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Checking the SMART™ Saddle Fit

The SMART™ saddle is fitted closer to the horses back than you may be familiar with as there is no need for the traditional clearance rules; the flexible nature of the SMART™ saddle design means you are aiming for close, even contact around the back, with no pressure points.

The “walking finger test”

A simple saddle fitting check to be done with the rider mounted, the girth tightened and the horse walking forwards.

At halt, with the rider sitting in a normal position, you should be able to push one finger knuckle (without a glove on!) under the front of the pommel, between the wither and the saddle cloth. It may feel a little tight at halt, but as the horse walks forwards, the base panels of the saddle will lift with the shoulders and back muscles and the whole saddle will ride a little higher.

SMART Saddle Fit

As the horse walks forwards, you should feel this lightening of the pressure on your finger, giving the sensation that your knuckle is held snugly in place without being tightly squeezed. If you cannot feel this lightening of pressure and your knuckle is uncomfortable, then the fit is too tight and it is best to speak with your SMART Advisor regarding the fit and balance of your saddle.

SMART Saddle Fit

If you have the saddle fitted too high or loose on the back, there may be a loss of stability as the saddle will not be engaging correctly with the back and flexing with the horses’ movement.

Repeat this check after a short period of work as the saddle may open and drop a little. This is an ongoing check that should be carried out at each ride to monitor changes and adjustments made as necessary.

SMART Saddle Fit

There is always help and advice on hand - our Home Consultation Service is available for routine checks as well as help with fitting to different horses or riders. You can either contact your SMART Advisor directly or get in touch with SMART Saddles’ head office by phone: 01909 807870 or email:  smart@smartsaddles.com and we will be happy to assist you.