The Holistic Approach
All horses have a natural laterality and will be left or right side dominant. For some horses, unnatural patterns of movement, poor muscle development and unusual postures exist. The cause may have been accident, illness, poor training methods and ill fitting saddles. Sometimes the horse is capable of sorting the problems out as soon as the saddle has been changed or refitted. However, some will benefit from the additional support of a vet, chiropractor, osteopath, Bowen therapist, Massage therapist or other Equine Body work. If appropriate, we will discuss this with you during the consultation.
It is important that the shape and size of your saddle is correct and comfortable for you, too. Because of the influence that we as riders have upon our horses it is also very important to take the rider(s) into account. We find that it can often be very helpful to discuss any rider bio-mechanic issues that may arise during your consultation.
For example, a riders proprioception* can lead the rider to believe the saddle is ‘crooked’. (*the ability to sense the position and location and orientation and movement of the body and its parts).
Please remember that in the UK you are currently required to obtain veterinary permission to have most therapists work with your horse.
The Consultation Procedure
The consultation procedure is designed to help you gather information and learn more about saddle design and fitting. The aim is to help you and your horse by sharing this information and using the experience that we have gained over the years.
We believe that the relationship between owner and saddle consultant is equally as important as that which you have with your other equestrian professionals: farrier, hoof care specialist, trainer, vet, dentist, and other health care practitioners. Because of this we offer a full follow-up service including remedial saddling help, regular saddle checks, flocking alterations, and as much help and assistance as you might need in order to achieve and maintain the best results for you and your horse.
Whilst it should be emphasised that a saddle alone cannot be expected to solve all equine and rider problems, many owners report very positive changes. Horses that had previously suffered from unsoundness, poor performance, behavioural and emotional problems, and general ill health, have shown excellent results.
The combination of the saddle design and the system of fitting that we use is designed to minimise the negative impact that saddles often have on the horse’s biomechanical “correctness”, efficiency, and comfort. This creates the potential for better performance, with less physical stress on the limbs, joints, and feet.
The following topics are covered during the consultation:
- The anatomy and biomechanics of the horse.
- Observing your horse’s current posture and muscle development.
- Discussing the way that specific saddle design features can help or hinder your horse.
- Rider Biomechanics and common rider patterns
- Discussing the way that specific saddle design features can help or hinder your riding, too.
- Assessing your current saddle’s design and fit.
- A comparison of your horse’s movement in its own saddle and then in a selection of other saddles.
- By using feedback provided by you when riding your horse, observation of your horse’s movement from the ground, changes in your position and any changes in your horses behaviour, we will be able to assess which saddle and saddle pad would be the most appropriate choice for you and your horse.