Why Regular Checks Are Important
Panel saddles are designed with moving parts that can wear out over time, especially if you use your saddle frequently or if you are a heavier rider. Maintaining your panel saddle to keep it in good working order, it’s important to perform regular checks and maintenance. Here’s what you need to know:
Check Your Saddle at Least Once a Year
Every saddle owner should inspect their saddle at least once a year, regardless of the type of saddle they own. If you ride more than 300 miles a year, it’s a good idea to check your panels and saddles about every 300 miles.
How to Perform a Panel Check
To check your saddle, flip it over on a saddle stand and remove its socks. Pull the panels up from the middle and take note of how loose they may be, if they are moving freely or if they are ‘sticky’ in their movement. If you notice any issues with your panels, such as side-to-side play, it’s important to contact Evolutionary Saddles as soon as possible.
After checking the movement of the panels, you will need to tip the saddle on its side to view the thrust bushings that look like washers between the panel and the mount that is in the saddle tree. Make sure the bushings are there. If you don’t see those thrust bushings (washers) on each mount then you need to call me ASAP! Then put only one drop of 3-in-1 household oil in between each mount and bushing.
Never perform a tree check on a flexible panel saddle like you would a conventional saddle. The conventional way of testing the tree itself for issues cannot be performed the same way as conventional saddles. To perform a tree check on an Evolutionary saddle you are going to need a stair or step that you can use so that you can have the panels hang off the side of the stair so only the wood tree is taking any pressure that is put on it. If you do it any other way, you will damage your panels.
Most tree issues on Evolutionary Saddles will be very readily apparent, because there is no rawhide holding things together as many of your very heavy western saddles have. Which is why a tree check is so important for conventional western saddles.
Ready to Ride!
Performing regular panel maintenance checks every 300 miles will keep your saddle in perfect working order. It will keep your horse from dealing with poorly moving parts due to a missing thrust bushing (washer) or too much movement in the rear of the panel. Saddle up! It’s time to go riding!!