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There are a number of factors influencing the most appropriate sizing of the saddle for the horse or pony and rider.
1 - Comformation of the horse or pony The size and shape are crucial and the primary point when considering saddle sizing. The horse or pony is the first priority. Freedom of movement for the horse or pony is essential at the front and the back of the saddle. At the front of the saddle between 4-6cm gap is required for the top of the scapula(shoulder) to move with minimal restriction. At the back of the saddle, when the hind quarters are engaged the area near the horse or pony's loins rise and therefore there needs to be sufficient room for freedom of movement. Also the saddle cannot extend on to the lumbar part of the spine. This picture clearly shows the saddle sitting behind the scapula and not extending on to the lumbar area.
2 - Seat size of the rider Some riders like the saddle sitting firmly around them,others prefer more freedom of movement and therefore a larger size. This is up to the individual rider after trying different sizes,discussion with one of our saddle fitting team and usually the riders coach. The final decision will rest with the rider after all they are the ones doing the riding.
3 - Rider's leg length The length of the riders hip to knee and the knee to ankle are also very important when selecting saddle sizing.If the rider has a longer thigh then usually a larger saddle size is required so that the rider can still feel their leg fits on the saddle and does not extend over the front of the saddle flap or is pushed backwards or away from the saddle due to he saddle block at the front of the saddle. Also a rider with a shorter thigh will have different requirements again. Our experienced saddle fitting team discuss with the rider the length of the stirrup leather which effects your leg position and the body position. To achieve maximum performance for both the horse and rider, saddle fitting is an essential part of the process. It is important to get the angle of the leg position correct for the rider so that they feel balanced and comfortable. This position is what we refer to as the pelvic tilt. Each rider has individual requirements and we welcome this discussion for you and your horse or pony.
At Bonnetts Saddleworld we are committed to happy horses, ponies and riders.