• Jessica Parker

The Effect of Saddle Fit on Lead Preference


If you're familiar with Uno, then you know about our challenges with holding and maintaining the right lead. He first came to me when he was four in 2011. He had LOVELY movement and no issues with leads. He DID tend to want to "lean" right even at four. As we put shoes on him, rode him treed saddles, etc. his movement started deteriorating. He had automatic lead changes at four, and lost them for a while, was stepping off his right lead often, would cross canter often, etc. Things improved a bit over the couple of years we showed, but maintaining his right lead became a full time job, he would swap at the base of fences, etc. His trot started to lack its float as did his canter. I tried numerous custom treed saddles for jumping, paid thousands of dollars for them. None helped, and all made him sore within six months. Fast forward to late 2013 as I was starting to exit the show world and started questioning some things... in early 2014 I had his shoes removed. I had seen a Mustang Soft Ride in CalRanch and bought it. I sold my jumping saddle. I knew the Mustang Soft Ride was NOT a forever solution, but it did seem to help us. I rigged a wool western pad and cut a spinal channel out of it and we rode in that for quite a while. In 2014 and 2015 I tried a few different treeless saddles and ended up liking Bob Marshall Sport Saddles the most. Purchased one and a Skito pad. Through all of this, his challenges with his right lead would fluctuate. Bottom line was holding his right lead was always a chore for both of us. He ALSO had a harder time holding it when cantering while free lunging, so that added to my assumption that it was just him... Fast forward to mid 2019. Uno was starting to have significant trouble with the right lead (hopping, tail swishing, etc.) and getting a bit frustrated about it. So we switched back to the Mustang Soft Ride. It was better, but still not great. Fast forward to 2020 and I had the opportunity to try an EDIX Saddles Courville GP and... wow... I know I did the best that I knew how and the best that I could, but I feel so badly that Uno has been uncomfortable all of this time. Our routine has not changed. We do not ride a ton, maybe once a week plus he'll teach a lesson or two and with some breaks of no riding for a few weeks depending on lesson schedules and yet, look at the video from February. Beautiful, apparently comfortable, soft through his topline. Ugh. If only I'd known... If your horse has any trouble with going forward, with "leaning" one way or another, turning one way or the other, picking up or maintaining a certain lead, etc. PLEASE reassess your saddle fit. Research! Experts told me that the treed saddles fit, but they clearly didn't. So don't feel like you have to have access to an expert or have to trust one. Do your research. Learn about saddle fit. Learn how to take molds of your horse's back to compare to your saddle. Trust your horse when they're telling you that they're uncomfortable. Feel free to contact me, I am happy to help you figure out how to assess your saddle fit. Music: http://www.bensound.com

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EDIX Saddle Pads

In addition to a superb line of treeless and soft tree saddles, EDIX has developed customized saddle pads tailored to their specific models of treeless and soft tree saddles. Many of these pads includ