As a saddle fitting tool, Synergist Saddles is proud to use the EQUImeasure Kit to achieve an unprecedented level of custom fit for all of our saddles. Whether you need a Western or English style horse or mule saddle, we believe that the EQUImeasure Kit is the very best custom saddle fitting tool and method available. An EQUImeasure Kit is included in the purchase price of all of our custom saddles.
Proper saddle fit is one of the most important elements of equine health and performance. Over time, poor saddle fit can trigger behavioral problems, induce physical ailments, and limit equine potential. In addition, equines–like humans–change physically over time. Age, activity type, conditioning level, nutrition, and injury can all affect how a saddle fits an equine back.
The patented EQUImeasure Kit is an easy-to-use, accurate, and affordable way to create a 3-D model of your equine’s back. Of all the methods of fitting custom horse saddles the EQUImeasure Kit is far and away the best choice. This model can be used to:
- Assess the fit of an existing saddle
- Assist in the selection or creation of a new saddle
- Evaluate an equine’s back for asymmetry
PLEASE NOTE: All custom saddle orders include an EQUImeasure Kit!
EQUImeasure Saddle Fitting Tool Video Instructions
What you need: level area, oven, oven mitts, tape, level and marker.
Before you begin:
- Do not use on a wild or untrained animal
- Have one person hold the animal and another to do the mold
- Use oven mitts if your hands are heat sensitive
- Children under age 18 should have adult supervision
- Do not exceed oven temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 Celsius)
- Watch the chapter on using the EQUImeasure Kit on the included DVD
1) Test fit heating tray and EQUImeasure sheet in oven to make sure it will fit without touching oven walls or rack.(a) (The sheet will stick and may be ruined when trying to remove it from the oven). If you have a shallow oven you can cut off up to an inch and a half off the right and left side of the sheet and tray using a utility or box knife.(b)
2) Preheat oven to 190 degrees Fahrenheit (88 Celcius). (c) Never exceed 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 Celsius), as sheet will melt on tray.
Accuracy of temperature settings vary oven to oven. Heating times will vary accordingly.
3) Find a level place for the animal to stand and brush loose hair and dirt from the back.(d) Locate back edge of shoulder blades(e) on each side and mark with tape.(f) One person should stay with the animal and the other can go to the oven.
4) Place the heating tray with the EQUImeasure sheet on it into the preheated oven on the middle rack.(g) Heating times will vary depending on the oven from approximately 7-10 minutes.
5) After 5 minutes remove tray and EQUImeasure and rotate 180 degrees and place back in oven.(h) This will insure the sheet heats uniformly. Begin checking the sheet in 2 more minutes and every minute there after. Do not leave the EQUImeasure sheet in oven unattended.
6) The middle of the EQUImeasure sheet is usually the slowest to warm. The entire sheet must be pliable to form an accurate mold. To test if the entire sheet is pliable and ready to mold, lift the corner to check for flexibility.(i) (Use oven mitts if your hands are sensitive to heat). If this lifts easily and is pliable, grab two corners and raise them up and back.(j) If the center of the sheet flexes easily, it is ready to mold. If not, leave in oven and keep checking in the same manner at 1 minute intervals until sheet is ready.
Take EQUImeasure sheet on tray directly to the horse when you remove it from the oven.
The EQUImeasure sheet must be hot when placed on the animal’s back.
7) Take the EQUImeasure Kit to the animal. Make sure the animal is standing squarely with weight on all four feet. Hold the animal’s head approximately where they hold it when riding. The person holding the animal should keep them quiet and standing still. Feed them treats etc..
8 ) Using two hands, lift the sheet off the tray(k) and place on the animal’s back.(l) Make sure the sheet does not touch itself or it will stick together and ruin the sheet. Use oven mitts if your hands are heat sensitive.
9) Position the EQUImeasure sheet at the back edge of the shoulder blade where you marked with tape,(m) aligning the centerline with the spine. (Use the center line as a general guideline as the animal’s spine is readily identifiable in the mold when finished). Use your hands to smooth the sheet to the contours of the back.(n) Make sure front edge of sheet is at the back edge of the shoulder blade.(m)
If the EQUImeasure sheet does not contour to the animal’s back easily in 2-3 seconds, or it
forms ripples that you can’t smooth out easily, take the sheet back to the oven, it’s not hot enough.
10) The sheet will take approximately 5-10 minutes to setup depending on the outdoor temperature. On hot days try to do this in the early morning or evening and find some shade if you can.
11) Continue to smooth the EQUImeasure sheet until it becomes hard-set and rigid. Keep the animal quiet and standing squarely with weight on all 4 feet. Make sure the front edge of the EQUImeasure is at your reference mark at the back edge of shoulder blades.
12) When the sheet is rigid, remove and hold lightly.(o) Do not place it down on anything as it may need a few additional minutes to set up completely, depending on outside temperature. Check the mold on the animal’s back(p) at 5 minute intervals until you are sure the mold is completely rigid and has held the correct shape.
13) When the mold is rigid, take a level and mark a horizontal line on one side of the mold.(q) This can be used as a reference line for balancing a saddle front to back.
14) Place the mold on end inside your house overnight(r) and check it back on the animal the next day to be completely sure the mold is ready to use.