Saddle fitting can be tricky for any horse. Correct saddle fit is hugely important for your horse’s comfort, back health, and overall performance. Saddle fitting is a bit of an art form if you ask me. And Friesians can be challenging when it comes to getting a properly fitting saddle. Here are some tips and tricks to finding the right saddle for your Friesian.
A properly fitting saddle will help to maximize your horse’s comfort, stability, balance, and performance. And on the contrary, a poorly fitting saddle can affect your horse’s movement, and over time can cause damage to their back.
There are many elements to saddle fitting, and when in doubt, always consult an expert. Your riding instructor and trainer can be excellent resources for saddle fitting. As you think about proper saddle fitting, here are some quick saddle fitting tips to consider:
A properly fitted saddle should sit level of your horse’s back and allow for a complete range of motion in the shoulders without pain or pressure.
Many Friesians have a unique shape that can make it tricky to fit a saddle. Some Friesians are more compact, with shorter backs, which means a shortened saddle support area. We’ve found a lot of saddles are too long for our horses.
Another factor that makes Friesians challenging to saddle fit is their animated gaits. You never want to inhibit the reaching shoulder movement of a Friesian, so you need to find a saddle that does not restrict big shoulder movements.
Friesians, in general, have broader backs than many of the warmblood breeds.
I’m surprised how many people (saddle fitters) included who believe Friesians must have a wide tree saddle because of their size.
After trying a wide-tree saddle, many are shocked to find this is not always the case. In fact, we have had several horses use a medium-wide tree, and only one uses a wide tree. When it comes to fitting your Friesian, always consider their unique build and conformation. Saddle fitting should be done based on each horse and is never a one-size-fits-all situation.
It’s great to do your research and find a great fitting saddle for your Friesian. If both you and your horse are comfortable, balanced, and stable, that matters.
But if you are having difficulty finding a well-fitting saddle for your Friesian, it might be time to call in a professional for some help.
Saddle fitters are experts in their field and can help advise you on an appropriate saddle for both you and your horse. In some instances, Friesians need a custom saddle to be comfortable. A saddle fitter can help you with the process if this is the case!
We ride Dressage primarily and have found these saddles tend to fit our Friesian horses well.
Learn what other disciplines Friesians are used for in my What Are Friesians Used For? blog.
My mom and previous riding instructor have ridden in a Wintec Isabell for years and swear by them. These saddles have an adjustable tree feature which is excellent if you are trying to fit multiple horses with one saddle.
The seat is ultra-deep and grippy, with a narrow twist—perfect for maintaining your position on a big mover, like a Friesian. The CAIR panel cushion evenly distributed your weight across your horse’s back.
Fryso offers a variety of Dressage and multi-purpose saddles for Friesian horses and breeds with shorter backs— all designed with a shorter panel.
I’ve ridden in several versions and have been impressed with the overall fit and comfort.
I hope this post provided a little more knowledge about saddle fitting and where to start!
I’ve been around horses my entire life, but my Friesian journey started just over 20 years ago. Our horses have always been a part of our family. They have traveled with us as we relocated from Vermont to New York to Iowa and finally, to Arizona. I can’t wait to share our story with you!
Feb 6, 2022
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