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When is the right time to buy a custom saddle for my horse? This question is asked by many horse owners when thinking about breaking in a young horse. Does it make sense to have a custom saddle made at the beginning, when the horse will change so much?? Or do I start with a used saddle or an inexpensive alternative??
How to even try a saddle on a horse that has not yet been broken in? How far should my horse be in training for a custom saddle to make sense? Can the saddle "grow" with my horse?? How often do I have to change or adjust my custom saddle for a young horse?? We would like to provide some food for thought on these questions here.
When is the right time?
Breaking in – a magical time
Breaking in a young horse is a magical time. Something very special in the life of the horse, which now enters the world of riding horses. As a horse owner, you want to do everything right and give the horse the best basic conditions to do so. For the horse to be physically able to carry the rider, it should be at least 3 years as. If the horse has enjoyed good rearing conditions, it should be healthy and strong at this stage – if not, it is worth giving it a little more time to catch up with this development.
The basic work has already begun – the horse has already learned the little horse ABC through regular contact with humans, ground work and lunging. It can be touched, groomed, led and lunged everywhere. Ground work introduces the horse to many stimuli and gymnastic work supports muscle development and balance. Now is the time to make acquaintance with the first saddle.
Prerequisite – getting used to the saddle
To get the horse used to the feeling of a saddle on the back, we recommend a step-by-step approach: First you can get the horse used to being "saddled" only with a saddle blanket to be. This can z.B. can be attached to the horse’s back with a rubber belly strap of a horse blanket when lunging. In this way it can get used to feeling a very light but constant pressure on its back.
The next step is to "saddle" the horse with our OMEGA Innovation Pad, for example. This comes closer to the feeling of the saddle and is a great way to practice harnessing, mounting and dismounting the horse.
Now it is time to get the horse used to the saddle itself. So that the careful preparation is not ruined with one stroke, it is important to pay attention to a good fit of the saddle. For this reason, we strongly advise against starting with just any saddle that has not been fitted. Only a well-fitting saddle can provide the horse with the greatest possible comfort and make riding a positive, enjoyable experience for the horse.
Made to measure saddle or used saddle?
Does it have to be a made-to-measure saddle, or can you start with a second-hand saddle?? The highest priority in this decision is the fit and adaptability of the saddle. When choosing the type of saddle, we generally recommend to pay attention to a large contact surface for a pressure distribution that is gentle to the back. Especially for young horses that do not yet have developed and trained back muscles, this feature contributes significantly to the horse’s well-being under the saddle.
It is advisable to involve the saddler of your confidence in the question of a suitable saddle at an early stage. The saddler can get a picture of the horse and its development on the spot. The saddler can determine the measurements of the horse, even if the horse is not yet routinely ridden. If a used saddle is available that can be adapted to the young horse’s measurements, this is a good solution for this moment. It should be noted, however, that a used saddle can always involve a compromise. Since the saddle was originally built for a different horse, it may reach the limits of adaptability over time. In contrast to a used saddle, the future development of the horse can already be estimated and planned for when a new made-to-measure saddle is made. This allows the greatest possible scope for adaptation throughout the horse’s life.
Tailor-made saddle concept for young horses
What are the requirements for a made-to-measure saddle for a young horse?? It makes sense to have a made-to-measure saddle made for the young horse right from the start. This ensures that the horse is given the best possible start in life as a riding horse. But what must this saddle be able to do? Here the adaptability of the saddle to changes in the horse is the first priority! Our saddle concept is built on this basic idea. Over time, only the leather cover of the saddle will remain the same. All elements that are made to measure for the horse at the beginning can be changed or even completely exchanged. The saddle tree is built according to the anatomy and the swing of the horse’s back. The padding underneath is made according to the rider’s weight, the horse’s sensitivity and his needs. An adjustable gullet plate and an adjustable ribbed gullet plate adjust the angles of the panels in the front and rear of the saddle independently of each other. If the horse changes in the course of its development, all these parameters can be changed piece by piece with it or even replaced completely.
Summary: Special features
Summary of the most important features of a custom saddle for a young horse: