Want to take great care of your gear? Look no further than Abbey England’s top tips to saddle success
Saddles have been used for riding since as early as 700BC. Throughout history, they’ve been seen as a symbol of status – with elaborate ornamentation and expensive fabrics showcasing prestige and wealth. Today the saddle is no less important, and the finest quality materials are still much sought after in the equestrian world.
Whatever your chosen discipline, your saddle is one of the most important pieces of equestrian equipment that you own. So, to keep your gear in top condition, Abbey England provides some of their top tips to help you get the very best out of your saddle.
A good fit
Saddles are not only vital for connecting with your horse through your seat and legs, but also in terms of providing care and riding comfort for you both.
A well-fitting saddle offers stability for the rider and, when it fits your horse as it should, it puts you in line with his balance. This will prevent you from tipping too far forward or back and upsetting your centre of gravity, which is essential for ensuring harmony and synchronisation between horse and rider.
A saddle shouldn’t interfere with a horse’s natural movement. Instead it should move and flex with your horse, allowing him the freedom to work effectively. The perfect saddle will prevent rubbing and chafing and won’t pinch or lift away from your horse.
Poor saddle fitting can cause muscular, skeletal and neural problems, creating pressure points. Over time these can lead to chronic joint and back pain, which could be costly or even impossible to heal.
Caring for your saddle
Not only is the correct size and fit of the saddle essential for your horse, but maintaining its quality through careful maintenance will ensure it lasts a lifetime
Saddles shouldn’t be lifted off your horse after a ride and dumped in a tack room. Caring for the saddle is almost as important as caring for your horse, as a dirty or cracking one will have a direct impact on your horse’s welfare.
Saddles should be kept somewhere clean and dry, away from direct heat to prevent warping. After each use, your saddle should be wiped down with a damp cloth to prevent dust and dirt from building up and causing discomfort. This grime can also build up and penetrate into the leather, causing cracking and breaking. A well-fitted saddle can be a costly item to replace just from wear and tear caused by neglect.
Saddle soap can be used to provide a really effective clean. This will help to maintain the suppleness of the leather and prevent breaking, extending the saddle’s life.
A clean saddle that fits well is essential to your horse’s welfare and your riding success. The last thing you want is to harm your horse, have them reluctant to be ridden or, even worse, fall from your damaged saddle.
Getting a professional saddle fitter to assess the fit of your saddle, and having it checked on a regular basis as your horse ages and changes shape, all the while maintaining the care and upkeep of the saddle, will ensure happy riding for both you and your horse for many eventful years.
Abbey England is a global leather wholesaler, renowned for supplying some of the world’s leading saddle manufacturers and designers with fine leather and saddle trees, including Aulton & Butler and Lariot & Walsall Riding, amongst many others.
As an active member of the British Equine Trade Association (BETA), and recognised by the Society of Master Saddlers, Abbey England has become the forerunner in equestrian style and saddle sophistication, earning the company a Royal Warrant to supply the Queen’s mounted Royal Guard.
For more information, visit abbeyengland.com