Archive for March, 2012

Dressage Saddle Fit Question

Question:

My dressage saddle appears to fit. But I feel out of balance ever since having it refitted to my new horse. What can be done? I know that it’s not just me.

Answer:

I had the same experience when I recently started leasing a new horse.   Saddle fit it more that fitting the pommel of the tree to the horse’s back. The new horse was slightly downhill, meaning his rump was higher.  While there was good contact throughout, the saddle was too high in the cantle. We adjusted the flock to make the panels softer for the back half of their length. Now, when I mount, my weight squishes down the back of the saddle slightly. It was better, but not perfect.  Then we looked at the girthing system. This particular saddle had point billets. We changed the point billets to standard billets. Now we have a perfect fit. The point billets were actually pulling down the front of the saddle.

When fitting a saddle, it is important to evaluate the entire saddle — not just the pommel. If you think being out of balance might be the case, try adding a little padding under the points of the tree. Something like a folded leg wrap  will do. If this fixes your problem, bring or send your saddle to your saddle fitter. Be sure to explain what you did and that you want panels softened — NOT to narrow the tree. A competent saddle fitter will be able to adjust flock smoothly and evenly. But your weight and the quality of the flock stuffing will determine how much it will squish down. This is not a science–it’s an art.  Just be certain that enough flock remains to keep the spring steel bars of the tree off the horse’s back.  Purchasing a saddle with flock stuffed panels rather than foam allows this sort of adjustment.

CAIR panels

Question:

I have a Bates Caprilli AP saddle with the CAIR panels that I need to replace with wool. I really like the saddle but my mare is downhill and I need the ability to flock my saddle up in the front for better fit. Can you provide an estimate for time and cost to accomplish this conversion?

Answer:

We have had many people ask us to remove the CAIR panels, but we have NEVER had anyone ask us to install them. Yes, we can replace with wool flock. The cost will be between $300 $325 and we will need to keep your saddle for a few days.