Saddle Fitting

Teaching you how to understand saddle fit!


Susan & David Hartje

Plymouth, CA





Do you have the SYMPTOMS?

               What is your horse telling you?

Is your saddle fighting you?


Why are there so many Saddle Fit Problems?

    But I had a custom saddle made...

My horse doesn't complain, but we can't progress...

When it might Not be your saddle's fault...



Learn how to tell what fits for yourself!

Hands-on learning opportunities - Clinic Schedule

Elements of Saddle Fit

Photos needed for initial evaluation

Experience really does count in resolving saddle fit problems.


Get an Independent opinion

                  The importance of checking

Food for Thought

What our Clients say

Frequently Asked Questions

About Us

In the News

Centered Riding - Level I Instructorl




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About Us

My background includes Environmental Education and Animal Handling of everything from mice to elephants in Zoos and Aviaries. I had to learn to work with totally wild animals who could not be coerced into betraying their wild instincts.

You don’t just push an elephant around. And you really can’t intimidate a mountain lion. But you can help them understand what you want, and ask them to go along with the idea.

This experience also applied to my horse ownership. A 7 year-old range-bred Mustang named Topaz really taught me a lot. She would step over a rattlesnake in the desert and not bat an eye. But move a rock on our regular trail and she would freak out.

I was the normal horse crazy girl. But a childhood pony taught me early on that I needed more than book learning before owning horses again. So I took western riding lessons in college and beyond. And I patiently waited until I owned property where I could care for my own horses before getting another one.

I could not afford a fully trained gaited horse like I wanted. So my young mare (Autumn) and I were both green together. I had never started a horse, and she was barely started. And she had a baby at her side to boot.

Not too long after finding a natural horsemanship trainer to help me learn to train my horse, I was laid off from my management job. So I took advantage of the opportunity to apprentice myself to my trainer. That was where I first experienced riding in a balanced saddle that I didn’t have to fight. It made everything easier! (Click to view my Equine Resume.)

Our quest to truly understand saddle fit began the day David’s Peruvian, Majestad, actually laid down in the middle of a ride in order to get away from the pain. As soon as David stepped off, Majestad popped back up and shook himself out, saying THANKS!

We had special ordered his saddle with the full back tracing and photos. So we thought we were good. Majestad taught us otherwise. We later learned that his saddle was bridging so badly that David might as well have been riding in a kitchen chair.

Since 2001, we have sought out master saddle makers, equine biomechanical experts, professional classes, and lots of self-directed education. There are few opportunities to learn saddle fitting, short of an apprenticeship in England. The few English classes out there are almost always tied to being a sales rep for a specific saddle maker. We didn’t want that.

Fortunately, we had two of the best possible teachers right in our back yard! Autumn and Majestad were extremely happy to tell us what they thought of each new saddle or change. As I learned to pay attention, Autumn would tell me exactly when the problem was at the back of the saddle, at the front or in the middle. She and her daughter, Taz, are now my main R&D partners, along with each and every client horse we meet.

So many factors (horse, saddle, rider) affect good fit, that there is no easy recipe that works 100% of the time. Perhaps that is why no one wants to share that information with the general public. But it is not brain surgery. We think everyone can and should be able to understand saddle fit basics. Otherwise our horses will be forever doomed to the best marketed trends. And they will pay the price for our lack of good fitting saddles.

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