Your saddle is a vital piece of equipment for you and your horse, and the fit should be checked on a regular basis. Young horses, in particular, should be regularly monitored. The investment in a well fitting saddle will help your horses' development during those important early years.

Changes in condition, illness, injury or a new stage of training are a few of the factors that can influence the fit of a saddle. Any signs of resistance during work or unwillingness to be saddled can be an indication that something is wrong.

Saddle fitting is very complex and should always be carried out by a knowledgeable and trained fitter. The tips below can be used as a short guide to establishing if a check could be necessary.

What to look for:

The saddle should sit level on the horses' back and the panels should sit evenly without bridging. Saddles that tip forward or tilt backwards when placed on the horse indicate that the fit needs to be checked. Wool flocked panels should be equally stuffed (no lumps or dips) and not too hard.

There should be adequate clearance in the wither area.

The gullet should be a minimum of 7.5-8cms wide and the same width from pommel to cantle.

Not only should the saddle be checked but also the equipment used with it...

Girths should always be kept clean, in good condition, and be an anatomical shape to avoid pressure and friction in the sensitive elbow area. Avoid using a girth with too much elastic. Any elastic used should be strong and have several layers. With soft elastic, it is sometimes difficult to tell how much you are tightening the girth and this can lead to over girthing.