Tips to Buying a Saddle

For many years now, I have been looking for a saddle that not only fits me, but also Tofino.  I looked into a number of brands trying to narrow it down and finally ended up with a great one just this year. It was such a hassle so I am hoping this post will at least help a few out there who need a new saddle.

There is another post I wrote a while back on saddle fitting tips which is something I will not cover on this post.

  1. Type of Saddle: There are so many types of saddles depending on your discipline, and even then, there are other styles and seat types (deep, semi, flat, close contact, etc.) 

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  2. Budget: Saddles can be pretty expensive, but you can also get them for a lower price depending on material and technology.
  3. New/Used: New saddles take a while to break in, but shape naturally to your horse. Used saddles may have faults but may have options of re-flocking or adjusting tree.
  4. Saddle Fitting for Horse: Try to get a saddle fitter to measure your horse and explain how your horses shape is. This would narrow down options for you, as for example, Tofino is short, stocky, and wide and there are certain saddles especially made for his body. (saddle fitting tips)
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  5. Saddle Fitting for Rider: As the saddle fitter to also measure you to better know the length of flap, knee roll, blocks and seat size you need. There are saddles that are suited for taller people, for women, for men, for the type of style you ride with too.
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  6. Adjustability: Make sure to check whether the saddle is adjustable (tree & panels). Prestige Italia makes saddle trees adjustable up to 3 or 4 times, and panels can be re-flocked, however, I personally chose Latex panels which cannot be changed but naturally adjust to your horses back. I personally would always go for adjustable tree as your horse will change shape as they grow older, and to keep a close contact, it’s best to not use too much padding.
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  7. Material: Saddles can be synthetic or leather, and within those, there are further options such as waterproofness, lux leather, carbon etc. This isn’t super important, it depends on your budget and what you personally prefer.
  8. Technology: I personally love Prestige Italia as they are always innovative and come up with new technology to improve your horses motions and the riders seating. My saddle has honeycomb tree and shoulder free technology which makes it flexible and allows your horse to move without friction, and not to mention how light the saddle is!
  9. Brand: Make sure you read about the brands reputation and also ask around and see people’s experiences or reviews with saddle brands for not only quality, but customer service too.
  10. Try: Ride in multiple saddle options, brands, sizes, to make sure it fits both you and your horse well. Don’t be afraid to ask for a trial period. That’s what tester saddles are for.
  11. Store: Depending on where you are, there may be a few store options. Make sure you look into the ones available in your area and compare prices. Sometimes it may actually be cheaper to order overseas and get it shipped rather than buy locally, but warranty and check ups are a lot easier if purchased within the country.

I ended up going for the Prestige Italia X-Michel Robert Anniversary saddle from Horseworld UAE.

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Hope this helps 🙂 If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

5 Ways to Engage Your Horse’s Hind

One of the important muscles that a horse needs for a healthy body is strong hind quarters as they act as a “spring box”.

The first factor to consider before trying to develop your horse’s body is to make sure they are receiving a proper diet with enough nutrients to help develop and maintain muscle tone. Tofino is luckily sponsored by Cavalos Equine Care & Supplies for Reverdy Feed which has been working amazingly for him thankfully ❤

Here are some 4 tips to help engage your horse’s hind:

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  1. Hill work: As mentioned above, this is the easiest way to help your horse gain hind strength. Going up and down hill in walk and trot is enough without having to canter (safer not to).
  2. Transitions: Try transitioning often and smoothly while being active. This helps the horse control and balance their body.
  3. Cavaletti/Ground poles: Raised poles or even ground poles not only help to better balance your horse but also allows them to strengthen their body by lifting up and down. Concentrate on the action rather than the height, making sure your horse pick themselves up.
  4. Rein Back: Try going back in small steps between exercises, and even up a hill to help engage the hind. Make sure your horse properly reins back without dropping their back so they use themselves correctly.
  5. Stretch: Movements that help to lengthen the back limbs help create the subtleness to work well, balance, and develop strong muscles.

IMG_6746Hope this helps 🙂