PRIORITY #1 – COMPLETE CLEARANCE OF THE WITHERS
It is essential that there is absolutely NO contact between the underside of your saddle and the top and sides of your horse’s withers. The height of two to three fingers is a good guideline for clearance of the pommel. VersaFit shims can help raise the pommel of the saddle to provide additional clearance if needed. Also, remember to always pull your pad high into the gullet of your saddle. Some brands of pads will draw down tight on the wither. Our VersaFit pads eliminate this problem because they are designed to give generous wither clearance.
PRIORITY #2 – FREEDOM FOR THE SHOULDERS
Another essential: eliminate pressure, pinching and restriction of the shoulders. While some people do understand this concept, unfortunately many are thinking of the shoulder shape when the horse is standing still, rather than the horse in motion. There can be a big difference. Your horse’s comfort and performance depend upon your awareness of this.
Key Saddle-Fit Success To Do’s: Locate the back edge of the shoulder blade (scapula) while your horse is standing still. Feel where the firm muscular area drops off. Then, lift his knee up and forward to feel how the powerful muscles bulge as they pull the scapula back and down. This is similar to what happens when your horse is in full stride. It’s important that there is room under the under the front region of your saddle for his scapula to freely slide back and forth without restriction. The VersaFit Shim System can guarantee full freedom of movement for your horse’s shoulders.
PRIORITY #3 – SPACE FOR THE LIFTING BACK
Your horse carries ALL the weight of rider and saddle on his back, and yet he must be able to lift his back order to engage his hind end for sound biomechanics. If your saddle puts too much pressure in the wrong places, your horse will have difficulty or pain when he tries to lift his back – compromising health and happiness. If your saddle currently presses down into the curve of his back while standing, it will restrict him from lifting his back while you ride. The VersaFit Shim System can help create just the right amount of space so that your horse can use his back as nature intended.
PRIORITY #4 – RIDER BALANCE
If the rider is unbalanced, the horse will feel uneven or changing pressure as the rider tries to find equilibrium. A saddle too low in front will tip the rider forward, causing her to try to lean back to compensate. One too high in front will tip the rider backwards, causing her to try to lean forward to find her balance. The VersaFit Shim System can provide micro-adjustments to help the rider find that ideal balance point.