With our wealth of PR & marketing experience working with global saddlery brands, our Equestrian PR Team share 12 expert tips and advice to help you find the perfect saddle for your horse.
Physio Checks First
It is worth you and your horse having a physio check before trying out saddles. After all, if your or your horse’s alignment is out, this can cause asymmetry, which won’t be the best start to fitting a new saddle. Any past or present issues are valuable information for any saddle fitter, who can only fit to what they see on the day.
Set A Budget
Before you get carried away, set a budget for buying your perfect saddle. You may find that a new saddle is out of your budget, but there are some fabulous second-hand saddlers and saddle stores now, including The Saddle Bank, which carries many of the most popular saddle brands you can browse easily online.
Look At Saddle Brand History
Look into the saddle brand’s history, whether you are buying second-hand or brand new. New saddle brands crop up and can disappear as quickly, leaving you with a saddle that could be difficult for another saddler to adjust or considerably decrease in value and appeal on resale.
There’s no point in finding the perfect saddle if the saddle company’s customer service is less than perfect. Your horse’s saddle is likely to be one of the most expensive items you will purchase for your horse, so their customer service and reputation must be exceptional. Find out more about the company, how many saddle fitters they have in the UK, and how often they visit your area. It’s easy to sell you an expensive saddle, but if they are never available to come and check your saddle, what is the point? Reach out to them by phone before booking an appointment online.
Trainer Opinions Count
If you are unsure which saddle brand is your perfect saddle, it is worth asking those professionals whose opinions you trust and value. Your trainer will know you and your horse well and may be able to suggest brands that you perhaps hadn’t thought of previously.
Read online reviews. Any brand will have a small handful of negative reviews but if there are some pretty bad reviews and no response from the brand, veer wide and clear from them. If they can’t be bothered to address their customer experience online, then the likelihood is you’ll receive the same experience behind closed doors.
Try A Few Saddles To Find The Perfect Saddle
It is worth trying a few different saddle brands and models when looking for your saddle. By trying other saddles out, you will get a feel for what you and your horse like and don’t like. This may be difficult if you don’t know the horse well or you have a new horse. However, an experienced rider and saddle fitter should be able to help guide you.
Trail It For The Purpose Intended
If you are looking for a dressage saddle but plan to do some small cross poles occasionally or a jump saddle you want to event in, then make sure when you try the saddle that you use it for the intended purpose. Choose a school or set up with a reliable surface so you can focus on how you and your horse feel without any external factors impacting your trial.
Matching the rider and horse with the right saddle can be challenging for saddle fitters if, for example, you have a small rider and a big horse. Physical horse and rider extremes can mean that you may have to slightly compromise on the saddle of your dreams to find the perfect saddle for you and your horse.
What Training Does The Saddle Fitter Have?
Always ask the saddler fitter before they come out what training and experience they have with this brand. If they have only received a few weeks of training on the brand and are new to fitting, you may want to ask for someone with more experience to help fit your horse. Every saddle brand is different, so it’s essential that the saddle fitter coming to you is familiar with and experienced in fitting that brand of saddle.
One Saddle For All Or Discipline Specific?
It’s essential to decide which type of saddle will suit your needs. A GP saddle could be a good compromise if you want to do a bit of everything but can’t afford a jump and dressage saddle.
Listen To Your Horse
Ultimately when trying out saddles to find your perfect saddle, listen to your horse; they will soon tell you if they feel comfortable or not by their way of going.