#
Ortho Flex Saddle Works
site map
contact
Saddle Fit

Saddle Fitting Your Horse-

Is it possible to fit a saddle to your horse perfectly?
On 99% of most horses the answer is NO.  However, there is that 1% that get lucky and fit their horse perfectly.  Unfortunately that fit can change over time and sometimes rather quickly depending on several factors.  People lose and gain weight and change sizes and so do horses.  A slight weight gain or loss can quickly turn that perfect fit into a not-so-perfect fit and leave you as a responsible horse owner very frustrated.

What is the answer?
The best cure for the imperfect fit is to accept the fact that the perfect fit is always going to be a moving target that will be very difficult or nearly impossible to hit.  So, we have some ideas concerning saddle fit that may help you in determining which direction to take when you are investing your hard earned money in a saddle that you will keep for many years to come.  Your goal should always be a "Positive Fit"

What is a positive fit?
We define a positive fit to be achieving as much contact as possible between the Saddle and the horse's back.  When we look at the fit we want an even weight distribution without pressure points.  In other words, we want the weight of the rider to be dispersed over as much area of the horse's back as possible without any areas of concentrated weight (pressure points).  We also need to see freedom of movement and no pinching or binding between the horse and saddle while the rider is in place under normal riding conditions.  Though there is no Perfect Fit ,  we can achieve a generally positive fit and have the ability to fine tune the fit using the proper padding.  There are many corrective pads on the market that will allow you to achieve the closest thing to a perfect fit that you can find.

First, you must understand that the most important factor in saddle fitting is the tree.  The Tree is the foundation or the base of the saddle.  If the tree doesn't give you an overall good fit, then the saddle will have no chance of remotely fitting your horse.  In order to pick the proper tree you must understand that the most important factor in tree fitting is the angle and width of the bars.
The bars are the part of the horse that make the contact to the horses back.  There are many variations that have been designed based on average breed confirmation and each tree manufacturer is different.   Our cure to this solution is to use one tree manufacturer and one standard when referring to the trees being used.

We want to help you to choose the proper tree that will give you the best fit possible then guide you toward proper padding and achieve the best fit for your horse.
If you would contact us at 1-800-251-3474 we will be glad to answer any of your questions and point you in the right direction.

Our Fitting References

The different fits are labeled with a one or two letter designation. In addition, a general description of each follows along with the more familiar breed-specific or back-type classification. These limited descriptions cannot be readily utilized for fit determination but will assist when comparing one to another.

J - Semi-Quarter Horse (Semi)/Arabian (Arab) - Steeper front and rear rafter angle and closer-spaced bars relative to Standard Quarter Horse fit when positioned at standard spread. In addition, sufficient bow (rocker) enables this fit to conform well to the short Arabian back having a narrow wither dropping off quickly to the shoulder.

D - Standard Quarter Horse (SQ) - Approximate 92º front rafter angle. Good front flare, bow and upturned tails to avoid bridging and bar edge pressure points.

TF - Full Quarter Spread (FQ) - Same bow (rocker) and wind (twist) as 'D' fit with an additional 1/2” front spread ('GW+1/2' or '+1/2') than standard.

NE- Straight-Back Quarter (SBQ) - Similar flare and rafter angle to the 'D' fit with much less bow. Developed for straighter backed, well collected horses. Also works well for mules that require a flatter front rafter than the 'SE'.

SE - Mule (Mule) - Reduced bow and steeper front rafter angle to conform to the distinctive mule back. Helps prevent the back of the saddle rocking up when cinched, which creates tremendous pressure under the stirrup leather when the rider's weight pushes it back down.

HA - Draft Horse (DH) - Approximate 105º front rafter angle. Flatter rear rafter also and less bow for broad, flat backs with little dip.

LT - Gaited Horse (GT) - Steeper rear rafter angle, additional front flare and
more bow relative to the 'D' fit.

PW - Walking Horse (WH) - Similar to LT with steeper front rafter angle.

AW- Full Wither (FW)/Arabian (Arab) - Flared out front and rear to allow for full or mutton wither with no pockets. The resulting bow enables this fit to conform well to the short Arabian back having wide withers rounding out into the shoulder. The AW has also been found to work for more dipped-back draft horses.

X-  Performance Quarter (PQ) - Flatter front and rear rafter angle and less convex front bar pads allow for the broad wither and well-developed shoulder muscles of the highly trained, daily ridden working quarter horse. A more open waist facilitates collecting and core development.

    Ortho- Flex

    High Quality Saddles made in the U.S.A.

    Contact us

    603 Evans St.
    Shelbyville, TN 37160
    Phone: 800.251.3474
    Email: nbs@nationalbridle.com

    Design Your Own Website, Today!
    iBuilt Design Software
    Give it a try for Free