Fitting a saddle to your horse
Headed by Jami Kolopos, the Christensen's Saddle fitting staff is comprised of four professionally trained fitters. Having learned their skills from the manufacturers of many of the top selling saddle companies, they strive to continue their education through seminars and research.
Saddle fittings are a regular occurrence here at Christensen's. In the rear of the store is a large, open park area. With ample parking and full drive through access, it provides a great space for saddle fitting while allowing the staff access to our entire inventory of hundreds of saddles. Several days a week trailers pull in, horses are unloaded and the science begins.
- All saddle fittings begin with an assessment of the horses back, while standing squarely on level ground, where we check for symmetry and overall condition. Factors such as the horse's age and general fitness give an idea as to what tree width and panel/bar shape will work, a good starting point. Based on the initial assessment, an assortment of saddles are chosen according to the buyer's discipline and price point.
- These saddles are then placed on the horses back without a saddle pad. This gives the fitters a chance to evaluate the following eight essential aspects of fit.
- Overall Balance
- Panel/Bar contact
- Wither Clearance
- Shoulder Space
- Stability vs. Rock
- Girth Placement
- Based on the above criteria, a specific pad is then chosen, placed under the pad, and the saddle is then cinched down. At this point the horse is asked to walk out, both in a straight line and in a circle, so that we may once again check those eight essential aspects of saddle fit, as well as ascertain that the saddle remains centered and does not shift with the horse's movement.