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Saddle Fitting and Performance

According to Jo S. Hockenhull, PhD, of the School of Veterinary Science at the University of Bristol, England, the most prevalent problem was shying (50%), followed by walking off while being mounted (46%), and leaning on the bit (45%), which may be attributed simply to poor riding practices. More dangerous behaviours such as bucking, rearing and bolting were rare. One encouraging number from this study was that 88% of the riders had consulted with a professional to check their saddle's fit, with 61% having it rechecked annually. Just how much influence does a poorly-fitted saddle have on a horse‚Äôs performance? Jochen Schleese of Newmarket, ON, who became the youngest Certified Master Saddler in Europe in 1984 at the age of 22, had already crafted over 1,000 saddles before he watched a video of a horse galloping on a treadmill. Seeing how the saddle was interfering with the shoulder was a…

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