Saddle Placement


The Importance of Correct Saddle Placement

saddle-placement

Diagram courtesy Dr. Nancy Nicholson, Biomechanical Riding & Dressage

A horse might have problems understanding aids correctly if a saddle is not placed properly on the horse’s back; the aids are simply going to the wrong ‘places’.

Saddle place too far forward:

  • The rider’s weight puts unnecessary pressure on the withers and shoulders which in turn will block the movement of the front legs
  • The rider’s weight is primarily sitting on the forehand which in turn will shorten a horse’s stride
  • The rider’s legs are positioned too far forward making it difficult for the horse to understand leg aids correctly
  • Might damage the latissimus dorsi muscles, which have major roles in pulling the horse forward

A saddle positioned too far back (or a saddle which is too long):

  • Will already slip when mounting since the pommel area is slightly behind the withers
  • It will also make it more difficult for the horse to carry your weight and will irritate the loin since the rider’s weight is behind the weight carrying arch of the ribs
  • The muscles in this area transmit the movement to the hind legs and are not designed to carry weight.