Welcome to SaddleHands! Independent Saddle Fitting for objective evaluations and recommendations
Welcome to SaddleHands
You might be here because you are curious about saddle fit for your horse. SaddleHands serves Colorado and beyond for objective evaluations of your current saddle or for impartial recommendations for a future saddle.
SaddleHands maintains its objectivity because we do not sell or represent any saddle companies. We work on most saddles to adjust wool, completely reflock or, for Western saddles, develop a padding solution that will enhance the comfort and performance for horses and riders.
How Often Should You Check Your Saddle Fit?
Nationally recognized veterinarians who specialize in saddle fit and the horse’s back agree that our saddles should be evaluated about every six months. For horses that have the same level of work day in and day out, that is fine. However, I have just returned from three appointments that showed need for a substantial change in padding (for a Western saddle), and flocking (for English saddles). Trainers were working with all three riders and did not recognize the changes in the horses or that the saddles no longer fit. In the case of the English saddles, the last check was three months ago. Training was ramped up considerably, and these horses’ backs changed dramatically. The need for change in the Western saddle’s padding was a recent change of boarding location.
Any time something changes with training, feeding, location, health or soundness, whether it is an improvement or a setback, anticipate that there will be a change in how your horse’s saddle fits. If the saddle fit is left behind, the horse will not progress as you may want and there may be damaging pressure points.
I was struggling with a lack of impulsion with my barrel-shaped Connemara pony. Someone suggested that perhaps his saddle did not fit. Around the same time, a chiropractic veterinarian diagnosed some soreness on his back. Ellen quickly identified that while the saddle was a “wide,” the twist was too narrow. She found a new saddle for him that fits beautifully. A follow-up visit with the chiropractor, after wearing the new saddle for 6 months, revealed no soreness anywhere. And the best part: now my pony will willingly move forward. I can’t thank Ellen enough for all her help; it made all the difference for us.
Check out my saddle fitting related articles:
“A Hands-On Approach to Saddle Fit” in John Lyons Perfect Horse Magazine, April 2008
“Saddlefit for Women” in Equine Wellness Magazine, May/June 2008
“If the Saddle Fits” in Equine Wellness Magazine, November/December 2011
Please note fee increase effective June 2019: $120/horse for saddle(s) evaluation and recommendations. No change in mileage charges.