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How much is a Saddle Fitter?

In this article we will discuss all about Saddle Fitters and Saddle Fitting, and why they are so important in the equestrian community. This blog should help give you an incite into the what you need to look for when choosing a fitter for you and your horse.

We equestrians know how vital it is to make sure our ridden equines have a saddle which is fitted correctly. The only way to be absolutely certain of this is to enlist the help of a professional saddle fitter. If you have never had a saddle fitter, you may have lots of questions about them. Such as ‘How much is a saddle fitter?’ ‘How do you find a decent one?’ ‘What can I expect a saddle fitter to do?’ If you don’t know the answers to these questions. No need to panic, Team Saddle Bank are here to break it down, so you can be empowered to make an informed decision.

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 0345 030 4916 or email info@thesaddlebank.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

saddle fitting

What is the cost of a Saddle Fitting appointment?

Depending on your area, the cost of a saddle fitting appointment can vary; but average charges are between £40 – £90 for an independent (which means that the saddle fitter is not associated with a particular saddle manufacturer) saddle fitter. Some may have extra charges depending on travel distances.

 

What should you look for in a good Saddle Fitter?

Team Saddle Bank would like to urge everyone to do their due diligence when it comes to finding the perfect saddle fitter for you and your horse. There’s so much information available on the internet. Many saddle fitters have publicly-available customer testimonials to hear what people have to say about their services.

We strongly encourage that you only browse qualified saddle fitters to ensure you are getting the best advice. If you are not sure whether or not a saddle fitter has qualifications, most would be happy to answer any questions. So you can reach out to them directly to ask!

If you are looking to trial and purchase a completely new saddle from your fitter, be sure to check beforehand that they carry a wide range of saddles; if your saddle fitter is only able to show you a small selection you may not find what you need. This means you would have wasted your money and time with no saddle to show for it- not ideal!

Budget

Team Saddle Bank recommend you discuss your budget beforehand; you may have a non-negotiable amount to spend on a saddle. So if your saddle fitter only has models over this amount, you may not be able to find a good match. It’s great to have an idea in mind about the cut of the saddle. Perhaps even the colour or some more aesthetic considerations, but try not to worry too much about cosmetic details. Finding the saddle that fits your horse is the number one priority, (if you find one in the colour and style that you want this is even better!).

An unbiased but informed opinion and knowledge on different saddle brands is a huge advantage; horses are all unique, there is ‘no-one-size-fits-all’ for saddles- different saddle manufacturers have unique methods for making saddles. Which has an impact on the fit and the style, as well as the cost and the quality. A decent saddle fitter will recommend only what will fit your horse.  Without pushing you to buy a specific brand if it doesn’t work for you and your horse.

Templates

Saddle fitters should template your horse during every visit. Horses, like humans, are constantly changing shape, and it’s important to keep a record of this. Templates will help you to assess and analyse your horses shape over time.

If your saddle was fitted correctly last time, but the current template has changed, this may indicate your horses current saddle needs adjusting. A good saddle fitter will take the opportunity to assess your horses back whilst there is no saddle on it. This is to check for sensitive areas or abnormalities that may affect the horse’s way of going and ability to fit a saddle (as always, any good equine professional will put the horse’s welfare before any profit).

During your appointment

During your appointment your saddle fitter should want to see how the saddle fits. Both while the horse is standing (static) and while the horse is being exercised and ridden (dynamic). Making sure a saddle fits correctly, doesn’t slip, and is comfortable for the horse while being exercised is absolutely crucial. Which is why we here at The Saddle Bank want everyone to know how important the dynamic tests are.

We understand that some professional yards will have a lot of horses that need attending to. In the past clients have approached us to see upwards of 30 horses in a day! Stating that previously saddle fitters have spent a maximum of 10 minutes on each horse before moving on to the next. Any saddle fitter worth their salt knows that you cannot possibly give an accurate, thorough saddle fitting session in 10 minutes. This is just not how saddle fitting works.

saddle fitter

How long does a Saddle Fitting session take and what does the session include?

For those who are wishing to get an existing saddle checked by a saddle fitter, you should allow 45–60 minutes for a session of this type; the fitter will usually start with initial checks of the horse’s back. Ensuring that the horse is not lame or unable to continue the session. This will be followed by an assessment of the horse’s overall confirmation and way of going.

At this point, any history you are able to provide on the horse, and discussions around the horse’s exercise regime and disciplines which may make an impact on your choice of saddle should be reviewed. They will likely template the horse at this stage.

Then the saddle fitter will assess the saddle itself by checking the tree and stitching are sound. As well as examining the flocking to ensure there are no lumps, bumps, or gaps which need amending, and making changes to the saddle as necessary.

Next, they will want to check the fit of the saddle on the horse. Both in static and dynamic checks, and adjusting the saddle as necessary after each stage. Crucially checking that the saddle still fits appropriately with a rider on board. So that there is no movement and that the weight is being distributed across the horse’s back adequately.

flocking

What if I don’t have a saddle yet and want to buy a new one?

If you are intending to buy a new saddle, this type of fitting session can take between 11/2  hours to 3 hours. Depending on how easy the horse is to fit, and how many saddles need to be trialled. As we mentioned earlier, horses are all completely unique and some are considerably more difficult to fit than others.

Having templated and assessed the horse without a saddle on, the saddle fitter will have a good idea about which saddles are going to be a good potential fit from their collection. They may want to try on between 10 to 15 saddles statically. They can then narrow down the choices to around 3 to 4 saddles. These saddles will be then tried on during a dynamic fitting, normally with the rider. The fitter will check and make adjustments to flocking and gullet bars as necessary once the final saddle is chosen, to ensure it fits as perfect as can be for the horse.

 

You get what you pay for!

Though some saddle fitters may differ in prices that they charge. Ultimately there is an exact science to fitting a saddle to a horse. You are paying a specialist not only for their time but for their expertise. It may have taken them years to perfect their art. Saddle fitting is one of those areas of horse keeping where you really do get what you pay for. The service you receive will be in direct correlation with the amount that you pay. For most equestrians a saddle is one of the most essential pieces of tack that you will purchase for your horse. A good saddle fitter will find you the best fit to make your riding experience as enjoyable as possible. As well as being safe and comfortable for our equine friends.

How do I find a saddle fitter?

Now you know what to look for in a good saddle fitter, where can you find one? That’s a great question and luckily The Saddle Bank has you covered! We have a list of fitters approved by us on our fitter page which you can find on the link here.

 

If you are fortunate enough to live in the Peterborough, East Northamptonshire, or South Lincolnshire areas you can even book a fitting directly with us at The Saddle Bank here.

Saddle Fitting

Learn more about how saddles should fit….

If you are a horse owner or rider and would like to learn more about saddle fitting. As well as how the saddle can impact your horses performance and welfare, click on the link below:

Thank you!

Thank you for reading this article! We hope you found it useful!
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The Saddle Bank Team x

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