Hollistic Saddle Fitting

A good saddle fit is something we are passionate about, work tirelessly to understand and perfect. We continue our professional development every single day, but to us, it all starts with the tree.

Getting your horse fit for purpose is rarely just about the saddle, so we work with you to help you get the very best from your horse. This involves discussing the following aspects and taking it all into account. :

  • Understand the horse’s Anatomy/Confirmation/Condition and History

  • Nutrition

  • Hooves

  • Saddle Structure (Tree, Panel, Style)

  • Rider Level

They all impact the horses way of going and only by ensuring all these aspects are working, can you and your horse start to progress. For this reason we like to work as part of a team, with you and your other equine professional - A holistic approach to saddle fitting.

Initial Assessment - What to expect

It starts with a hands on assessment of the horse, to feel and appreciate your horse whilst we talk with you about the history and what brought you to us. This may include a walk and trot up if possible.

Once completed, we’ll talk you through what we are seeing/feeling and what areas we would look at “if” we had just bought the horse. This is an unbiased, objective opinion and a discussion point. We may suggest a vet, a body worker or digestive support, ground work only, or even time off, unridden but at each step have you understanding the process and why we have reached that requirement 

We’ll then assess your own saddle (if you have one) and ensure it’s sound in all respects and then assess its fit on your horse the best we can. It may mean we need to drop the panels, but don’t panic, we know how to sew it back on!

Fitting for a new or 2nd hand saddle starts with understanding what tree best suits [mirrors] your horse’s back in repose and movement (via a belly lift demonstration) from the selection we hold. We’ll talk you through why a tree does and doesn’t suit your horse, what we’re looking to achieve and why we work with the ones we do.

The initial assessment will take between 1 – 2 hours. Be prepared to ride at the initial and follow-up sessions. Please ensure that the horse is in, hasn't been ridden and ready for the appointment time. Times can be skewed due to situations we may face, BUT we will let you know in advance if with have any problems.

Pricing:

Initial Assessment cost depends on location, starting at £70, plus mileage. Wherever possible we will design routes that allow you to share mileage with other visits that day (0.45p per mile) 

  • On Site extras Port Lewis pad (Pressure Testing Pad) £25, Saddle Company & Stride Free Adjustments £25, Flocking £25. We do not adjust wooden tree saddles on site. 

  • Off site work is not included and will be charged depending on the task.

  • Follow up appointments are £45 under 6 months since last visit, over it reverts to £70 

Hannah is also able to run CPD days for equine professionals such at physiotherapists etc. to give an insight into what does and doesn’t make a good fit and what to look for so you can refer on to specialist saddle fitters, if you see a glaring problem.

Area Covered for Saddle Fitting:

We do not fit further than 25-30 miles away and it needs to tie in with others so please be patient on schedules as we're trying to save you mileage. It is not the initial visit that is the issue but the ongoing support we want provide our clients with that then becomes difficult at a distance. Mainly, Hannah covers West of Herts and beyond and Emma covers East of Herts and beyond. 

Fitting Requirements

In order for us to fit a saddle to your horse we expect it to be in a condition to accept a rider and their weight.

We apply the generally accepted rule of 10% body mass ratio for competition and 15% for regular riding. We would prefer to stay within those parameters.

Any loss of muscle can, within reason, be supported with additional padding such as a Prolite pad etc. However, if your horse is scoring a body condition of between 1/10 and 9-10/10 we will not be able to saddle your horse without you putting in work to rectify that.

We are holistic fitters so take in the whole horse, not just the saddle so working with us means taking on other advice such as body work, nutrition etc. so your horse can do it's best for you.

We care more for your horse, than your ambitions but will support you all the way to achieve them - but your horse will always come first so bear that in mind before you ask us to visit.  

If we wouldn't ride your horse, then we wouldn't expect you to. 

IMPORTANT : If your yard has issues such a Strangles/Mites, please inform us immediately. We may still be able to attend but will need to adjust our schedules so we can sanitise in-between. We both own horses and visit lots of yards so we need to be mindful of infectious disease control.

 

Stock:

We hold a range of demo saddles and occasionally some 2nd hand saddles for sale but we assess what tree suits your horse and then source saddles based upon that. We may not have what you need on the day but we will source something as quickly as possible but this can take a while. We work with a network of fitters in the country to pool our resources for maximum options.

LEAD TIMES AND PRICES ON NEW SADDLES HAVE INCREASED DRAMATICALLY. THIS MEANS THE 2ND HAND MARKET HAS BEEN STRIPPED SO AT THE MINUTE OUR PROVISION OF SADDLES HAS BECOME A LOT HARDER AND GETTING NEW SADDLES IS 2-6 MONTHS BUT WE ARE DOING OUR BEST. 

We work with the following saddle makers and their lead times:

  • Harry Dabbs & Jeffries :8-10 WEEKS

  • Nick Dolman Saddlery : 12-16 WEEKS

  • Stride Free - Peter Horobin Saddles : MAINLY IN STOCK BUT BESPOKE 24 WEEKS

  • The Saddle Company :4-8 WEEKS

Prices new from £850- £4500 and 2nd hand Saddles start from £450 if we have them. 

NOTE : If you want a large range of cheap second hand saddles, we're not the saddle fitters for you. 

 

Trials: 

Trials are available on all saddles and for a maximum of 2 weeks where we hope you will be able to achieve 4 rides to determine and analyse how your horse feels. Essentially if you see/feel an improvement, or not.

 

Loans:

Loan saddles are available depending on the situation. There is a weekly fee and refundable deposit for a loan saddle and/or equine equipment such as equilibrium massage pad or Equicore. You will be asked to sign a loan agreement.