If your horse has had any time off you will need to ensure that the saddle is fitted properly to allow him comfort and freedom to muscle up again when you begin training in earnest.
While it can take four weeks for a muscle to build up with consistent training, it takes only one week for the muscle to regain its original shape (which is negative development). Thus, even if you have given your horse just a week off from training, you will find that your saddle may not fit the way it did and the way it should so that you should have a diagnostic evaluation done and the saddle adjusted by a certified fitter before you begin training again.
A quick diagnostic can be done using our 9 points of saddle fit evaluation. Below are very brief points – this information cannot be repeated often enough and is truly evergreen.
1. Saddle Balance
A saddle too high in the pommel and too low in the cantle causes pressure on the horse’s back. It will be very difficult for your horse to engage his back because too much of your weight is on his last two floating ribs.
f your saddle is too low in the front it will pinch into the horse’s shoulder – which is very restrictive for your horse. Your saddle is too high in the back so your leg goes forward and you fall into a chair seat to balance which can strain the discs in your lower back. It should sit so that the pommel and cantle are even.
2. Wither Clearance
The saddle should have 2-3 fingers clearance on the top and around the side of the withers. The saddle must have be an opening (clearance) on the sides of his withers to accommodate the shoulder rotation upwards and backwards during movement.
A horse whose saddle pinches his withers may be reluctant to go forward. Other more extreme signs of insufficient wither clearance are patches of white hairs (not scattered individual white hairs) or sores on the top or on one or both sides of the withers.