master saddlers
Master Saddler and Harness Maker Registered Qualified Saddle Fitter

Saddle Fitting

Helen is a Society of Master Saddlers Registered Qualified Saddle Fitter with over 10 years experience and since 2014 has also been an assessor for the SMS Qualified Saddle Fitting Assessment. Having your saddle fitted is important for both you and your horse, whether you are dreaming of competing at Badminton Horse Trials, Hickstead, HOYS or just wanting to enjoy your horse at home and out hacking. The saddle must fit your horse to allow freedom of movement, comfort and to let the horse fulfil it's potential. It is just as important for the saddle to fit the rider. If the saddle is too large/small for the rider, then they will not be comfortable, effective or secure in the saddle. To ensure the best fit for horse and rider, Helen works closely with a number of trainers, vets, osteopaths and other equestrian specialists.

Booking an appointment

  • £40 per horse for fitting plus £1 per mile for travelling (charged in one direction only and split if seeing more than one customer).
  • Due to demand, appointment lead time can often be around 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Areas are grouped on days for Saddle Fitting appointments.
  • Please phone 07782 310649 to book a saddle fitting appointment and discuss your requirements.
  • A range of new saddles are kept in stock, however it is not possible to stock a saddle which will fit every horse. We endeavour to bring a carefully selected range of saddles to the saddle fitting for you to try.

Follow Up Appointments

  • £35 per horse for fitting plus £1 per mile for travelling (charged in one direction only and split if seeing more than one customer).
  • It is good practice to regularly monitor the fit of your saddle and check for any signs of discomfort from your horse.
  • Saddles should be check every 6-9 months depending upon the amount of work the horse is doing; as horses change shape with work and age.
  • When buying a new saddle, it should be checked in 8-12 weeks after being fitted (depending upon the horse’s workload) – this follow up is including in the initial saddle fitting charge when you purchase a saddle from HR Saddlery, you will just pay the travel expenses. Any flocking adjustments on a new saddle purchased from HR Saddlery, that may be required at this follow up visit are also included in the initial saddle fitting charge.
  • Please only use the saddle on the horse to which it was fitted, as using it on another horse can considerably alters it’s shape and lead to problems.

Saddle Fitting Process

  • Take down a number of details, including age, breed, height and any conformational features that may affect the saddle fitting.
  • Assess horse while stood square.
  • Take a template of the horses back.
  • Assess the horse’s existing saddle or short list new saddles while stood square.
  • Assess the horse under saddle. While also allowing the rider to try new saddles for their comfort.
  • Reassess the horses back after ridden work.
  • Please allow 1 – 1 ½ hours for the saddle fitting process.
  • If you have a young horse or one coming back in to work following injury/rehabilitation and would like the saddle fitted prior to the horse being broken in/ridden again, then obviously some of these processes won’t be able to be done. In this situation the initial steps are followed and if possible the horse is seen under saddle on the lunge. Once the horse is in ridden work it is important that the saddle is reassessed with the rider on. As the horse continues its education the saddle will need to be reassessed a number of times as the horse will change shape a lot. It is not unusual for a young horse to grow out of it’s first, and even second, saddle once it starts to mature with work. Helen often recommends fitting a synthetic saddle with adjustable gullet plate for a young horse while it matures.

Requirements for the Fitting

  • Riding hat up to the present safety standard and suitable boots for riding in. For insurance purposes without these I will be unable to allow you to get on the horse for the saddle fitting process.
  • The rider or if the horse is shared then preferably both riders should be present.
  • The horse should be dry and clean. Which allows the marks left on the horses back after riding to be observed as an indication of bearing surface or movement.
  • Hard flat area to stand the horse up for assessment.
  • An arena or flat safe area to ride the horse.
  • If the saddle is going to be used for jumping, then a couple of jumps are required.
  • If you do not have suitable facilities for the saddle fitting then we can arrange to meet at a local yard or riding centre. Alternatively we can arrange to meet at an indoor arena five minutes from HR Saddlery.

Second Hand Saddles

  • Purchasing a saddle is a big decision and therefore requires careful consideration – fit, cost and comfort all need to be balanced.
  • Small stock of second hand leather saddles are held, but due to the popularity of the internet most people now sell second hand saddles on line.
  • HR Saddlery do not deal in second hand synthetic saddles.
  • All second hand leather saddles sold by HR Saddlery are checked for safety and necessary repairs are carried out before they are sold. Therefore the price of these second hand leather saddles usually starts around the £500.
  • If you wish to source a small (two or three) selection of second hand saddles and then book a saddle fitting appointment for Helen to assess their fit then this can be arranged at the standard saddle fitting cost. These saddles would be assessed both for the fit and also for safety and any necessary work advised on.
  • Selected second hand saddles taken to sell on a 25% commission basis.

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