The ultimate goal of saddle fitting is to balance the saddle on the horse’s back to evenly distribute the rider's weight and properly clear the horse's anatomy (withers, spine, shoulder, and rib cage), allowing for freedom of movement and for the rider to sit in an effortlessly balanced seat.
The blue line represents the balance of the saddle; note that it is even front to back (this does not mean that pommel and cantle have to be even). The yellow line represents the balance of the rider. Note that it is at ninety degrees to the saddle balance line. The red line represents the horse’s back. Note the wither clearance and that it runs perpendicular to the saddle balance line.
How do we get to this point?
Example of the model Portos:
7 tree width options, 4 seat sizes, 2 twist widths, 11 flap cuts, 8 panel flocking alterations = 4,928 possible variations
Thus, you can be sure that there is also a solution for your specific requirements. To find these, we roughly outline the following:
Tree widths: the appropriate tree width is defined by an even pressure distribution over the entire surface of the saddle tree points with sufficient freedom for the withers.
Seat size: the right seat size is one of the few parameters that doesn't relate to the horse’s anatomy. It is impossible to balance the saddle if the seat size is too small for the rider. The seat size is correct when the rider's seat bones are in the center of gravity (lowest point in the saddle).
Panels: our panel options along with different flocking variations enable the accommodation of diverse withers shapes as well as proper fit along the horse's spine. Again, the goal is to balance the saddle. To this end, we have developed customized solutions that take into account shoulder shape disparities, as well as rib cage circumference. By including these considerations in our fit determination we help you achieve better performance from your horse. Our patented spring tree ensures that the rider's weight is only carried over the length of the tree. Our panels are at least as long as the tree (otherwise no balance) and only as long as necessary. So the effective contact area (where pressure from the rider on the tree is transferred to the horse) is 42cm (16.5 in) maximum and 38cm (15 in) minimum.
Flaps: the flap cut is determined by the leg’s anatomy and riding style preferences (short or long stirrup leathers) of the rider. Up to 11 different flap cuts are available depending on the saddle model. Regardless of cut, our panels and flaps are flexible around the area of the tree points in order to ensure the horse's shoulder freedom of movement.