This is a question we have been asked multiple times, so we decided to put our best tips into a useful article –
There is not a single correct answer on how to keep a saddle balanced between saddle fittings as it may be difficult for you to know exactly where the problem is coming from, for example, the left or right panel might have become compressed. To correct this issue, we recommend the use of shims. You can add a shim under the compressed panel on one side. If both panels in front become compressed add a shim under both front panels.
If the wool becomes compressed in both rear panels add a shim under each rear panel. You can use a Thinline Pad to shim the saddle or a Mattes Pad however, please keep in mind – if you are using a Mattes Sheepskin Pad the tree must be one half size larger than the horse requires, in order to accommodate the pad.
Out top tip for maintaining the balance of your saddles between fitting is to keep a close eye on the condition of the flocking, this can have a major effect on the balance of your saddles:
- ALL wool stuffed saddles require reflocking annually as the stuffing settles. Like in bed pillows, the stuffing in saddle panels moves, compresses, and yields to continuous pressure. Reflocking the panels restores balance, symmetry, proper fit, and comfort for horse and rider.
Following are a few of the common symptoms of a saddle in need of reflocking:
- The saddle falling to one side may be the result of uneven flocking.
- The rider tilting forward may be the result of compression of the flocking in the front of the panels.
- The rider tilting backward may be the result of compression of the flocking in the rear of the panels.
- Looking at the underside of the saddle, you should be able to run the palm of your hand evenly down each panel that sits against the horse and not fall into any hollows.
Hopefully, our tips above can give you a guide on the main points to look out for with regards to maintaining proper balance with your saddle between fittings. Please remember that these can vary greatly dependent on the horse, rider and of course individual saddles.
If you have any questions, or would like an expert opinion of the fit of your current saddle, we would be happy to take a look for you through our Online Saddle Fitting Consultation Service.