Saddle services: Having a saddle that not only fits your horse correctly but also fits you and enables you to do the activity you want to do is hugely important. Many saddles are far too tight and/or low on the horse which impedes its ability to move freely. Imagine you are wearing something that hurts when you want to run or jump - will this encourage you to do your best? Or will it stop you from performing to your ability? And then you may be hit for protesting about the pain you are in! This happens more than you may think and a saddle fitting visit will assist you to ensure that your horse can give you as much as it can.
The 90 minute visit starts with a question session for the rider regarding the horse history, present duties, age, etc. Moving on to the rider - I assess body size, leg length, any disabilities, riding requirements. Then the horse gets a full hands-on assessement of the body concentrating of the saddle and girth area, checking out the spine and focusing on any area where the horse shows discomfort. Most horses love this as it is the equivalent of a 15 minute massage for them and I have had many who drift off to sleep!
After this then it is a check of the saddle, the tree, the stirrup bars, girth straps, and the important underside of the saddle where it fits to the horse. Tree width over spine, gullet width over the shoulder, state of the flocking - smooth or knobbled - synthetic or wool - old or new.
Finally the whole lot come together when the horse is tacked up and the rider added to the equation. No numnahs or other pads. Just the saddle so I get a true picture of fit. A ridden assessment then occurs so I can get a complete picture of the combination of horse/saddle/rider.