It can be hard to know if your saddle has been fitted well – your horse can’t tell you when something’s wrong, so you have to keep an eye out for some key indicators.
One way to do this is to look at the sweat and dirt marks left on your horse’s saddle pad.
By looking at these signs, you can get a sense of your saddle’s fit and what needs to be adjusted.
The two key concepts.
These are the most valuable things to remember when looking at sweat patterns:
- Sweat and dirt marks should be symmetrical.
Symmetry means that the saddle is sitting evenly on your horse. Sometimes non-symmetrical marks don’t indicate a bad fit and sometimes a problematic fit can still result in symmetry.
But as a general rule of thumb, this is a great one to go by.
- The centre line of you saddle pad (the gullet) should be dry.
Under no circumstances do you want the saddle to be rubbing or touching the spine of your horse.
How to interpret sweat and dirt patches.
Larger amounts of dirt and more darkness generally suggest that more rubbing is occurring in this area.
Ideally, rubbing is minimal and is spread out evenly.
Dirt at the front of the saddle pad means that the saddle is too wide and is being pushed forward.
Dirt at the back of the saddle pad could mean that the saddle is the wrong shape, or that the rider is sitting too far back in the saddle.
Diagonal dark patches indicate the points at which the saddle is swinging and rubbing. Diagonal points usually mean that the saddle will need to be custom adjusted to your horse.
Heaving rubbing on one side means the saddle is leaning to the opposite. In the diagram above, the saddle is leaning to the right.
This can also be caused by the way the horse is ridden, or the length of your stirrups.
Sweat and dirt patches are a rough guide. The most important step to getting a comfortable saddle fit is being attentive to your horse; their mood, their sensitivity and any tension in their muscles. Contact a saddle fitter if you suspect you aren’t able to get your saddle to fit nicely.
Download a brochure to look through a collection of impressive Australian indoor arenas.
This Palomino miniature pony named Mr Cheddar visits elderly residents.
The friendliness of the pony brightens up the routine of their day, often helping bring back memories from their childhoods. The feel of their fur has been shown to help elderly citizens think back to their earliest memories.
Mr Cheddar also loves the attention; being groomed, brushed and petted by the residents.
Read more: 15 of the world’s cheekiest horses.
10 Most Famous Horses In History
Figure The Morgan Horse
Figure was a small bay stallion who had remarkable attributes of being strong, fast and having a beautiful way of moving. He gained fame for having the abilities of a workhorse and the speed of a racehorse. This fame was heightened due to his offspring carrying these talents also. Thus, the Morgan Horse lineage was born.
Copenhagen was a thoroughbred and Arabian stock and gained fame for carrying the Duke of Wellington for 17 hours in the Battle of Waterloo. When Copenhagen died one of his hooves was cut off as a souvenir, the Duke was extremely angry and the stolen hoof was found later and returned to him. The Duke’s son turned the hoof into an ink stand.
In the same battle except on the other side, Marengo carried Napoleon Bonaparte on his back. Marengo was a small grey Arabian horse, he was captured and taken to Britain until his death. His skeleton is preserved in the Imperial War Magazine in London.
Comanche was a brave war horse and is known as the only survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn. Due to being wounded 12 times in different battles but persevering through all of them he was named ‘Comanche’ as a way to honor his bravery and steadfastness.
Godolphon is first heard of in history when he was given to King Louis XV of France as a diplomatic gift. However the stallion did not find favour in the King’s eyes and was given away. He was the sire of several outstanding race horses, and his genetic impression on thoroughbred horses lives on even today.
Seabiscuit is the most popular film about a horse ever, telling the story about the stallion with little potential for racing despite his great ancestors. He finally found his stride due to persistent trainers and won huge races.
Bucephalus is known to be a huge black stallion that was untamed until Alexander the Great took him in his hands. The skittish horse was finally quietened when Alexander turned him towards the sun, thus hiding his shadow which was the reason for his fears. Bucephalus was Alexander’s favourite horse throughout his kingship.
Sargent Reckless was a brave mare during the Korean war who was undeterred by enemy fire and dangerous conditions, would carry ammunition and wounded soldiers by herself. She was given a collection of war medals including 2 purple hearts and was retired with full military honours.
Beautiful Jim Key
Beautiful Jim Key was a horse performer and was known to be the smartest horse in the world. He could count and do math and spell words by selecting letters from an alphabet.
One of the most famous tv horses was Trigger, a palomino stallion appeared in 81 of Roy Roger’s staring movies and all 100 of his TV episodes. He was taxidermied after his death and sold in 2010 for $266,000.