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Horses/laying the saddle on the horse back


hello Lyn. No one at the riding school are explaining me how to lay the saddle on the horse back. through my watching experience, i got an idea that the saddle pad should be laid beyond the withers covering it entirely and the saddle should be laid on the the withers. i mean, the pommel of the saddle must touch the highest point of the withers. am i right? how much ever i browsed in the internet, i didnt get the solution.

hope you dont mind answering this silly question.


The saddle does NOT go on the withers.  This is one of the biggest issues I fight regularly with people.  If you put it on the withers as you describe you are setting the tree right on top of the horse's shoulder blades.  This will interfere tremendously with the movement of the shoulders.  In horses with big, reachy strides like Tennessee Walking Horses, they simply cannot move the way they are supposed to.  The front part of the tree should fit in the pocket just behind the shoulder blade. The pommel should clear the spine enough for you to insert 3 fingers held vertically between the pommel and spine.  Any more and the tree is too narrow for the horse. The girth should be a hand's width behind the elbow so that the leg can move freely.  Unfortunately I see way too many people who have no idea how to saddle a horse.  Over time the horse will develop a buildup of scar tissue on the back of the shoulder blade because of pressure and abrasion from the saddle being too far forward.

Your question wasn't silly.  When putting a saddle on I put the pad on first and yes, up on the withers where I then slide it back into place so that the hair under it is smooth.  Then set the saddle on the pad and taking your fingers pull the pad up so that it barely touches the underside of the pommel.  Then when you tighten the girth it doesn't stretch that pad tightly across the horse's body.  You want your horse to be comfortable under saddle,  A saddle is like a pair of shoes, it has to fit.  If it doesn't and isn't put on properly it can be anything from just uncomfortable to downright torture to wear.

Hopefully this answered your question.


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Lyn Kamer, C.E.S.M.T.


Training, alternative therapies, saddle fitting problems, behavioral problems, endurance riding, driving, Mustangs


Horseman of over 50 yrs., certified equine massage therapist, trainer both riding and driving, long distance trail riding and driving. Both endurance and competitive trail riding and driving.

American Endurance Ride Assn., Eastern Competitive Trail Ride Assn., New Jersey Trail Ride Assn., Aromatherapists International, American Mustang and Burro Assn., United States Trotting Assn., Standardbred Pleasure Horse Org., US Wild Horse and Burro Association

Trail Blazer magazine, AERC Newsletter, Hoofbeats magazine

Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist, Least Resistance Trainer, Certified Aromatherapist

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