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How To Fit A Saddle To A Young Pony

Hi, I'm Ken Lyndon-Dykes from Saddleworld. I've been asked to come and check a pony called Rio and it's Jane’s daughter, Chloe, who rides this pony. I've been told it's been very difficult to fit. So let's have a look to see what we think.

Hi Jane, looking very pink today. How old is Rio?
‘Shes 11’

I do a lot of ponies and they often are very hard to fit, how tall would you say she was?

When people ring up and say the got a 12.2 Pony that is hard to fit, most saddle fitters run to the back of the room, so they just have to do it, very often this is the case.

What tends to happen is you have saddles that either move forward or to the side because many 12.2’s are a little carrot like, they're often wider at the back than they are at the front. So when you come to do a downward transition the saddles move.

So let's just quickly have a look. First of all, you have a decent wither.
I'm just checking the reverse of the spine, making sure we don't have any really bad physical problems here. Slight tenderness there but nothing of any consequence really.

Let's see what we have here. Chloe is growing, how old is she now?
‘She's 11. She’s almost outgrowing the first saddle, but we’ve got problems with her and the saddle with the pony.’

Now what problems have you had with the pony?
‘With saddle coming up the neck.’

Well, when I look at a pony like this I know for sure, I'm going to need a thing called point strap and probably a balance strap as well.

So let's have a look at your saddle and see what you got.
Right, we have a synthetic saddle, which does have a point strap and does have a balance strap.

So let's just pop it on and see where we get to. Now what we want to have to happen here is the angle here should be the same on the saddle as it is on the horse, if that's the dominant shoulder that should be the angle.

We should have room each side of the spine and we should have clearance through here. The saddle should sit in balance. It should fit evenly all the way through and shouldn't come beyond the 18th rib.

This fulfils most of those requirements except I don't like it too much at the front.

I would not be using a light synthetic saddle on this horse I would want something which has got a better framework. You already have got the point strap which will stop the saddle moving forward but that will automatically tip it.

This should hold it true. But I know for a long experience it probably won't, in this particular case and this saddle, there's nothing wrong with it at all, but it’s just not the right saddle for this particular horse.

I want something made of leather with a different sort of tree and want it to fit more like that.

With a static fit like this, it’s all very well, but you can't really tell what's going on until you see the pony ridden on both reins. On the right rein, the saddle should sit out to left and on the left, the Saddle should sit out to the right. If you go straight it should straighten up within five strides and then on downward transitions, it shouldn't come forward and I can just see that this is going to. When you land the saddle will shoot forward.

Pro lites can help. The pro lite will take some of the pressure and even out the pressure. It's just that a pony, and I imagine this is an active little pony, will probably throw that very very light saddle all over the place.

So I'm afraid although that it’s not a terrible fit, it is not a saddle I would choose for this particular horse.

Right Jane, well, what we should do, now I've seen the pony I know exactly what the score is. I will take some templates. So I know precisely what to bring up and I’ll come back with some saddles I regard as suitable.

We'll ride on the old saddle and see how much it moves and then we will ride on other alternatives and see how we get on, but I know that I can fix this problem, but it won't be with a synthetic saddle.

‘That would be brilliant. Yes, I would be happy to do that.’