Saddle Shopping? New Resource Offers Online Assistance

Finding a Western saddle that fits well is a task that has horse owners turning to the new online Saddle Expert System. With well over 200 different breeds of horses, one can imagine how tricky it can be to find a saddle that fits just right. Each saddle not only has a particular function, whether for roping, pleasure or training, but every saddle also has different measurements to fit particular horses and riders. Throw in the fact that taking your horse shopping with you is pretty impractical, and buying a new saddle, especially online, can be a recipe for disaster.

An ill-fitting saddle is not only a tragic purchase, it's a pain to the horse, too. If a saddle doesn't fit properly, it will cause discomfort for the horse and imbalance for the rider. The saddle will fail to meet the correct pressure points, build up friction and give the horse a backache. No one wants to ride a horse in pain.

That's why Chuck Klockow, owner of horsesaddleshop.com, decided to give saddle shoppers a hand. He noticed that saddle manufacturers used different terms for the same measurement, making no basis for comparison between one saddle and the next. So he decided to measure each saddle individually. "Once we had the saddle measurements, we thought it would be beneficial to the equine community to create templates that can be downloaded and used with normal supplies at home to find which saddles would fit the horse," he explained. "This takes much of the 'mystery' out of saddle fit and we now have many former 'hard to fit' horses."

The Web site's Saddle Expert System offers downloadable templates that horse owners can print out, take to the stable, and use to measure their horses. The templates are organized by gullet angle. Decide which angle fits best, enter a few other measurements of the horse, and viola, the Saddle Expert System recommends which saddles will be the best fit.

Ed, a long time horse owner and moderator of dailyequine.com, was finding dry spots on his quarter horse, Hook, and realized that it was due to an ill-fitting saddle. "The dry spots were from excess pressure reducing circulation in the area at the gullet of the saddle which inhibited sweating," he explained. "If the situation was allowed to continue the excess pressure would have damaged the hair follicles, which could result in the hair in the dry spots to grow in white." He decided to give the Saddle Expert System a try. "With the help of the templates I was able to find a thinner saddle pad that would allow my existing saddle to fit well enough to eliminate the dry spots." He also plans on buying the recommended saddle for Hook and regularly recommends the System to horse owners on his discussion boards.

The Web site also provides a phone number to call for further saddle fitting help. In addition, it gives the specific details and measurements of each saddle and features a generous return policy. The saddle inventory is organized by saddle function and brand, including saddles from popular manufacturers like Billy Cook, Tucker, and Circle Y. With all these resources, buying a saddle online may become more practical than stopping by the local tack provider.

To try out the Saddle Expert System, visit www.HorseSaddleShop.com.  

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