Posted: 11th October 2021 | Back to news feed
At the change of seasons, most horses will change shape. With autumn well and truly here, the goodness is going from the grass, and cooler weather means horses expend more energy keeping warm. Couple that with less daylight to ride in, the net result is that horses will change shape. Sometimes it’s hard to notice. When you see your horse every day, a gradual change can be hard to spot. But like a small piece of gravel or extra-thick socks in your shoe, little changes can make a big difference to comfort. Whatever type of saddle you ride in, it’s an important time to get your saddle fit checked to be sure you are well set up for the months ahead.
With a WOW saddle, the fitter can tweak a number of aspects to ensure an excellent fit, whatever way your horse has changed shape. The flocking is an obvious place to start. If the WOW is Flair™ air-flocked, then the adjustment is made in a matter of seconds, while the rider is in the saddle. This means the rider can immediately assess the alteration, and with the saddle fitter decide what if any further adjustments to the flocking are needed. So quick and easy – and can be fine-tuned very accurately.
With many saddles, flocking may be the only thing that can readily be altered, but with a WOW there are several more options to maintain an excellent fit without having to contemplate the last resort of a purchase of a new saddle.
The headplate offers two types of change. Not only can a different angle be chosen from the 11 options, but also most are available in three different profiles. A profile defines how wide the arch is between the arms of the headplate. If your horse changes shape by say adding or losing condition evenly behind his shoulder, the headplate angle you need may not change, but the width will. This is a really important consideration in achieving a comfortable fit for the horse.
And finally, there is the girthing. The position of the girth straps is an integral but often under-estimated part of fitting. They affect both the extent to which the saddle is being pulled forward or back as well as down; and the pressure the girth itself exerts on the sternum and musculature. To keep the saddle comfortably in position without over-tightening the girth, the position of the straps and the shape of girth used may both need to be altered. On a WOW, the basic girth strap positions are from a double V of webbing attachments. But a point strap or even foregirth at the front, and/or a balance strap at the back, can be added in a minute to amend the forces acting on the saddle.
If you are interested to understand the pressures a girth can exert on the sternum and muscles, watch the video examining a number of girth shapes on different horses. There is astonishing variation.
Whatever brand of saddle you use, do get it checked this autumn for fit, and make the most of your riding through the short days ahead.