PART ONE. Empower yourself…
By Nicole from Natural Horseman Saddles
Somehow, it’s ingrained in us! We need a saddle expert to get things right. Just like we need a doctor (or vet in case of our horses) to prescribe medicine, a teacher to give instructions, a plumber to fix the clogged sink and the hairdresser to cut and color our hair (learned that one the hard way). You name it there’s an expert for it! Whilst this is not a bad thing, most of the time, self empowerment is not only possible but preferable.
As a customer service manager at Natural Horseman Saddles, I stopped counting how many times I’ve heard our well-intentioned customers, determined to get things perfect for their horses, say :
“Don’t you have a saddle fitter who could come out to my barn?“
“I am so scared I am going to get this wrong“
Or “I am really no good with saddles and wouldn’t feel comfortable fitting my horse myself. ”
We offer FREE SADDLE FIT EVALUATIONS to fit and assess your horse/saddle. This online form requires a few things like images and measurements. It’s simple; however, for some, it’s downright scary!
Have faith! You are not alone…
We are there to help every step of the way.
But… You will need to play a role, and we know you’ll be great at it!
With self-empowerment, it pays to remember a few things.
A) Not every professional is as good as they seem. The person we get to help may or may not help as much as we’d hoped.
B) No one knows your horses better than you do, and therefore you’re the best person to judge if they are happy and comfortable or not.
C) If you care enough and are interested in educating yourself, you can accomplish WAY more than you think.
Let’s use the above example of the clogged sink. I have a friend who can take apart and clean a clogged sink in the same time it would take for me to call the plumber. All because she once decided she was sick of needing an (often unreliable) professional. She learned to do it herself!
I am not saying she never had a few leaks or panicked moments, but with some practice, she figured out what was important.
The result was no doubt better than what a plumber would consider as “cleaned”.
Why better? Because being her OWN sink, she cared more that it would work well. And by now, she spots the signs that tell her the spout is closing up again. She can react BEFORE she has a flooded bathroom.
I am sorry for this weird excursion into plumbing, but it seems like a perfectly good parallel to saddle fitting.
With saddle fit, we often prefer to leave it to a professional. That is ok if you can find one that you can rely on, in terms of saddle fitting knowledge, horse comfort and after sales care…
The sale of their most expensive saddle can cloud their judgement, after all, that is how they make their income.
It can be hard to see past those dollar signs…
But what a letdown, right?
Our horse is frustrated and in pain, we are back at square one (just with even less money in our bank accounts than before) and still none the wiser.
Once I have given our customers enough encouragement to TRY our FREE Saddle Fit Evaluation and broaden their knowledge, it’s pretty eye-opening to most. The fact you can check on your own saddle fit – Amazing!
With us waiting in the wings to help (free of charge), you will be able to react when your horse shows signals of not being 100% happy (like a shorter stride or higher neck).
You can, at any moment, adjust your saddle fit when you notice your horse changes body shape or posture. You can understand what changes you need to make when using your saddle on other horses! The list goes on…
Quicker. Better. Cheaper! And all thanks to you.
We are not saying you don’t need a vet, bodyworker or other professional to look at your horses ever again. You definitely do! Especially if your horse has traveled under ill-fitting saddles in the past and might have sore and underdeveloped muscles. You don’t stop going to the dentist once they fix the hole in your teeth – you need those check ups!
We of course recommend you get professional help to relax your horse. Making sure there is no physical blockage and learning exercises that improve your horse’s posture and stride are just good horsemanship.
The point I am making is, when you invest in worthy tools and self education, you empower yourself! That helps create a happy and healthy horse.
Oh, and did we mention saving money??? We did, but worth mentioning again… Repeated treatments and vet bills add up. You possibly have already learned the hard way. Time to change all that. Start by always listening to your horse and trusting what they tell you about if they feel good. You know when your horse is worried, relaxed, playful or hungry (all the time). You are the best judge to be able to assess their attitude towards their tack. Deeply observe their opinions about saddling, cinching/girthing, mounting and riding – now you are aware of it, you’ll be surprised how much your horse is telling you.
The two of you are a team with a special connection. You can trust each other much more than anyone else out there – so trust in that. Always.
We will have a PART TWO to this blog post that will show you the tips and tricks to doing a successful Saddle Fit Evaluation… Stay tuned! Subscribe to our Saddle Fit Science blog and be sure not to miss it…