As a saddle fitter, when you are visiting a new horse for the first time you are never quite sure what to expect. From years of experience I have learnt to take the owners description with a pinch of salt. Their beloved average pony that turns out to be virtually table top or the really narrow thoroughbred that turns out to actually be quite normal but happens to have a prominent wither. You do generally have an idea from the breed description of what to expect profile wise but this isn’t a set rule.
Hunt horses are traditionally tall and scopey, along with the seasonal changes you expect between the opening to meet to the end of the season where they have lightened up in condition considerably, and a generous panel is usually required.
The delightful Irish Draught ‘Fanny’ (8yo) was no exception, knowing James likes his big horses, I had an idea of what to expect, 17.2 prominent wither accentuated with significant hollows behind the scapula and a large differential to the back of the saddle. No off the peg saddle was going to work on this big girl.
We custom made a Foxhunter which is built specifically for this job with a great dealing of panel and bearing surface and a very comfortable saddle for a days hunting.
Over the last 18 months this has had a few tweaks and seasonal adjustments.
‘Fanny’ is now enjoying a slight career change and has been show jumping more recently and in regular training so time for a saddle change to a Loxley Jump LX. Visiting her yesterday I was thrilled to see how well she has developed, although her overall width hasn’t changed considerably the visual prominent withers have disappeared somewhat as she has filled out nicely behind the scapula with little atrophy, her back has also come up and strengthened so the differential is not so significant either. Really pleasing changes to see on a horse of this size, which I would attribute to a well fitting saddle with wool panels that has allowed her to develop and great training.