle. This is because saddles are flocked with sheep wool, which starts off nice and fluffy but tends to compress with use.

Additionally, if the horse was new to you when you bought the saddle, the change in management/yard may have resulted in a change in the horse’s condition, which might affect the way the saddle fits. After that initial check, you should have your saddle checked every six months particularly if you have a young horse that is still maturing. For older horses, yearly checks may suffice, although plenty of horses change shape throughout the year depending upon their fitness levels (I am thinking of event horses, racehorses and hunters). Additionally, summer grass can cause major weight fluctuations for horses and ponies living out.

If your horse starts to show discomfort when being ridden, or its performance drops, or starts to misbehave, it is a good idea to have your saddle checked. Once you are sure the saddle is not causing a problem you can then start to explore other possible causes and call out your equine dentist, your back person (chiro, physio, osteo), and as a last resort, your vet. Similarly, if you start to suffer back pain when riding, it could be that the saddle needs rebalancing.

If you start to feel your saddle moving (forwards, backwards, to one side) it needs checking. Saddle movement can cause soreness and back pain for both horse and rider, so it’s important to act quickly.

When checking the saddle, as your saddle fitter I would always ask you to ride in the saddle, as it is impossible to judge the fit of the saddle just by sitting it on the horses back. If I then decide to add some flocking I would ask you to ride again – just to check all is well. I normally allow 45 – 60 mins for a saddle check. In addition, if I haven’t seen the saddle before, I may want to check the tree is sound and all the stitching is safe.

Book your Saddle Fitting Appointment with Antonia on 07941 512933