Saddle Fitting

We offer an on- and off-site saddle fitting service by our Society of Master Saddlers Qualified Saddle Fitter. We are able to fit a variety of saddles to suit any discipline, be it: Pony Club, Showing, Dressage, Eventing, Showjumping or General purpose. We offer a full repair and maintenance service including flocking and adjustments on any saddle purchased from ourselves. We are also a Society of Master Saddlers Approved Retailer.


  • £50 on site (fitting fee here at our premises) DH6 5JZ
  • £65 off site (up to a radius of 45 miles, a fee of £1 per mile thereafter)
  • Additional Costs (Alterations will be quoted upon assessment carried out in visit.)

Some alterations can be carried out at the time of visit, however some may need to be carried out at our workshop or by the manufacturer. This will be decided at the time.

Things to Know

A flat, hard surface

Where the horse can be stood up and run up in hand.

An area where the horse can be ridden

When the horse is kept at livery or in training yard or similar. This may mean pre-booking the use of the school or manège. Saddle fitting can take a considerable time and the saddle fitter is likely to want the horse owner to ride in a number of short-listed saddles, an essentially important part of the fitting procedure. It is better to overbook than to find time is running out. Make certain the arena is ready on time and in good workable condition.

Be suitably attired

Sometimes clients are unsuitably dressed. Jeans and trainers are always inadequate and they certainly aren’t the most comfortable clothes in which to try out short-listed saddles! (NB: The Society of Master Saddlers always advocates that riders wear a correctly adjusted and well-fitting riding hat).

Examples of numnahs, gel pads etc

The Society of Master Saddlers generally cautions that the well-fitting saddle does not require the addition of anything under it with the possible exception of a thin saddle cloth. There are, however, exceptions to every rule. When there is a valid reason for using a numnah or gel pad the saddle fitter will need to allow for the addition in exactly the same way that you take into account wearing extra thick socks or in-soles with a pair of well-fitting new shoes. Many dressage riders like to make use of a riser pad under the saddle. While occasionally being temporarily beneficial, in general a riser pad tends to unbalance the well-fitting saddle and, in extreme cases, can be the cause of serious problems.

Always discuss possible use with the saddle fitter concerned. If you MUST use a numnah or gel pad, the Saddle Fitter must be informed at the time of the original enquiry – and always before the saddle is fitted. Adding a numnah under a saddle which fits well without it is akin to putting thick insoles into shoes that fit perfectly without them.

Have your own stirrup leathers and girth available

The Saddle Fitter will be carrying girths of various types and sizes, but it is a good idea to have your own available (although, in some instances, it may not be the correct type and length for the saddle you are purchasing). Using your own stirrup leathers is generally more comfortable and avoids the possibility of the saddle fitter’s new leathers becoming marked and therefore difficult to sell.

Presenting a well-groomed horse

The Saddle Fitter would obviously prefer to preserve the condition of his new saddles, but – in addition – the marks left on the well-groomed horse’s back after removal of the saddle are significant because they indicate bearing surfaces and further identify unwanted movement. When the horse is ill-groomed, the marks left by the saddle may be blurred or indistinguishable.

The back assessment

The Saddle Fitter will make an examination of the horse’s back. While it is emphasised that the fitter is not a vet, it is crucial that he is able to recognise (but not diagnose) the existence of problems that might adversely influence the saddle and the way in which it fits. This includes: recognition of asymmetrical development, the existence of white hairs (indicative of earlier pressure points), sores, ‘tightness’, tenderness, scabs etc. Occasionally, the Saddle Fitter may decide that the degree of tenderness / soreness exhibited by the horse necessitates delaying the fitting until the horses’ back has improved. He may suggest that, in the meantime, exercise is restricted to lunging. In some cases he may recommend the owner to seek veterinary advice.

Continued care

Your horse changes shape regularly. The frequency of these changes will relate to their age, training, management and so on. Try to develop an eye to recognise these changes. Viewed on a daily basis, the changes may seem inconsequential, but over a period of just a week or so they can be surprisingly substantial. Have your saddle checked and any necessary adjustments made regularly.

The time of year, the age of the animal, the work being done, even changes of home or rider may considerably alter the way that the saddle fits. We suggest that it is good stable management to monitor this and check for any signs of discomfort to your horse. The fit of all saddles should be checked every 6 months.

We recommend that new saddles should be checked after 6-12 weeks of use, but this is a guide and earlier checks and adjustments may be necessary in some cases. It it your responsibility to arrange this.

Adverse weather conditions

In the event of adverse weather conditions, we may be unable to complete the fitting appointment. In this case, your fitting will be re-scheduled or completed upon a 2nd visit.