Too Narrow or Too Wide?


People often assume that a saddle is too narrow when it's snug at the top of the shoulder. A saddle actually can be too small or too wide and exhibit the same signs, but there are more clues to look for. It's a very common issue...people go wider and wider and wider and still have the same problems. You can go super wide and it will still pinch at the top if the angles of the shoulder and tree bar do not match.  A saddle can get so very wide that the rear picks up because the front drops down, which we call the Stinkbug effect.

The placement of the saddle is important. Ours are designed to sit just over the rear of the scapula, and the flare in front is shaped to allow the scapula to glide underneath easily, while keeping the saddle stable and balanced. Too far back and it will pinch the top of the shoulders and tilt down in front. It should sit level for the rider.

Too narrow of a tree generally perches on top of a horse and does not sit down on the back. Generally if the saddle is too narrow, the entire front of the saddle is tight, not just the top, and it can also appear to be higher in the front.  The picture shows a saddle too small for the horse... it is perched and the angle is slightly too steep.  A pad will only make it higher up off the back.  (Think a man with a little tiny hat on his head!)

A too wide saddle falls down in front and will pinch the shoulders. Look for how the saddle sits on the back, and if it is lower in the front.  Make sure the saddle is placed properly. (Think a boy with a man's Stetson on his head!)

The pad will affect the fit of any saddle, depending on the thickness, it can lift the saddle and change where the saddle rests. Saddles should always be assessed for fit with a pad before deciding if it fits or not. What seems tight without a pad can be fine with one.  We make the Perf-Eq Fit Pad with this in mind, so the fit can be fine tuned in the pad.  A good pad will lift the saddle in front by a bit(see Saddle Fit Pictoral).

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