When you’re considering your tack and equipment, it’s not just your saddle that you need to think about. The bridle, girth and saddle pad also need careful fitting, and your saddle fitter can offer advice in these areas too as all of these pieces of tack need to work together. You can check how well your bridle fits here.

There are so many different girths and half-pads and saddle pads available on the market. In some instances, these have become fashionable accessories to have. Every horse and rider are different, and what works for one combination won’t necessarily work for another.

It’s important that you listen to your horse — get to know him and you’ll find that he will often tell you what he prefers. This is why you shouldn’t just follow the latest trend.

Girthing up

Girths offer more stability to the saddle when fitted without elastic. However, many horses who are girthy tend to prefer a girth that has a bit of give in it. If this is your horse, a girth sleeve may help, or if you choose an elasticated girth ensure that the elastic is short and not too stretchy, otherwise the saddle could become unstable.

Anatomically-shaped girths work well with many horses, but again it’s important that the shape and size suits the conformation of your horse, in this case his ribcage. Your saddle fitter will be able to give you advice here if you’re uncertain.

Using a saddle pad

Whatever half-pad or saddle pad you choose to use it’s important to discuss this with your saddle fitter, who can take it into account when your saddle is fitted or checked, so remember to take it with you.

Of course, it’s important that any pad you use under your saddle is a good fit — not too small, and it must not close in on the top or either side of the spinal processes.

Many horses seem to prefer half-pads, as these can often act as a shock absorber between you and them.

However, in some cases a half-pad can destabilise your saddle and lift you away from your horse slightly. As we’ve already mentioned, all horses are individuals and it’s important to listen to them and make changes if necessary.

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