When riders talk about saddle fit, 9 times out of 10 they’re referring to how well the saddle fits the horse. But to be safe and effective, it also has to be the right size for the rider. Are you wondering if your saddle fits you? Then check out these five signs to watch for.
1. You Come Off the Flaps or Cantle
If you find that your legs come so far forward on the flaps that they hang off the front, or if your seat moves up or off the back of the saddle, then you’re riding in a saddle that’s too small for you. A well-fitting saddle will put you in a natural, secure position, and you should have room both in front of your knees and behind your seat.
2. You Slide Forward or Backward
Have you ever ridden in a saddle where you never seem to sit back down in the same place while you post? A saddle that is too large for you can leave you feeling insecure, and makes it difficult to maintain a steady position. If you find yourself with lots of room to move forward and backward in the saddle, it’s probably too big for you.
3. You Have Trouble with Your Balance
If you find that you have trouble balancing from side to side or front to back in your saddle, the saddle itself may be the cause. A saddle which is too large leaves you feeling loose in the tack, while a saddle that is too small also inhibits your ability to align yourself correctly for good balance.
4. You Continuously Tilt Forward or Backward
Sometimes poorly fitting saddles cause riders to tilt forward or backward. This may be partially due to the saddle being uneven on the horse’s back, but it can also be caused by the saddle truly not fitting your body. If you feel like you’re constantly riding uphill or downhill, check your saddle fit.
5. Your Back Is Sore After Each Ride
The wrong tack might leave you with a sore back after each ride. The same is true of pain in other areas of your body, like your knees. We tend to try to compensate for saddle fit issues without even being aware of it. This compensation can cause tension, leaving you unusually sore after riding.
If you suspect that your saddle doesn’t fit you, ask a trainer or friend to watch you in the saddle to help you assess exactly what’s wrong. Bringing in a professional saddle fitter can also make finding a saddle that fits both you and your horse easier.