“The riders find a need and then we create the products to do the job.” – John Da Silva
You tack up carefully, always checking that your equipment fits. You’re conscientious about saddle fit and where your saddle pad sits. But after every ride your saddle pad is nowhere near where it started off at the beginning of the ride.
Saddle slipping can be frustrating and dangerous. A saddle that doesn’t stay in place could cause the rider to lose their balance and rub or pinch the horse’s back.
Saddle slipping can happen for several reasons. Poor saddle fit, a loose girth, a lame horse (Fun Fact: On a lame horse the saddle will slip to the side with the lameness), or even uneven irons can be the culprit. Despite the hazard that a slipping saddle poses to rider safety, there are some easy fixes.
Tighten your girth. Check it before you mount and after your horse has walked around for a few minutes.
Make sure your horse is sound. It sounds silly, but even a slight lameness can change the way your horse carries himself. If he’s moving differently, you could also be moving differently in the tack and causing your saddle to slip.
Double check that your stirrups are even. This one seems simple, but if your irons are uneven, you could be putting more weight on one side than the other. Evening out your irons can stop you from inadvertently pulling your saddle to one side.
Get on a stool and check your horse’s back for symmetry. Horses’ bodies change over time. They gain and lose weight and muscles can grow and shrink depending on the work they’re doing. The custom saddle you bought for him as a 4 year-old probably won’t fit when he’s 8 or 9. You can track the changes in your horse’s back by doing tracings and comparing them over time.
Look at the tree and panels of your saddle and if necessary, call a saddle fitter. If you flip your saddle over and your panels look uneven, a saddle fitter can help with reflocking or replacing the foam. Also, using a saddle with a tree that’s too wide for your horse can cause major slipping problems. A saddle fitter can help you find a correctly fitting saddle or a half pad to help improve saddle fit.
Fleece is slippery, so ditch the fuzzy girths and saddle pads and look for better alternatives like Ecogold’s Secure™ saddle pads. Secure saddle pads have a special grippy material where the seat of the saddle sits and on the underside to keep the saddle on the saddle pad and the saddle pad where you put it on the horse. It also has ultra-thin flaps (there’s no padding on the flaps) which provides the rider with a more stable riding position. William Fox-Pitt, Phillip Dutton, Buck Davidson, Boyd Martin are just a few of the top riders using this pad on the cross country course. No slipping, no sliding, even in wet or hot conditions.
Fixing a saddle slipping issue doesn’t have to be expensive but must be treated on a case by case basis. A simple tack or saddle change can often do the trick.