Independent 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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Why are there so many Saddle Fit Problems?
NOTE: In any discussion of saddle fit, it is important to evaluate your whole horse. While bad saddle fit often causes a variety of behavioral and physical problems in horses, it is not the only cause of problems.  An owner should look at all factors that could be causing a problem. After working with the Vet, Farrier and Dentist to rule out other causes, Saddle Fit is the next obvious place to look.

1. Saddle fit is a complicated issue, mainly because Every Horse Is Different. Even horses of the same breed will not always fit the same saddle. And, horses change over time with age, conditioning and use.

Don't be misled by great marketing material promising a ‘one size fits all’ miracle. It does NOT exist!

2. Saddle fitting involves a mix of many elements. And, once you get the right mix of those elements for the horse, you have to evaluate them all over again with a rider on board! It is extremely hard to fit a horse without riding the saddle on the horse in your normal terrain.

3. Most people want riding to be easy. We work hard, and we like to relax with our horses. We live in a busy society and we often rely on ‘experts’ to tell us what to do. But those who should be 'experts' are not always. Click here for detail on why even custom saddles often don't fit.

The English saddles above are all the same brand and seat size with Medium, Wide & XWide trees. In addition to the difference in gullet widths, there are many other subtle differences in the bottom of these saddles that can effect fit.  

4. Saddle fit is like fitting good shoes for humans. In addition to the length of your feet, you must have the right widths at the toe and heel, and arch support, and padding, and a comfortable shape for your toes. Even the platform your shoes are built on (high heels vs. sneakers) makes a major difference in performance.

Yes, you can get away with flip flops for some activities. But if you are a construction worker, a tennis player, a waiter, or a horseback rider, you need to invest in the right shoe for the job. It is the same with saddles.

5. We don’t speak horse. When we try on shoes, we immediately feel what works and what doesn’t. When we try on saddles, the horse feels it, but we can’t always interpret what the horse feels.   As a careful owner, you can educate yourself, and learn to listen to what your horse and your instincts are telling you. You can also seek out an independent opinion to help.

6. The variety in saddles presents another fit problem. There are no consistent saddle sizing standards. In shoes, every size 8 will be pretty close to every other size 8.  Not so for saddles. Even though saddles are often labeled Semi-Quarter, Quarter, Full Quarter and Arab, those sizes vary greatly between brands. English saddles vary just as much.  These differences are hard for an inexperienced eye to see. But the horse feels them!

The best way to know for sure if a saddle fits is to try it on. Above, saddle maker Dave Genadek tries a bare tree to see if the angles are correct.


So now you should have a better understanding of why there are so many saddle fit problems.  But this also shows that you can stay on top of the issue by learning the basics of how to tell if your saddle fits.

Good News ...  You don't have to use trial and error anymore!

Saddles That Fit! exists to help you resolve your saddle fitting issues. 

We show you what to look for and how to feel what you can't see to make sure your saddle performs for both you and your horse.  We evaluate your current saddles and, if needed, adjust them to work better. 

Or, if you need a new saddle, we have lots for you to try.  If we don't have what you need, we will help you find one.  We also work with you in the saddle to make sure you have a balanced, secure seat.

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