Woman rider adjusting the length of her stirrups on her saddle as her horse stands ready in an indoor equestrian school

Do you have a special place in your heart for horses? If so, you’re not alone.

After all, horses are an amazing part of the animal kingdom, possessing power and grace with few peers. They are beautiful animals and have long been loyal friends of the human race.

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Have you been considering buying a horse? Or perhaps you’re simply wanting to ride them or learn about these special creatures. Whatever the case, it’s important to understand how to saddle a horse. You’ve come to the right place for help.

This article takes a look at the proper method for saddling a dressage horse. Keep reading to get the inside scoop.

What is “Dressage”?

Let’s start by discussing exactly what is meant by “Dressage?” This term is actually French and means to train. It’s a unique discipline for riding horses.

In this type of riding, the horse and rider are judged on performance as they complete a series of prescribed movements. The rider must learn to sit in the saddle in a way that provides a unique balance, using legs, weight, and hand to guide the horse.

Now let’s take a look at the fundamental steps for fitting a saddle for competitive horseback riding.

Saddle Position

Place the saddle pad and saddle on the horse, slightly forward on their withers. Keep in mind that it’s important for the saddle to stop in the same spot on their back every time. The saddle also needs to clear the shoulders to provide freedom of movement. 

Here’s a resource that will help you choose a saddle pad.

Keep the Seat Level

The deepest part of the seat needs to be centered between the pommel and the cantle. This will allow the rider to sit correctly on the horse. If you sit too far forward or too far back, you’ll be unable to communicate with the animal effectively.

Cantle-to-Pommel Relationship

Keep in mind that the cantle should always remain higher than the pommel. Why is this? Because the saddle is designed to account for the amount of sitting trot the rider will perform during dressage.

Clearance Area Beneath the Pommel

You don’t want the saddle to rub the withers. That’s why it’s important to provide at least two fingers of space for the horse’s comfort.

The Point Angles

Pay close attention to the saddle tree’s points. They are used to determine whether the saddle is fitted correctly. Keep in mind that the saddle tree points are located beneath the saddle flaps, in front of the billet straps. These points should always be parallel to the horse’s body.

Panel Pressure and Gullet Clearance

It’s important to understand that the saddle panels need to be as big as possible. This will help to ensure proper weight distribution. Now stand behind the horse and make sure the gullet is clear down the entire length of the horse’s spine. 

Saddle Length

The saddle should be long enough to distribute the rider’s weight between the withers and the place on the back where the last rib meets the spine. This will help ensure the most comfortable ride possible. Then you can make any necessary adjustments according to how the horse reacts.

A Complete Guide to How to Saddle a Horse for Riding

There are few experiences more inspiring than riding a horse. Fortunately, these tips for understanding how to saddle a horse will make your experience as enjoyable as possible for both horse and rider.

Keep scrolling to find more tips and advice for outdoorsmen on this blog.

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