One Saddle, Multiple Horses

When talking about the – One Saddle, Multiple Horses – scenario, a little bit of common sense goes a long way. Quite a few people have asked us if they can use their custom-fit saddle on multiple horses. The answer is a definite ‘maybe’. Whether your saddle is custom fit to a specific horse or a generic, off the shelf tack shop saddle, results will vary based on a how different the two horses really are.

There are several things to keep in mind whenever you start using one saddle on different horses.

  • How much we weigh
  • How often we ride
  • How long we ride
  • How far we ride
  • How fast we ride

A 110 pound rider who rides once a week for and hour and only goes a couple of miles will be able to get away with a saddle that doesn’t fit so well. Conversely, a 220 pound rider who is conditioning an endurance horse and is riding three or more times a week for two or more hours each time and putting on 50 or more miles a week doesn’t have much of a fudge-factor for an ill-fitting saddle. The more the shape of a horse’s back differs from the shape of the underside of the saddle the worse your results will be – especially a heavier rider who is demanding more from their horse.

Sometimes using a different pad can help. If you have a saddle that is a bit too wide for a horse, simply using a thicker pad will close in the saddle gullet basically making a wide tree into a medium width saddle tree. Also, if a horse has more rock or dip in its back, you can experiment with different thickness pads designed to fill in the middle of a horse’s  back. These are sometimes called bridging pads.

It’s a good idea to check for signs of back soreness immediately after every ride. Spending several minutes massaging your horse’s back after a ride will familiarize you with what is normal for that horse and then if you start noticing soreness after using a different saddle you will know you’ve gone too far.

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