Our saddle fitting process for proper saddle fit is dedicated to the comfort and performance of both horse and rider.
We work from high-level competition riders to happy hackers to ensure proper saddle fit and our dedication and support to each client remains unchanged whatever the level. As a Registered Qualified Master Saddle Fitter in the North East we are qualified in much more than just measuring for and testing for saddle fit. We are committed to bringing confidence and harmony to every partnership through saddle comfort and wellbeing.
THE SADDLE FITTING PROCESS
With our qualified, approved status you get a reliable, honest and 360 appraisal of the proper saddle fit for you and your horse/pony. Your saddle fitting will take around 1.5 hours and you will receive a written record and set of templates.
Saddle Fitting Survey
When you book an appointment with us you will need to fill in a detailed form.
Why do we do this?
This ensures that we come prepared for your appointment with the right equipment and saddle range. It also starts the thinking process for any specific areas that you may wish to address.
We ask that you provide a flat, hard surface on which the horse can be stood and trotted up for the in-hand assessment. You should also have a suitable area free from jumps and with a mounting block and a safe surface on which the horse can be ridden (e.g. menage, arena, paddock). If you are purchasing a jumping saddle then you should have access to jumps. You should make sure that you are suitably and safely attired for riding e.g. hard hat, boots and non-marking legwear (anything with buckles/rivets/diamantes/grips that may damage saddle surface is not acceptable sorry.) You should also have clean and dry, saddle cloths/numnahs, stirrups , leathers and girth, suitable for your horse. Finally, your horse should be clean and well-presented. During covid-secure operations we are also asking that you complete a covid-19 online assessment and wear a face mask/shield and gloves throughout the appointment and we have the right to end the session if we feel the safety of our team or others is compromised. All call out charges should be paid for in advance.
Why do we do this?
A proper saddle fit and successful saddle fitting depends on having the correct conditions. Without being able to see you and your horse move and assess your biomechanics it is more difficult for us to provide a comprehensive service. If you are struggling to provide anything we have requested from you please make us aware as we may be able to make alternative arrangements. Please note, adverse weather conditions without suitable indoor areas may mean that saddle fittings will need to be cancelled/rescheduled.
This will include a full assessment of your horse from a standing, walking and trotting up perspective. Here we are looking for conformational or biomechanical traits that may impact the fitting of your saddle or how it moves with your horse. Issues such as asymmetry and issues with soundness/muscle mass will all be taken into account at this stage. It may be at this stage that we recommend physiotherapy/veterinary advice before progressing with saddle fitting.
Why do we do this?
Your horse is not just a series of measurements. Understanding how they move across their back, shoulders and striding gives us important understanding of how different saddles will perform for balance, fit and stability. White hairs, sores, points of tenderness will all give us a picture of your horse’s current condition and how they are reacting to their existing saddle.
Templating & Measuring
As well as assessing your horse, we will build a template of their back to give us exact sizing and shape. You will receive a copy of this template also.
Why do we do this?
This is a reliable method of measuring a horse’s size and shape for tree considerations and to compare future measurements as the horse changes/ages.
We will try a selection of our saddles according to what we have discovered about your horse. If we are checking your current saddle, we will assess the health, fit and suitability of your current saddle. Where a new saddle is required, we will discuss a number of options available for you to be able to make an informed choice. Short-listed saddles will then be tried and ridden in by the rider for further assessment. Whilst the priority will be to put your horse's needs first, we will also discuss your requirements and budget at the visit.
We will make any necessary adjustments to the preferred saddle and ask the rider to perform a number of transitions and exercises in walk, trot and canter on both reins to assess the saddle fit and balance, as well as impact from the horse's movement, the rider's posture, balance and comfort . Exercises will vary according to the horse and rider's ability and the facilities provided. Where the saddle is required for jumping and/or cross country the rider will be asked to ride a number of fences. These will depend on ability and level of competition.
Why do we do this?
We need to see the saddles in action to assess fit, not only from the horse’s perspective but also the rider. Rider balance, build and biomechanics can impact preferences for elements such as knee roll, seat shape/forwardness and style.
Buying your Saddle
You will be able to purchase any of our stock saddles on the day with our 14 day money back guarantee.
Where you have ordered a bespoke saddle or a non-stock "off-the-peg" saddle you will usually have some wait time for your new saddle. We offer a saddle loan service during this time period so that you can continue your partnership with your horse.
At the point you decide to purchase your new saddle we will sign a sales agreement and take 50% deposit.
The Final Fitting
Where you have ordered a new saddle from us, then included in the price is a second fitting on its arrival. This is so we can check the fit, make any minor adjustments and make a final ridden assessment to ensure complete satisfaction.
Congratulations. You are now sitting on your brand new saddle!
How much does a saddle fitting cost?
We charge £70 call out per horse, for any saddle fitting within a 20-mile radius of Crook, DL15 9AB. Outside of this then mileage is charged at £1 per mile. Evening and weekend visits carry a surcharge of £10.
We also offer on-site saddle fitting at our yard with overnight parking/accommodation, stabling and use of arena and jumps with historic Durham nearby for you and your horse to explore or make the most of local 4* training instructors and facilities.
Our adjustments and flocking alterations start from £25.00. Some adjustments are able to be carried out on-site whilst more technical repairs/alterations will be required to be undertaken in the workshop or by the manufacturer.
Cancellations have no charge with more than 48 hours notice for first postponement, 24-48 hours is £20 and within 24 hours is £50. A no-show will incur a full charge.
Our commitments to you
Your saddle is a big decision and we understand the large cost implication for most of our clients. We promise to give you an honest and impartial appraisal of your horse and best approach for saddle fit. Where we are providing you with a saddle we will always give an independent and seasoned eye on the best options and we will continue to support you throughout the purchase process to get a best-value and best-fit solution. You are protected through our indemnity insurance and terms and we are always at the end of the phone for any questions you may have.
Your commitments to us
Buying a saddle is much more than a simple transaction. Working with us is a partnership in finding the right solution for you and your equine partner. Sometimes this is not immediate and we may identify potential issues with your horse that need to be rectified prior to saddle choice. This is to ensure the absolute best wellbeing and performance of your partnership. Sometimes the right saddle for that is a process, not a one-off. Once we have agreed the sale then we will take 50% deposit for the cost of the saddle.
If you have bought a saddle from another fitter and have ongoing problems then your best initial course of action is to take this up with them. Sometimes it is not possible for us to pick up someone’s problems without starting from scratch and we are bound by the Society of Master Saddlers, Saddle Fitter's Code of Conduct.
We do need you to do your part in maintaining your horse’s weight. We understand and take into account the changing shape of youngsters but dramatic weight gains/losses can severely impact a saddle fit. We recommend that you should have your saddle serviced regularly and recommend a minimum of six monthly checks.
Saddle loan service
We know that waiting for a new saddle can be disruptive and frustrating if there is no alternative. That’s why we offer a saddle loan service. For just £10pw we will provide a fit-for-purpose temporary loan saddle while you wait for yours to arrive.