I once took a business course years ago that discussed different stages of learning. You may have heard of these as well:
= Unconscious Incompetent – Those who don’t know what they don’t know.
= Conscious Incompetent – Those who don’t know but recognize that.
= Conscious Competent – Those who do know the topic and are aware they know it.
= Unconscious Competent – These are the experts who know a topic inside and out and practice it without even having to think about it.
This works with saddle fitting too, at least to some degree. There are those who buy a horse and a saddle comes with it and they assume it must be the right saddle for that horse – which may or may not be true. For example, I know of one adult woman who purchased a nicely trained 4-H horse of average size and the purchase included a saddle. The woman was nervous about riding her new horse and felt she was misled about it’s training level. When I went over for her lesson, I saw the horse was saddled up with a child’s pony saddle that was digging into the back muscles causing pain. No wonder this woman was uncomfortable riding and no wonder the horse was not standing still and had some bucking issues. This person meant well and had a caring heart but didn’t know what she didn’t know.
But I’ve run into other situations and I’m not sure where to classify them. People who know horses and have awareness of saddling but have a cherished saddle that they use on every horse they own even though the horses are all different. Or the person who spent a couple of thousand dollars on the latest show saddle but didn’t check the fit on the horse before the purchase and is now showing in an ill fitting saddle and wondering why the horse’s performance is not top notch. Or the person who has financial issues and just buys extra thick pads to make the saddle fit.
There is research showing that extra thick pads create pressure causing more damage to the back of the horse. My pet peeve is showing should be more about the horse and not as much about the saddle, so why not create a win-win and think of your horse first when purchasing your horse’s show saddle. We all have cherished items that have been with us forever, but some old saddles need to be retired and hung on a wall.
How do you know when to keep a saddle, when to pad a saddle, when to invest in having a saddle re-flocked or when to get a different saddle? Visit Saddle Fit Simplified: http://www.saddlefitsimplified.com/