The most important aspect of all is ensuring your saddle fits your horses breed, type, size and conformation. The horse's welfare is always the most important consideration together with the rider's needs in all the various disciplines and equestrian sports you are partaking in, so that individual horse and rider combinations can achieve optimum comfort and performance.
Before the saddle fitter comes out to see you they should ask you the following questions. This is because your answers will allow them to make a suitably wide selection of saddles to bring to you to try on your horse. Questions they should ask include:
- Age of your horse - because older horses can lose condition and muscle tone whereas younger horses would be expected to fill out and develop their muscles.
- Breed of your horse - different breeds have different shapes so whether your horse is a warmblood, cob or Thoroughbred, should be relevant to your saddler.
- Does your horse show any physical and/or psychological discomfort or resistance to his saddle, girth.
- Type of saddle - you need to say whether you are looking for a dressage saddle, a general purpose, showing, jumping, endurance or so on.
- Your horse's level of fitness - this will be relevant as a saddle fitted when a horse is fat after a long holiday may not be the correct saddle for the horse when he has slimmed down and is fit.
- Information about you - your height, weight, sex are relevant and don't forget to mention if you have incredibly long legs!
- Your budget - give your saddler an idea so he can bring a range of saddles in your price range.