Twitter "Question and Answer" session with Tricia Bracegirdle, Wednesday 29 April 2015.
Typical questions / statements on saddles and their fitting for the Twitter hour.
How often should a saddle be checked by my saddle fitter?
With a CHILDERIC saddle because it doesn't change shape due to the foam panels, we recommend that you get it checked if you feel there has been a change in your balance, change in the horses way of going or if you have had long periods of rest or you have change the type of work the horses doing.
Saddles that have been filled with will flocking should be checked, in my opinion, at least twice a year as they change shape with use.
What's the difference between flocking and foam panels?
The main difference is that the wool flocking will change shape and the foam panels will not. They will not remember the horse or the rider. Foam panels are very useful if you have one saddle that has to do lots of horses. They require less maintenance but on the downside they do take longer to alter because there is more involved to change in the shape of the panels.
My horse is medium wide what's that in a Childeric saddle?
Buying a saddle is a bit like buying clothes, different manufacturers offer different sizes and shapes and fit horses differently. At childeric we try to use the biggest tree we can as we want the horses to be as free as possible, we are lucky that the foam in the panels can be shaped so precisely
As long as the saddle fits my horse I don't mind how it fits me.
This is something we hear a lot! It's not, however, something we believe. If a saddle doesn't fit the rider their balance will be wrong, their instructions will be blurred and their stability will be compromised. All this leads to tension, imbalance, confusion and irregular pressure through the panels.
I need very big blocks as I need to be kept secure in the saddle.
In most instances this is a misnomer. If a rider is balanced they won't need big blocks. It is very important the blocks are in the correct place for the rider and for the job they are using the saddle for. They are there to guide, not force, whether it be for a dressage or jumping saddle.
I have several horses. Can they share a saddle?
With a CHILDERIC saddle the answer is yes. We would work with you to confirm suitability of course but in general because the saddle doesn't remember the horse it's been used on it won't adversely affect the next horse. Our tree is very accommodating because of its unique design. We would always recommend you work with your saddle fitter whichever brand of saddle to make sure you are not going to cause any problems in the future.
My legs are swinging. How can I stop that?
Usually because you are gripping with your knees which is either because your saddle is out of balance, it's blocks are in the wrong place or a training issue. Your trainer and saddle fitter should work together to ascertain which it is. Certain kind of stirrups can promote gripping with the knee too because of the instability in the foot.
I am always being told to sit up, that I lean forward but my back hurts when I do that.
Again, this is a balance problem with the saddle or the saddle not fitting the rider. Sometimes a horse is downhill but that can be solved with the saddles balance too.
When I am doing dressage my horse doesn't like cantering in the left rein. Does this mean my saddle doesn't fit?
Not necessarily. Performance of the horse depends on many many factors, the saddle being one of them. In most instances there will be a rider or horse issue that causes this. Asymmetry and crookedness in the horse or rider being the main areas to look at. With the Childéric saddle because the panels do not change shape with use it won't make the problem worse. We would work with the trainer and physio to see how the problem can be solved as well as checking the saddle fits!