Saddle Fit Not An Exact Science

by | 03.25.2019 | 11:50am

For years, proper saddle fit for English saddles has always been touted as not having the saddle extend past T18 on the horse's spine. However, it has not been completely understood if saddle fitters are able to palpate and identify where the T18 spinous process is to ensure that a saddle fits a horse appropriately and is not too large. Ill-fitting tack can cause pain and discomfort for the horse.

A study done by Drs. Kathryn J.Nankervis, Francesca Bradley, Katherine Kosek and Sue J.Dyson used seven horses to investigate if various saddle fitters in England were able to find T18.

Their findings, published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, included:

  • Saddle fitters could locate T18 within one spinous process in most horses
  • Research is needed to understand what happens when a horse's back is loaded past T18
  • Saddle fitters using the same technique oftentimes came to the same conclusion regarding saddle fit
  • There is poor agreement between saddle fitters on appropriate saddle length

Read more at Stable Management.

Read the study here.

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