How often do I need to fit/flock my saddle?
ALL horses should and do change and far more frequently than most riders realize. This is a positive sign that your horse is comfortable and your saddle is allowing them to develop correctly.
Imagine that you are asked to run in shoes that don’t fit? It would not only influence your balance, but it would be very difficult for you to perform well, if at all. You could easily be injured and do irreversible damage and the same is true for your horse in an ill- fitting saddle. Horses are athletes and with increased or decreased work, maturity , and quite often simply seasonally, your horses back will change… and your saddle needs to follow suit. You should expect to have your saddle services at MINIMUM of once a year. Often we simply need to refresh and rebalance the flocking and we also perform a safety check at that time. If there is a more dramatic change, we may discuss adjustments to the tree or even possibly change the panels entirely.
What type flocking do you use?
I use Jacobean wool, this wool is harvested from the Jacobean sheep. The grey wool has a thicker, coarser, longer fiber, creating a softer and more even surface for the panels with less lumping and knotting. Wool flock will breathe and compress to the shape of your horse, while artificial materials like nylon, synthetic or foam do not. These synthetic materials are far less forgiving for your horse’s back, as well as the fit of the saddle.
My horse is young so it doesn’t make sense to fit a saddle for them yet?
I highly recommend having a saddle fitted for young horses. While I’m not suggesting that you need to run out and purchase a brand new custom made saddle for your youngster we certainly want your talented youngster to have a good start. The young horse is not yet developed; there is very little muscle structure to compensate for a saddle that doesn’t keep the rider’s weight balanced. A balanced and well fitted saddle is necessary for correct development. This time is also crucial for developing the young horses mind and attitude towards work. It’s much easier to discourage them from developing bad behaviors early on, than it is to eliminate them once they have been established.
My horse is rehabbing and changing so I don’t want to fit a saddle to him yet?
While it may seem logical to wait until your horse has fully recovered from an injury to fit the saddle. Depending on the injury, fitting the saddle may be necessary to facilitate the recovery process and your horse’s needs may change throughout that process as well. We believe that it is critical for rehab horses that we make small changes more often, rather than trying to anticipate the changes that will occur and “pre-fitting” your saddle accordingly. By keeping your weight balanced correctly in a saddle designed to accommodate the current issues, we can give your horse every opportunity to heal and strengthen. This will often dramatically decrease your horse’s recovery time. It may be necessary to use additional padding at different stages of the process as well.