Poll Recap: Saddle Fit

Of the 1,139 individuals who responded to the poll, 590 (52%) of readers responded yes, that they have had a saddle professionally fitted, while the remaining 549 (48%) said no, they had not.

Photo: Photos.com

In last week’s poll on TheHorse.com, we asked if you have ever had a saddle professionally fitted. More than 1,100 readers responded, and we’ve tallied the results

Of the 1,139 individuals who responded to the poll, 590 (52%) responded yes, they have had a saddle professionally fitted to themselves and their horse. The remaining 549 (48%) respondents said no, they have never had a saddle professionally fitted.

Additionally, more than 150 readers provided comments about saddle fitting. 

Poll Results

Many people said they have or want to have their saddle fitted by a professional:

  • "Yes. It's absolutely necessary and well worth the cost."
  • "No, but I really need to do this! Having a saddle fit properly is so important."
  • "I certainly have wanted to though. Horses with odd shaped backs do better with a personalized one."
  • "We'd love to, and hope to someday, but so far it's been cost-prohibitive."
  • "In long distance competitive riding I wanted to make sure we were both as comfortable as possible."
  • "Always, and checked once a year."
  • "I always get new saddles professionally fitted—too many back problems in the past to mess around!"
  • "After trying many saddles, I had to get one professionally fitted and adjusted once a year."
  • "With all my saddles—both western and English."
  • "All my saddles and saddle pads are selected with professional input on horse fit. I'm easier!"
  • "Always have saddles professionaly fitted and checked at least annually."
  • "After many bad fits trying to fit myself, I will only have a saddle fitted professionally now."
  • "Many times! It is cruel to ride without doing so!"
  • "Yes, you can really tell the difference."
  • "My horses are notoriously hard to fit. A pro is a must."
  • "I have had a saddle fitted to the horse."
  • "Yes! I have the fitter come back every six months to make adjustments, only $50. Totally worth it!"
  • "I cannot imagine not using a qualified saddle fitter"

Some readers shared success stories:

  • "Best thing I ever did. He has a 'flat back' and was requiring laser therapy for backache."
  • "Best thing I ever did."
  • "Great experience. It fit the horse and rider!"
  • "I own two custom tree saddles and have never had one fitting problem. Expensive but money well spent."
  • "Great improvement in both my seat and his movement!"
  • "Best money I ever spent! My horse doesn't fit into 'off-the-shelf' models."
  • "Best thing ever, especially for my Haflinger!"
  • "Best decision I ever made and only cost a bit more than one from the shop."
  • "Excellent experience!"
  • "Huge difference in both horses temperament riding for extended periods. Well worth the expense."
  • "Couldn't have happy horse and good ride without my saddle fitter!"

Some readers commented about their choice not to have saddles professionally fitted:

  • "Can't afford the fitting costs and then thousands of dollars for saddle"
  • "No professional saddle person lives in or come to Alaska for a reasonable fee."
  • "I would like to but it is too expensive."
  • "Can't afford it and all horse has to do is lose or gain muscle or weight and saddle no longer fits"
  • "Will never do it again. No place to try out before purchase and ended up returning. It hindered my Tennessee Walker's gait."

A few said they fit their own saddles:

  • "I fit all my own."
  • "I have been studying saddle fit in horses for 20 years, and own 14-15 saddles. I fit my own horses."
  • "After 40 years owning horses, I do my own.These fittings are not always good—the seller needs to sell saddle!"
  • "I fitted it myself!"

And several readers left general comments about saddle fit:

  • "I think most backyard riders know little about saddle fitting—we need help!"
  • "Poor saddle fit can cause long term damage to the horse and rider!"
  • "Have saddles regularly checked and fitted as a horse's top line will change with work"
  • "Yes and no—beware of the saddle fitter who also sells a particular brand of saddles."
  • "It's very hard to find a good saddle-fitter"
  • "A good fit makes all the difference!"
  • "It's important that a saddle fit both the horse and rider!"
  • "It guarantees comfort you both horse and rider"
  • "My horse had been using an improperly fitted saddle for years, and often had a sore back as a result"
  • "It was very helpful. It needs to be repeated as the horse gets fit, or gains or loses weight."
  • "It's not fair to ask them to work with ill-fitting tack. Try running in too small or too big shoes."
  • "It is critical to have the saddle fitted correctly to prevent injuries or behavioral problems."

Check out these six veterinarian-approved saddle fit tips TheHorse.com! 

This week, we want to know: What is your farm's primary parasite control strategy? Vote in the poll and share your comments!

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners