Whee! We’re in the December 2016 issue of Horse Illustrated, y’all. To read the article FREE on Horse Illustrated’s site, click here and it’ll open in a new tab for ya. (Fun game to play: Spot 3 iffy things about the saddle fit in the stock photo at that link. I’ll reveal the answers at the bottom of this post, here at The Saddle Geek.)
Here it is on the rack at my local Barnes and Noble:
To new readers who found us through Horse Illustrated‘s December 2016 issue:
Welcome to The Saddle Geek! You can browse some of my latest blog posts using the sidebar at left. Or if you prefer, here’s three of the most popular posts to date:
- How to Tell If Your Local Saddle Fitter is Good…Even if You’re New to Saddle Fitting
- 6 Ways to Get Better English Saddle Fitting Advice
- Broke Girl’s Guide to French and Italian Saddles, $0-$1000
I also have a Digital Saddle Fitting Advice service, for folks who want more personalized, in-depth advice about their unique saddle fitting situation.
For longtime readers: You’re the best! Thank you for being part of this amazing journey.
There’s a saying in the entrepreneurial world: “Don’t start a business unless your customers ask you to do it.” And that’s exactly how The Saddle Geek was born–because wonderful equestrians started asking me for advice. I never dreamed it would get this big–that I would see my name in a magazine that I read religiously as a 10-year-old, horse crazy little girl.
I can’t wait to keep expanding and sharing with you in the new year. I’ve got big plans for expansion in 2017. Videos? Ebooks? Webinars? We’ll see what the New Year holds.
But know that when I’m up late at night or early in the morning, squeezing in a blog post or Digital Saddle Fitting Consultation between my day job and my graduate dissertation and being the mother of a toddler…it’s you guys, my readers, who keep me going.
I see how many of you actually read my emails from the mailing list, and actually click through and read the blog posts. Your support is amazing, and I notice it, and it means the world to me. Thanks.
PS, Horse Illustrated got a big makeover this year, and it’s much cooler than it was before.
Lemme keep it real for a sec: Horse Illustrated was stuck in a rut for awhile there. But this year, the magazine got a highly visual, Instagram-tastic refresh that makes it a lot more readable…and dare I say awesome? For the first time in years, I would gladly be caught in public, purchasing an issue of Horse Illustrated. I’m super proud to be in their 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition for December 2016.
So if you haven’t checked it out in awhile, give it a browse the next time you’re at Barnes and Noble or another place that sells Horse Illustrated. Or if you like, just nab a subscription already. It’s crazy cheap at $7.99 for the Digital Edition and $12.99 for the print edition.
Answer Key: 3 Iffy Things About the Saddle Fit in that Stock Photo at Horse Network
So, did you spot the issues in that stock photo? I’m guessing the editors chose hta tphoto because of the subtle fit problems.
Here’s the issues I saw:
- A-shaped tree on a wide horse that may need a U-shaped tree. This looks like a wide little horse. Based on the color and mane, it might be a Haflinger. Based on how the pommel is perching like a party hat on the horse’s shoulders, this saddle isn’t just too narrow–it may also have the wrong tree shape for this horse’s body. Some wide-shaped horses benefit from a U-shaped “hoop” tree, where the tree point angles come down in an upside-down U shape instead of an A shape. Hard to tell without seeing better photos of the horse’s bare back. That’s one reason that I ask for a “rear shot” of each horse for my Digital Saddle Fitting Advice service: it helps me assess what tree shape might be ideal for each horse. To see a full list of photos that I use for that service and preview the Intake Form, check out this page.
- What’s with the wither gussets and the felt pommel pad? There’s something funky going on here. The wither gussets and felt pommel pad suggest that someone thinks this horse needs more wither clearance. But based on how this A-shaped pommel is perching like a party hat, I’m worried that this rider is worrying about wither clearance without considering what “propping up” the pommel will do elsewhere on the saddle. Which brings us to…
- The tree and panels may be too straight for this horse’s topline, creating a pressure point at the back of the saddle. In the picture, this saddle’s cantle looks lower than the pommel. The saddle’s rear gussets, at the very back of the saddle, are poking into the horse’s flank. And while I can’t quite see under the saddle, my strong guess is that this saddle is bridging in the middle. In other words, by lifting up the pommel on this saddle, the rider created empty airspace in the middle of the saddle area + a big pressure point in the back. The better solution, overall, is probably a wider saddle with a U-shaped hoop tree, a more curvy profile to the overall topline, and–if wither clearance is still a concern after all of that, use some other design solutions to make sure that’s taken care of.
Anyway, there’s a little taste of the kind of analysis I do in my Digital Saddle Fitting Advice videos. And it’s even more fun when I’ve got my screen annotation tools! I love walking clients step-by-step through their saddle cases, with the help of my screencast software. If you’re ready to press fast forward on your saddle search, check out more info here–and you can even see a short preview of a consult in the video at this link!