Getting the right fit, and choosing the right show blanket
Gilead Friedman, our friend and the brilliant brain behind Mental Athletics (a worldwide mindset training program to enable equestrians to reach peak ability in the show pen) says, “You the rider are the competitor, the horse is the athlete.”
Our top priority when riding in general and in the show pen is the comfort of our partner, the athlete - the horse; do they have a saddle that fits well and is fit for purpose? And once we have that, do we look our best in the show pen?
To answer these two questions we spoke with two of our sponsors: Brittany Blakely of Britt’s Corner Tack and Linda Frederiksen of the CW Saddle Blanket Company.
Western Saddle fit:
Brittany: If we expect our horses to be a balanced athlete, fitting our tack is imperative. Signs of bad fitting tack include: bucking, rearing, refusal to move forward, spooking (without good reason), bolting and biting/ kicking/ ear pinning while being tacked up. A well-fitted saddle allows the horse to comfortably stretch and move fluidly in all gaits and the saddle doesn’t need to be shifted constantly or readjusted/ pulled forward or back during riding.
How often should you have your saddle fitted?
If you’re competitive and showing, yearly is optimal. With a horse building muscle and changing it is important to keep an eye on what is happening to allow the horse to perform at their best. Even if saddle fit could improve what you’re doing by 10%, then what does 10% look like when it comes to your show pen performance?
What size seat should I buy?
Buying a saddle is like buying pants- there really is no ‘hard and fast rule’. It depends on how you ride: a saddle that fits the rider allows the rider to collapse at the hip but sit in a natural position, and where your legs would naturally hand to pick up the stirrups.
There’s a LOT more to this than we can cover here!
Now you have the right saddle, what about the show pad?
You have the right saddle and pad for your horse (Britt can talk about those too) but what about your saddle blanket - a high quality blanket with beautiful colours to accent your horse and complement you too?
Linda: As a self-taught weaver, I have been weaving quality show pads since 1996, with my main customer base being the Quarter Horse and Paint industries. The market was flooded with below standard products, I was, and still am, very busy delivering quality show pads to my clients.
It’s all about the craftsmanship and the quality
To keep up with demand, in 2020, I made the decision to hand over one of the reins and contracted out some of the weaving process. I worked with the contractor for over a year, to ensure the show pad being produced was of the same quality as if I wove the show pad myself. I am still involved in every show pad and the final product. I continue to do all the design work, colour placement and provide the contractor the technical portion of the show pads weave structure.
To me there’s nothing better than a horse looking its best with a beautiful show pad - I can create a show pad to match your shirt.
Britt and Linda will be at our shows (June 2-4 and August 18-20) or you can find them on Facebook to find out more!
Pro and Non-Pro articles written by Jen Jonas of Jonas Performance Horses (Pro) and Sharon Jones of Be A Better You (Non-Pro). Together, they are J&J Reining Inc. Both Jen and Sharon are believers in continual learning – if you’re not learning you’re not growing.