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Ruah Ranch A new approach to teaching the adult rider!

Events @ Ruah Ranch
June 25, 2012

Kristen Vlietstra

Certified Saddle Fitting Technician (SFT)

Ruah Ranch was fortunate in being able to host a lecture by Kristen Vliestra, Saddle Fitting Technician, on June 25th at the Ranch. Kristen spent nearly two hours explaining the structure of the horse’s back and how a saddle should be designed to best interface with that structure. Ranch resident, Socrates, a pinto gelding, patiently served as a model to illustrate Kristen’s points. Kristen also discussed at length saddle fit with regard to the rider and the differences between men and women with regard to saddle fit. Attendees had the opportunity to sit in different saddles and observed how the saddle design affected them. Though she’d been working with horses and riders since the early morning hours, Kristen took time to answer a plethora of questions.

While Kristen can work with any saddle to maximize the fit for horse and rider, she has been a representative for Schleese Saddlery since 2001. Schleese Saddlery founder, Jochen Schleese, specializes in saddles for the female rider. Anyone interested in learning more about Schleese Saddlery and/or Kristen’s services in the Willamette Valley can contact the Ranch for more information or visit the Schleese Saddlery website.

Informative Links:

Female Saddles - Riding Shouldn't Hurt!

Saddle Fitting and the Young Horse

By Kristen Vleitstra

The length of the saddle on your horse can really effect their comfort and relaxation in a ride. Whether your horse is short backed or long-backed, their "Saddle Support Area" needs to be examined. To check your horses "SSA" start by getting him to stand square on level ground. Draw a straight line up his side where the hair pattern changes from facing towards the hindquarters to facing towards the chest area. In most horses this is the line where the last supporting rib lies in the back. If your saddle extends past this line, it could mean that your saddle is too long for your horse. Common signs of a saddle being too long are 'bucking' (more at the canter), and also the horse wanting to 'park out' (stand with the hind legs extended out behind him instead of underneath his hind end). If your saddle is too long for the horse's back you should seriously consider a replacement, as this problem cannot be solved by reflocking or refitting the saddle.

Reprinted from Saddle Fit News, September 2007