As a horse owner and rider, your horses welfare is your responsibility. Being able to recognise signs in your horse that your saddle doesn’t fit, or is causing him/her pain is crucial to a happy, healthy horse.
Horses are not naturally disobedient, or aggressive. They are generally very cooperative provided two key elements are met. Firstly they need to understand what you are asking them to do, and secondly they need to be comfortable, and free from pain/restriction to be able to carry out what you are asking to do.
Many problems and behavioural issues are the result of a poor fitting saddle.
However it does not have to be that way. You can learn how to identify signs of a poor fitting saddle, and know when its time to call in a professional qualified saddle fitter to have a good look at your saddle and horse for you.
Does your horse display any of the following signs:
- Avoidance behaviours – trying to walk away when being tacked up
- Ears back/head shaking when saddle comes close by
- Excessive tail swishing both in the stable and when ridden
- Pawing the ground
- Threatening to bite you when you come close with the saddle
- Girthy behaviour – negative behaviour when doing up the girth
- Reluctant to go forwards when being rider
- Stopping at fences
- Short strides
- Hollowing the back and not working in an outline
- Tripping / stumbling
- Unable to canter on the right leg/irregular gaits
If your horse displays any of the above signs you should get your saddle fitter out to assess the fit of your saddle.