Exercise Affects Saddle Fit

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?

Saddle Placement

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.



March Action Rider of the Month – Imogen Lawlor

Imogen Lawlor shares a story about her new horse, an Irish Hunter named Hermes, while out on a trail ride in England.

Imogen Lawlor riding Hermes before he decided to give them both a bath.


“My new horse, Hermes, is a bit silly – it took him awhile to figure out the automatic water feeders in his stable. The dogs figured it out right away, it puts him to shame! And every time we go out for a ride he is always thirsty and I make sure we stop at every stream for a drink.”

While out on a trail ride, they came to a large pond where Hermes usually drinks.

“He was really thirsty, even more than usual, as we had just been for a long gallop. We were winding down so I thought nothing of letting him stroll into the pond a little further!

“Without warning he decides it’s bath time for both of us and drops down into the water with no warning! My first reaction was relief. I was worried his legs had sunk in the mud – but it was just his cheekiness!

“Needless to say it was a prompt ride home to warm up after that!”