I stumbled across a link on Twitter this morning from Totalsaddlefit.com. For once, I actually clicked on a “promoted” tweet– usually such ads are total blow-byes, like Dawn dish detergent, Red Bull, or Best Buy. But this time, internet Big Brother actually promoted a link that interested me.
Total Saddle Fit makes an anatomical shoulder-relief girth, but this article on saddle fit is unrelated to their product. Here’s an excerpt:
Saddles are made with all kinds of varying tree point lengths. This is because a high wither horse will need a different tree than a mutton-withered pony. Long tree points will allow more flexibility in fitting high wither horses, while short points are often good for low wither horses because they keep the saddle from perching off the back. Since most riders don’t know how long or short their saddle’s points are, all we need to be concerned with is how the points make contact with a horse’s back. It is vitally important that the inside “faces” of the tree points touch your horse’s back, as opposed to the tips of the points poking into the back. This is ultimately a determinant of how well the rider weight is spread out behind the horse’s shoulders.
The simplest way to check the contact is to girth your saddle TIGHT, then run your hand down the front of your saddle under the panels and see if there are any acute points of pressure. All saddles will have some pressure there, as a saddle’s structure needs to be carried somewhere, but the area should be bigger than the point of your finger. Try this with your saddle and as many friends’ saddles as possible to really get a frame of reference by comparing them.