My Hard to Fit Horse

My Journey Starts

I had a hard to fit horse, I have probably always had hard to fit horses, still do! I just know more now than I did then. That is the beauty of the equine industry, no matter which part you participate in. There is always something knew to learn.

Dixie is where it all began, a quarter horse mare, with asymmetrical shoulders. I didn’t have a saddle that fit her, all of them pinched and poked her in the shoulders! The hunt began for a saddle that would help, she already had white hairs and they were only going to get worse if I didn’t do something about it.

Is There a Better Fitting Saddle?

I had run across this saddle in my window shopping at the time. After reading the Hillview Farms website front to back I decided that was the saddle I was going to spend whatever it took to put it on my horse. I studied that website, discovered that it came from a long and rich history of trial and error. I am grateful for this, as I felt that it gave us all this superior panel that does what those previous generations of panels were only starting to do. Which was redistribute the weight of the rider over a wider area and flex with the movements of the horse.

I read that 1995 website from cover to cover. There was a books worth of information out there and I devoured it all. I watched that website and planned my custom saddle, since at the time I couldn’t afford one. After waiting several years I saved the money, so I was going to make the trip to buy or order a saddle. Yeah, I bought a saddle off the rack because as soon as I sat in it, it was coming home with me. It is the saddle that I ride in to this day.

I bought the saddle in February. I had a few months to wait to have my first rides in it. Offering to put first rides on all my friends horses just to get a chance to try the saddle on all the different shapes. To see if it lived up to what the website had told me. It certainly did exactly what it said it would.

A Good Fit for Dixie

As mentioned earlier Dixie had asymmetrical shoulders, meaning that one was slightly smaller than the other. Part of this was her compensating for the arthritis that precipitated her retirement, but also because all the other saddles that were used on her put a lot of pressure on that shoulder, pinching her.

As we used the saddle more, her topline evened out now that she had room to move under the saddle. The saddle moving with her. I remember those first rides when I could feel the panels move under me. Dixie also like the saddle, you could tell by the way she moved and behaved.

It Fit All of the Other Horses I rode

I have ridden many miles on a wide variety of horses that have been shaped so differently that for a while I was continually amazed at the results.

So I took the saddle on a real test. The Silver Spur Ranch World Famous Horse Drive in Idaho. My riding partner also took her Evolutionary saddle to ride in on the horse drive too. We rode five days, 20 miles a day over mountainous terrain. We watched the wranglers have to make all kinds of pad variations. Trying to prevent their horses from getting sore, especially over the loin.

Each morning we’d see them check their horses’ backs. Eventually they stopped checking the two horses that we were riding as our saddles weren’t soring their horses. So not only were we comfortable during all those miles, so were the horses we were assigned for the week!

Thank you Dixie!

If it weren’t for her, that started me on the journey to find a better saddle for her, I wouldn’t have found the Evolutionary Saddle. I wouldn’t have wanted to learn how to build them and wouldn’t have ever had the opportunity that presented itself in 2020.

Dixie passed in the fall of 2023, but I continue to test my saddle on any horse or pony that I get the chance to ride and I ride my new mare Gracie in it. Continuing to learn, from the horses, ponies, mules and donkeys that I come into contact with. Each one providing an education that you just can’t get anywhere else.

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