What are adjustable saddles?
What are adjustable saddles?
As equestrian sports have evolved, so too have the tools and equipment used by riders. One such innovation is the adjustable gullet saddle, which offers an easy solution for correcting the width fitting in the saddle. In this article we will explore what adjustable gullet saddles are, who should use them, where to find them, and how to trial them. We will also discuss popular brands such as Wintec, Bates, GFS Monarch, Kent and Masters, and Thorowgood.
If you are still a bit confused about which saddle or any saddle related product is best for you why not get in touch with our friendly customer support team. Via phone on 01733 301 488 or email email@example.com. Our lovely team are always happy to help as much as they can and provide you with the information you need to make the best decision for you and your horse.
What is an adjustable saddle?
An adjustable gullet saddle is a type of saddle that easily allows the width of the saddle to be altered to accommodate the horses changing width through muscle development or atrophy. The gullet channel refers to the space between the panels of the saddle that sits over the horse's spine. With adjustable saddles the headplate bar is removed and replaced with an alternative size. By adjusting the gullet width, riders can ensure a better fit for their horses, promoting comfort and freedom of movement.
Traditionally, saddles were made with fixed gullets or headplates, limiting their suitability for horses over a longer period of time. However, adjustable gullet saddles revolutionized the industry by offering a solution to this problem. These saddles typically feature an interchangeable gullet plate system that allows the width of the gullet to be altered according to their horse's needs.
Why use an adjustable saddle?
More and more people are understanding how frequently horses can change shape, drop condition, gain weight etc. This impacts the fit on their saddle. Therefore, people are opting for adjustable saddles to mitigate financial loss of a saddle no longer fitting, and discomfort in their horse by continuing to use a saddle that is too narrow or too wide. An adjustable saddle eliminates the width issue when it comes to fitting a saddle, which is something that can change rapidly with some horses, particularly those who drop weight in winter, or fill out on the green spring grass.
Who is an adjustable saddle for?
An adjustable gullet saddle can work for almost anyone provided they get the correct model for their horse. Some people assume that because it is adjustable it means it can be made to fit their horse. However, that is not the case. You need to ensure you get the correct tree type, panel type and girthing option for your horse. The width is just one small factor to deal with. Here at The Saddle Bank we specialise in adjustable saddles and our saddle experts are on hand to guide you. If you would like some help with which saddle may work best for your horse, why not get in touch with our team on 01733 301 488 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with photos of your horse and your requirements and our team will gladly help.
Where to buy an adjustable gullet saddle
You can purchase an adjustable saddle through your local qualified saddle fitter (provided they stock them), or through an online retailer such as The Saddle Bank. At The Saddle Bank we have no brand bias, but extensive knowledge across the brands so we can help you decide what is right for you and your horse. All saddles purchased from The Saddle Bank come with a 5 day UK trial so you can arrange an appointment with a local fitter to have it checked during the trial.
When purchasing an adjustable saddle we would always recommend taking a couple of spare gullet bars so you can alter the width during the trial to get the correct fit. The size difference between each gullet bar is just a few millimeters. However, that can make all the difference to your horse. Therefore, guessing your horses width could leave you with the wrong size.
How much is an adjustable saddle?
Adjustable gullet saddles vary in price depending on the brand and material the saddle is made from. Some brands such as Wintec and Thorowgood offer great entry level saddles which are affordable for most riders. They are made from a synthetic material which makes them lightweight and cheaper to produce.
If you have a slightly higher budget, you may look at brands such as Kent and Masters, Monarch, Cavaletti or Arena. These offer a fantastic range of leather saddles all featuring adjustable gullets.
If you are looking for something more premium but still want the adjustable gullet feature, Fairfax, Bates and GFS would be ideal brands for you.
Do all adjustable saddles take the same gullet bar?
No they don't. Each brand family has its own gullet system and within those brand families there can be different types of gullet bars so its really important to check which bar your saddle takes.
Thorowgood, Kent and Master and Fairfax
Wintec, Arena and Bates
GFS and Monarch
Cavaletti and Loxley
Different types of adjustable saddles
The most common adjustable saddle is where the gullet is changeable. An adjustable gullet saddle is where the metal plate which is located at the head of the tree can be removed, adjusted and replaced with a different size. This alters the width of the saddle. A fixed tree is wooden and the head of the tree has metal plates riveted in place. Trying to adjust a non-adjustable saddle can do a lot of damage, such as twisting or even breaking the tree, making it unusable.
Do you have an adjustable gullet saddle in any of the following brands?
- John Whitaker
- Kent and Masters
- Loxley Adjustable Gullet Bar by Bliss of London
If so, we sell the gullet bars which you can change yourself! If you prefer for us to do this for you at the time of ordering your saddle, we can do this for you for a small fee to cover the time it takes to swap the bar over.
To get yourself a new gullet bar check out this link!
What size gullet bar do you need?
If you don’t have an adjustable gullet saddle, don’t panic! This doesn’t mean your saddle is not adjustable. Some saddles are adjustable; however, they aren't ones that can be adjusted from the comfort of your home. Our recommendation is to send your saddle back to the manufacturer, because the brand company are the specialists.
If you have any of the following saddles;
A brand recommended saddle fitter or the manufacturer will need to adjust your saddle.
- The Saddle Company
- Some Equipe's (if you're unsure if yours can be altered ask our super friendly team!)
If you are thinking about investing in an adjustable saddle, you can see more detail on the adjustable saddle brands in one of our previous blogs by clicking here
Are you still unsure about which saddle would suit you best? You can talk to our team direct and we will help you find the best one for you and your steed! We sell over 1200 saddles, so check out the adjustable saddles we have to offer here!
Saddle fitting is a something we are really passionate about. Here at The Saddle Bank we see too often saddles which fit the horses very poorly. We feel it is something that is overlooked a lot. In fact, we have designed a course so that horse owners can get more knowledge on the wide world that is saddle fitting. The Recognising Saddle Fit Issues course gives our customers knowledge so that they can assess their own saddles. The course gives you long-lasting knowledge which can help in assessing the fit of your saddles, and explain what to look for if you decide to part-exchange! To enhance your equestrian knowledge further, check out our online academy courses here.