SMART™ saddles are selected first for the rider size, then fitted and balanced to the horse size or shape. Once the size, model and style have been decided on, the rider is able to make slight adjustments to ride comfortably in just one saddle on any horse.
We recommend that a test ride with an Approved Advisor is carried out before ordering a saddle. This opportunity to feel the different sizes and models and receive advice on optimum balance and fit for horse and rider comfort will guide you towards the best saddle choice.
As a general rule, if it is appropriate for the rider to sit on the horse, their saddle size will also be appropriate for the horse. Short backed and small horses can be comfortably ridden in larger saddle sizes because the flexible seat and cantle allow movement with the horse’s back action, avoiding pressure and bridging at the rear; this would not be possible in a traditional treed saddle, which should normally be positioned in front of the last rib.
We can supply a range of 5 saddle sizes from 2 (small child) to 6 (large adult).
The table below is for general guidance only as there are several factors which will affect the choice of saddle size:
Height and weight of the rider are the factors that have most influence on the saddle size required. There are no hard and fast rules as much of the decision will be from the rider’s personal preference – some prefer to be seated snugly, others prefer a roomier feel. It is advisable to try more than one size where there is any doubt.
Hip to knee length: if longer than average, may require a longer seat to give the rider more room from the cantle to the front of the kneeflap. This is particularly important where a short stirrup length is adopted e.g. in the jumping models.
Longer legs can be accommodated by slimmer or contoured knee blocks, while a smaller rider may prefer the support of larger blocks.
Once the saddle has been fitted to the horse’s back, it can then be adjusted to give optimum balance for the rider.
It is extremely important to make any necessary adjustments, as the rider will not feel comfortable if they are not completely in balance. If the rider is not comfortable, they will not ride effectively. It is very quick and easy to fit to the horse, but takes a little more time to check that the set-up of the equipment is optimised for the rider.
The unique concept of the Solution system allows it to be minutely adjusted to accommodate any horse or rider to give the best performance, so in the beginning, it is time well spent to experiment with different fittings. Once you have established your preferences, these are unlikely to change much, if at all, when you change the saddle between horses.