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Saddle pads made of neoprene serve many purposes. Neoprene is non slip and easy to clean and generally provides some protection for your horse's back. They come in many styles, including therapeautic for your horse, and rebalancing types for fit adjustment. they are generally very cost effective.
The saddle should be chosen for the type of riding that you will be doing the most frequently. It can be English or Western, and in those 2 Disclipline Divisions, you have a world of selections.
In Choosing a Saddle To Fit you, the Cantle should not extend more than 1 palm width past the back of your bottom when you are sitting in the saddle.
Your Knee should comfortably fit behind the Knee Roll in English. With a balanced amount of saddle in front and behind the point of the knee.
Let your legs hang naturally as you sit in the lowest point of the saddle, on the lowest point of your seat bones. Do you legs hang ever so slightly behind you...helping to assist you in maintaining a correct position (yet not making your body feel thrown forward at all)
Once you have put on saddle leathers (for English saddles)...(in the shop you should be able to put on leathers, and get a feel for how the stirrups will hang from the bars)...do they help your position or hinder it?
A perfect saddle for anyone, should ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS help to keep you in a perfect natural balanced position once on the horse. You worry about the heels down, the saddle should do the rest! It should be comfortable (even new) and it should not interfere with a relaxed and natural position in any way. The flaps shouldn't extend down past the widiest part of the calf of your leg.
Remember, quality always has it's own rewards...should you have to sell the saddle earlier than expected, a quality, well fitted saddle never looses it's value; but value priced saddles almost never resell for what you initially paid. You will be riding in this saddle and want to be comfortable, thus your horse will be comfortable as well.
Putting up the bridle is in the same manner as the Single or Snaffle bridle. The curb chain/strap, and lip chain/strap are done up after the reins have been drawn up onto the throatlatch. Then finish off with drawing the noseband through the snaffle bit rings and the bridle is completed and ready to hang up.
After a bridle has been removed from the horse. Use leather clean wipes to remove any & all debris and sweat stains. Use a squeezed out sponge from water to wipe the bit clean. Take the center fastener from the reins (where reins meet on the neck of the horse) and draw them up into the center of the bridle. This way the reins are inside of the center of the bridle. Take the throatlatch and cross over the back of the bridle to the opposite side, draw the middle of the bridle (inside) and pick up the reins. Draw the throatlatch upwards to the opposite side in the back of the bridle, and attach. Take each side of the noseband & keeping the noseband circling the outside of the bridle, loop the strap through the bit rings on the same side as the noseband strap, and then fasten them together at the back of the bridle. This keeps your bridles clean, neat, secured and looking orderly in your tack room, waiting for the next use.
FIT! FIT! FIT! Whatever u buy , it must FIT you and your horse and be properly balanced, for comfort, to assist positioning you, and to protect your horse from pain or injury.
A good rule of thumb for rider fit is four fingers space behind your seat to the top edge of the cantle, and three or four inches below your knee bend to the bottom of the flap, depending on the use. The saddle should allow you to feel balanced when on your horse, not force you to work to maintain proper position or balance.
There are many factors affecting saddle fit for your horse, including conformation, training, physical development and purpose. Some of the newer brands offer adjustable trees and air panel systems to assist in better fits. Generally, the saddle should sit balanced on the horse (center of the seat being the deepest point)without pinching at the shoulders and be gulletted wide enough to clear any back bone pressure. Certain tree and panel styles allow more shoulder freedom and distribute the weight across your horse's back more evenly.
Money well spent on a quality saddle is never wasted, they hold value and often increase over time.
Sheepskin and wool pads offer the benefits of natural fiber.
Wool does not allow significant heat build up making it ideal for use when riding for long periods of time.It is able to absorb up to 40 per cent of its own weight in moisture without feeling wet. This drastically reduces the chance of rubbing or chaffing.It's natural fibers deform and reform to their original state during and after use allowing the saddle pad to mould easily to the horse's back and the saddle.It is very durable and able to withstand regular washing.
Many types are now available, with cotton or original sheepskin backing, in many therapeutic styles.
Wool is initially more expensive than some man made materials.
Australian saddles are a modified version of our English and Western Saddles. Thinner swells, with or without a horn, very high deep seat with a cantle that resembles a Dressage cantle. Very long stirrup flaps with English stirrups. With or without a breastplate and/or a crupper.
Every bit should rest comfortably in the horse's mouth, with a 1 finger or 1/2" width on either side between the corner of the bit, and the side of the horse's mouth to avoid pinching. The bit should be high enough in the mouth that the horse can not easily get his tongue over the bit while being comfortable. While each type of bit will lay slightly different in a horse's mouth, a good rule of thumb for most snaffle bitsis one wrinkle in the lip above the bit when laying softly in the mouth. IF it needs to be changed , then move the cheek pieces up or down a notch trying to balance the adjustment equally on either side of the Bridle.
To Properly remove a bridle with no curb or lip chain or attachments:
Have a halter with lead rope attached on the near arm. Tie the lead rope around the horse's neck lower than the reins. Place reins at the mid neck length as though for riding. Loop the near arm through the reins. Undo the noseband, then the throatlatch. Take ahold of the crown with far hand. As the bridle comes off of the front of the horse's face, allow the horse to release the bit from his mouth before taking the bit away from the horse. Once the bit is clear/free, then let the bridle slide down the far arm until elbow level. Use the near, and far hand to draw the halter over the horse's head, and fasten on the near side. Slide the reins over the horse's head, and completely remove. Undo the lead rope from the horse's neck, and either cross tie, tether tie, or lead to.....
An unbalanced or ill fitting saddle may cause soreness or behavioral problems in the horse and a loss of position and effectiveness for the rider. Saddles come in various tree sizes, some being adjustable. A too narrow saddle will cause pinching at the withers or restriction in the freedom of shoulder movement , therefore inhibiting the horses natural performance. A too wide saddle can distribute the weight of the rider across the horse's loins causing back soreness and bucking. Proper gullet width is also of importance to avoid pressure on the prostheses of the backbone, restricting lateral flexibility and causing skeletal injury and damage. Some newer saddle models offer adjustable trees, so they may be fitted to different horse sizes and body types.
The Double Bridle in Saddleseat is very different in appearance to the Double Bridle used in Dressage.
In Saddleseat, the snaffle elevates the front end of the horse, from the head down through the front end motion.
The curb provides the flexion to come behind the vertical, and keeps the horse's motion from becoming strung out. Rather, the curb keeps the horse's motion rolled and bent.
Use the same method as a Single or Snaffle Bridle to the point of taking ahold of the crown. Before you take ahold of the crown piece; undo the curb chain/strap on the near side. You shouldn't have to undo the lip strap/chain as well, but look and if it appears that it will restrict the removal of the bridle in any way, then do so. Take ahold of the crown piece, and remove. Put on the halter in the same manner as a single or snaffle bridle.
Lift back, wither, air cushion and therapeutic pads all assist in gaining a more correct fit and balance for you, your saddle, and your horse. They can protect and or prevent back and shoulder soreness or injury when properly used. They will help you to rebalance your saddle if it does not easily fit a certain horse, allowing you to maintain proper riding position. All should be used under the initial supervision of someone familiar with each type's purpose.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|