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SHIRES SADDLE RACKIt comes in 5 colours, Black, Baby Pink, Purple, Blue and Red.This is a strongly constructed Saddle Tripod Stand made from plastic coated steel, with detachable legs for easy storage or transportation.
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When it comes to the horse and ridera€™s performance, the clients of Saddle Fitter to the Stars (Sherry Belton) demand the very best advice, support and products money can buy.
If you have visited the Albion Saddlemakers show stand at the National Dressage Championships, Badminton, Burghley or the Altech European Championships in the UK over the last 25 years, or maybe any of the last 4 World Championships, Dressage at Devon in the USA, Aachen in Germanya€?s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands, Gothenburg Horse Show in Sweden then there is a very good chance you have met Saddle Fitter to the Stars, Sherry Belton.
She has spent the last 25 years working with co founder of Albion Saddlemakers, Paul Belton, Chairman and design engineer, to create the best competition saddles on the market today. I have had the very great privilege over the last 30 years of watching some of the most talented horses, riders and trainers in the world at competitions and at their own stables.
For those of you that have met me personally at a show or at one of our sponsored riders yards you will have heard me say a€?saddle fitting is not ROCKET SCIENCEa€?.
I will now write in more depth about the five tips outlined in Choosing Your Perfect Saddle.
The greatest problem is when a rider cannot get comfortable and feel at one with their horse. A saddle being a little bit too big actually causes most riders to feel unstable allowing them to slide from front to back or from side to side.
Ah ha: As a general guide when you are sitting in the saddle if you can place more than one hand behind you on the seat the saddle is too big. As saddlemakers use different makes of tree and seat profiles, it is not possible to suggest a definite seat size although as an average, a 5a€™6 a€“ 6a€™0 person weighing 9 to 10 A? stone should be able to ride comfortable in a 17 A?a€? saddle. Seat depth requirement is very personal from rider to rider whether we are discussing jumping or dressage. There are many theories about the correctness and development of a ridera€™s position being limited by a seat that is too deep or not flat enough.
Working with a broad spectrum of riders in different disciplines I have found the trend over the last 10 years has been to prefer a medium deep seat with a strong leg support as found in the Albion SLK, Platinum, Kontrol and Kontact ranges.
Ah ha: The saddle you feel safe and comfortable in is usually the saddle that is right for you. The seat being a little bit too big or small actually causes less problems for the rider than the saddle that is too wide or narrow in the twist and or seat. A saddle that is too wide for a rider and not anatomically compatible, male or female, stops the rider being able to truly sit. Ah ha: The popping up feeling is felt when the seat is actually too wide, also the feeling that you are sitting on a box is quite common. The twist of the saddle being too narrow causes excruciating pain for the rider with a wider pubic arch (quite common). The seat bones must sit comfortably on the flatter part of the seat and the rider should not a feel any hard edges under the seat bones. It is invaluable to sit in different saddles and to understand the feel of a seat being too wide or too narrow and the same applies to the twist of the saddle. 25 years ago Albion started developing a saddle range with different twist and tree widths to accommodate the different shapes and widths of ridera€™s pelvises. A rider can only be at one with the saddle and therefore the horse, when they feel that they are parallel to the seat i.e. The saddle being out of balance can create numerous problems for the rider that they are often not even aware of and in turn adapt their position to compensate. Saddle sitting low in front is caused by the tree being slightly too wide for the horse, a lack of sufficient panel or soft stuffing. Saddle sitting low behind is caused by the gusset not being deep enough or insufficient stuffing.
The balance of the saddle may be adjusted by the saddle being flocked or by a change of tree or panel type. Finding a saddle that allows the riders thigh to lay comfortably with support is as essential as finding the correct seat and twist width.
Defining the correct thigh angle for an individual rider is governed by the ridera€™s height, experience, suppleness and age and should be discussed with a good trainer. Forward flap position: if the flap is too far in front of the riders leg this will put the rider out of balance and behind the movement. Straight flap position: if the flap position on a jumping saddle is actually too straight for the rider and the thigh is forced back, it will push the rider to the back of the saddle raising the seat bones, tipping the rider forward, encouraging the lower leg to be loose.
Straight Flap position: if the flap position is too straight forcing the thigh to be straighter than it is naturally capable of, this will stress the hips and sacroiliac joints causing severe back ache especially for the older rider.


Long Legs: dressage riders usually change the knee roll angle to accommodate their leg length.
Supple Hips: some ridera€™s legs can hang in a very straight line from hip to knee when astride a saddle. The materials that a saddle is covered in makes a huge difference to the ridera€™s security. All sorts of grippy leathers have been introduced over the last 20 years from knapped buffalo hides to beautifully sueded doe and calf skins.
Generally, jumping riders prefer less grippy leather especially under the calf so they can rebalance and move more quickly over a fence and dressage riders generally love the non slip feel as found in the SLK and Ultima ranges. The horse is measured accurately and detailed observations are discussed with the rider about any areas of immediate concern, or any that may cause problems in the future.
To fit the correct tree shape across the points and along the length of the back, to guarantee a parallel panel fitting. Check the gullet allows enough clearance for the spinal processes and that there is no lateral pressure onto the sides of the spine.
The panel angle must follow the angle of the rib cage so that maximum bearing surface is achieved over the accepted fitting area of the back. Ensure that the shoulders have minimum interference and the back is free to encourage relaxation, swing and the hind legs can travel under the horse.
The saddle must be in longitudinal balance, again this can be very difficult to achieve on the taller horses with flatter backs or croup high horses.
To minimise all excess movement from the saddle in terms of sliding forward, rolling, bouncing and swinging behind, this can be a massive challenge for even the most experienced fitters and has to be resolved.
Being able to recognise your horse may have a problem with his personal comfort is invaluable. The phrase often used by professional trainers when they ride a horse that is not completely relaxed or showing tension is a€?the horse does not let the rider into his backa€™.
This does not necessarily denote a big problem but a professional rider would look to find the cause of the symptom.
Pressure a€“ indicated by soft swellings, leading to hard swellings and deep muscle damage.
This can be a fitting issue caused by an incorrect tree shape, such as the tree being too wide when fitted or when the horse changes shape by losing weight. In early spring time when horses change their coats and the hair becomes brittle it is very common to see rubs and bare patches. 3.Synthetic saddle pads and numnahs may increase static friction for some very sensitive skinned horses. Lateral pressure occurs when the gullet of the panel is too narrow for the horsea€™s spine or the horse has a prominent spine. Lateral pressure also occurs from the stirrup bars being too tight for the individual horses shape. Excessive vertical pressure is very common caused by the saddle either tipping forward and bruising the shoulders, or tipping backwards causing bruising to the lumbar region. When a saddle becomes out of balance, muscle bruising in the shoulders or behind the saddle is very common. Albion prides itself on having created a range of products that gives riders unequalled options for themselves and their horses. Since 1984 Albion has designed and developed products that are ergonomically contoured and compatible to the changing conformations of the modern sport horse. The influence of the Dutch and German bloodlines used in the development of the sport horse has completely changed the conformation and body types we were working with 25years ago. Albion understands the frustration of trying to fit the ever changing, slow maturing, young warm blood sport horse and, because of this, they created a dedicated range of interchangeable trees. All Albion wooden trees can be head plate changed to template in the factory or by authorised saddlers. Because Albion designs and manufactures all saddle trees used in their products, a completely exclusive range of saddle trees have evolved, making an Albion saddle a truly unique product. Ah ha: if your saddle doesna€™t fit anymore, always ask your fitter if they can head plate change your saddle. Within the Albion range we offer several different styles of panel to accommodate the different back shapes we encounter. The full backed horse a€“ standard panel and gusset stuffed lightly to be close to the back. The fit or skinny horse a€“ a thick panel protecting the shoulders and spine from the tree. The very sore and sensitive horse a€“ this would be custom cut or flocked to ensure maximum comfort.
It is the fittera€™s job to make the correct recommendation for your horse to maximise his comfort.
The amount of panel adjustment available on a saddle will be totally dependent upon the contents of the panel. If you want a saddle that can be gently adjusted or sculpted for your horse, then in my opinion a wool flocked is the only way forward.
All Albion saddles are felt lined and top flocked with pure white wool, ensuring a smooth contact to the back.
There are many different ways of placing the straps on a saddle to maximise the saddles stability. It is the fittera€™s job to instruct the factory on the most suitable strapping arrangement for the individual horse and it is sometimes just trial and error to get it right.
Severe bruising of the breastbone is very common and unnecessary, it can lead to resistance and various behavioural symptoms e.g.
Having chosen your perfect saddle it is vital to keep it well maintained and in it peak condition.


Continuous maintenance of leather is vital, it is skin and it needs nourishing with grease and fats.
If sweat is removed after each use by gently wiping the product with tepid water and regularly applying soap and balm or greasing your equipment, you should get years of good use. If you are riding every day, your saddle will need to be checked at least twice a year, especially if you have a young, changing horse. Weight tape your horse every month a€“ going up or down 15 to 20 kilos can make a huge difference to your saddle fit as much as a tree fitting. Ah ha: if your saddle starts to feel different, tipping forward, backward or rolling from side to side, the hair starts to break or soft swellings appear call your fitter for a check up a€“ definitely cheaper than vets bills.
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From the questions she asks her clients to ensure their absolute comfort, to the observations she makes when assessing the horses, all will be revealed here. If the rider cannot get the support they seek from the knee rolls, this often results in gripping, forcing the calves and heels into the horse.
This would be a general yardstick, but it is very much more about how the individual rider feels in the saddle. The rider pops up off the seat like a clothes peg and the basic saddle twist or seat is the incorrect width. Albion has offered a design feature for over 25 years to help riders overcome this discomfort. A rider can get the feeling of hard edges if the seat is too narrow because their seat bones are actually sitting on the seam lines. It is vital to take advantage of the opportunity at shows where you can try different saddles, especially when you can sit on manufacturers full ranges.
This range has continued to evolve making Albion one of the worlda€™s most innovative design leaders.
When you try a new saddle and you are completely unaware of pressure points a€“ the chances are you are comfortable and in balance. The rider will be searching for knee roll support and balance, the lower leg will become loose.
Some saddles be they expensive or cheap often have more shiny, slippery materials forcing the rider to grip to feel secure. Unless the tree and panel are parallel to the horse the saddle will create pressure points and cannot be stable or balanced. An indication of lateral pressure is that soft swellings usually appear on top of the spine. Lack of bearing surface and incorrect balance of the saddle may result in pressure points and can promote atrophy (dents or dips) in the muscles due to insufficient weight distribution. This can only happen if the saddle is correctly balanced enabling the horse to move to his maximum potential and for the rider to sit in a supported and balanced position. It may take time for the affected area to recover especially when hair loss or deep muscle bruising has occurred. The panel puts pressure onto the sides of the spine often causing soft swellings on top of the spine. When I visit different shows at home and abroad and watch the riding in, I am always surprised at how many saddles are actually not in correct balance. Occasionally, when a horse has shoulder damage, we will use and recommend air filled panels.
If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable. Import charges previously quoted are subject to change if you increase you maximum bid amount.
However, to be a good fitter requires an in depth knowledge of the horse and ridera€™s needs.
Please refer to Albiona€™s show calendar to see where you can try the full range of products. If the saddle tips backwards pressurising the loins, this will encourage the horse to hollow and drop his back.



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