Traditionally, saddles are fitted to horses as they stand unmoving. That’s great if you’re saddling a wooden rocking horse!… but what should be required to fit living, breathing animal in motion?
WHAT HAPPENS UNDER A SADDLE WHEN THE HORSE IS MOVING
A horse’s back in motion is a totally different set of shapes compared to when it’s stationary. When the horse engages itself to travel, a lot happens. In the region occupied by the saddle carrying a rider, shoulders must bulge alternatively under the front of the saddle to facilitate front leg function, the abdomen contracts and lifts as the back broadens and elevates, the ribcage expands and flexes and the spine snakes. The back rocks and rolls with each step in sync as hind legs swing underneath the trunk to propel the whole package across the ground.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A HORSE MOVES UNDER AN ILL-FITTING SADDLE
When forced to carry riders in saddles that don’t accommodate the horse’s expanding body, consequences are suffered. Of course, the horse won’t enjoy travelling, but rider experience is compromised, too. Short choppy strides, hollowed backs, stiff necks and elevated heads are typical signs that a saddle isn’t fitting well…but there are many more. Often, people (including many equine professionals) don’t recognize whether their saddles are fitting properly. We are on a mission to heighten awareness of the signs that give horse owners the keys to understanding this and knowledge about what to do to make things better if necessary.
HOW MUCH DOES YOUR HORSE’S BACK MOVE IN MOTION?
Here’s something you can do at home… Try a tummy tickle (as shown in the first video) and notice how much ‘lift’ your horses back has. If your horse’s abdominal, trunk and back structure is strong, it should be able to lift to an almost straight line between the top of the croup and the top of the wither. How much strength is there? Would your saddle’s sloping underside angles welcome the lifted, expanding back? Or would it restrict it? Restriction weakens a horse’s back and generates a host of other problems in a horse’s body.
HOW OUR SADDLES TICK YOUR HORSES BOXES
We’d love to know your thoughts on this. At Natural Horseman Saddles we are committed to making the comfort of horses our priority. It’s also key to your ultimate riding comfort! Our saddles are built with extra room underneath. They incorporate an “interface” that performs as a dynamic, auto-adjusting cushion between the underside of the saddle and the body of the horse. This allows for lift, expansion, growth and rehabilitation of top-line muscles and shoulders. By incorporating tapered foam ‘shims’ into the equation, we’re able to properly balance the saddle, lift the weight off the working shoulders and support the therapeutic recovery of optimum performance. This is of tremendous benefit to horses with anomalies in conformation or damaged posture due to previously being forced to carry ill-fitting saddles.
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
If you’d like to know more about our saddles, how they work, our principles, and see our Western and English saddle models – simply click here