Research continues on the topic of saddle fit. A recent article from The Horse about how muscles are effected by exercise is very informative. It makes the point that as you work a muscle, in this case the back muscle of the horse, it will change shape – it swells. The question is – will your saddle accommodate this change of muscle shape?
The article goes on to discuss that the rider’s ability has an impact on how your horse’s back moves, or doesn’t move. It suggests that the better you ride; you will sit more quietly and influence your horse to move forward freely, using and rounding his back. This will encourage the horse to stretch through the back and develop his top line, thus making him stronger to carry you, the rider. So working on your riding position, albeit a lifelong pursuit is well worth the effort!
It is also important to continue to check the fit of your saddle as you ride, work and develop the musculature of your horse. A poor fitting saddle will inhibit movement, resulting in a lack of muscle development. Points to continually check are wither clearance of your saddle and saddle pad and be sure saddle does not tip forward and back causing pressure on certain areas. Keep in mind that a saddle that fits while the horse is standing still, might not work when they are in motion.