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If you're new to horseback riding, picking a saddle can be a difficult task. Assessing a saddle fit can be a little complicated for a beginner and a saddle that is fitted incorrectly can lead to big problems. If you're unsure on where to begin, talk to someone who is experienced in the area (a more experienced rider, a riding instructor, a worker at a horse tack store, etc.) to help you find the best fit.
When looking at a saddle, put it on your horse's back without a saddle pad underneath it and assess the fit. If you stand behind your horse, you should notice that the gullet (the valley that runs down the underside of the saddle) is not pressed against your horse's spine—there should be space there. If the gullet is against the spine or withering at the front, you will not be able to make it fit correctly—not even with padding. Instead of worrying about adjustments, find a good saddle that fits.
If you can't have your horse with you when trying out saddle's, describe to the salesperson the exact build of your horse. Is he stocky and broad, or tall and thin? Do his withers stand up high? A good sales person knows a lot about both horses and saddles and should be able to set you up with the type of saddle that will most likely fit your equine.