As farriers, we are aware that poor fitting horseshoes can cause discomfort and lameness in horses. Unfortunately, many farriers do not realize that poor fitting saddles can cause lameness, gait faults, shoeing problems and even personality problems.
Unless farriers have the opportunity to see the horses they are shoeing while being ridden, they will be blind to the problems that ill-fitting saddles cause.
It is not necessary to be a master saddle fitter to determine that a saddle doesn’t fit properly. However, understanding the general principles of saddle fitting will help farriers either confirm or eliminate that as a problem. This determination is important to avoid unnecessarily changing shoeing and trimming to fix a problem that’s caused by something else.
Many times farriers are blamed for lameness or movement problems that are being caused by a poor fitting saddle. These problems are:
An improperly fit saddle can also put the rider in an unbalanced position, which can cause movement problems and lameness. For example, a saddle that pitches the rider backward will eventually cause back problems, which will change the hind end stance.
A saddle that fits well should not have any negative influence on how a horse moves. It should not leave any rub marks or uneven sweat patterns. It also should keep the rider in a balanced position. A saddle that…