The most common concern we hear customers say is their saddle is too narrow for their horse, and that the saddle is pinching the horse at the withers. It is good to hear customers are aware of their horses reaction to saddle fit, but more often than not the problem they are noticing is a saddle that is too wide for the horse. The pinching effect most commonly seen is caused by the saddles tree points flaring away from the horse creating a pressure point at the top of the tree point instead of bearing the weight evenly along the whole length of the tree point. It is true that a saddle that is too narrow for a horse will pinch, but this is seen at the bottom of the tree point and is far less common.
A saddle that is too wide will pinch at the
top of the tree point.
A correct saddle width will distribute weight
evenly down the entire tree point.
A saddle tree that is too narrow will pinch
at the bottom of the tree point.
Before you loosen your girth after your next ride, take a look at how you your saddle is fitting and specifically at the angle of your saddles tree points in relation to your horses withers. The angles should be relatively similar. Don’t panic if its not exact, often a horse is not exactly 29cm tree, this is compensated in the wool panels or could have been fit that way intentionally to compensate for a horses changing body condition. If the bottom of the tree points are sticking out away from the horse’s withers, the saddle is too wide – digging into your horse at the bottom, the saddle is too narrow. There are a muck bucket full of other factors that contribute to proper saddle fit but finding the right tree width is the single most important factor and the foundation to correctly fitting your horse.