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Horse Articles :: Fitting a Barrel Racing Saddle
Fitting a Barrel Racing Saddle
If you are going to take part in barrel racing it is crucial
that the saddle you use fits correctly. A fancy saddle is
not neccessary but a well fitting saddle is and could make
the difference between winning and losing the race. Saddle
selection is critical and includes consideration of the fit
of the saddle for both horse and rider, the correct type of
saddle and of course a price within your range. Do not be
tempted to go for a cheap saddle. A good saddle will last
for many years and is a good investment so don't skimp now
as you will surely regret it later.
Fitting the Saddle to the Horse
The fit of the saddle for the horse is perhaps the most
important consideration. The fit must be good enough to prevent
pressure points on the horse as these will cause pain and
interfere with his free movement. The bars of the tree can
interfere with movement if the saddle is not correctly fitted.
There is a misconception that barrel saddles without bars
can be fitted to any horse but this is untrue. An ill fitting
saddle, even without bars can cause pain to the horse and
also interfere with his normal movement is it sits too far
back on the horse. It is essential then to ensure that the
saddle fits correctly or behavioral and performance problems
will always arise.
These are the points to consider when fitting the saddle.
Ride the horse for a short time then inspect the area beneath
the saddle. If there are dry areas this could indicate pressure
points. If the saddle is ill fitting there may be circles
of dryness on both sides although the rest of the back is
wet from sweating.The saddle is pressing down in these dry
areas and will lead to pressure points where the skin is damaged
and sore.This problem will not be relieved by the use of more
padding and means that the saddle does not fit correctly and
should not be used.
Fitting the Saddle to the Rider
When choosing a new barrel saddle it is equally important
to make sure it fits the rider as well as the horse. Different
sizes and styles of saddle fit differently and may not suit
all riders. If the saddle is ill fitting to the rider it will
be uncomfortable and make it hard to keep balanced. In general
barrel saddles have high cantles in the back and the leather
of the jockeys and fenders is often rough to help in keeping
the seat. The horn tends to be taller to improve the grip
during rough maneuvers and the stirrups are often made to
give a better angle to help the feet stay in place.
Purchasing a Barrel Saddle
There are some dealers who will let you test out the saddle
for a short time before purchase so that you can be sure of
a good fit. If the fit is not good you can either return the
saddle for your money back or try a replacement. As barrel saddles,
and indeed all saddles, are expensive it is vital that you purchase
one that not only fits both horse and rider but is made of good
quality materials to ensure it lasts well.
About the Author
For more information and some good deals on cheap barrel, western,
English and other new and used saddles check out Used