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.

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