“A prerequisite for harmony between horse and rider is the pairing of a healthy, mature horse with a practiced, empathetic, sensitive, and well-trained rider. The saddle is the connection between two totally disparate living beings; it will either bring them together or distance them – biomechanically speaking.”
These words were written by Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, DVM (author of Tug of War, Balancing Act) for my book Suffering in Silence – The Saddle Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses. I have worked with Gerd while teaching Saddlefit 4 Life® at The German National Riding School, and lecturing at North American clinics.
“A well-fitting saddle is key to ensuring commonality in motion, and plays a critical role in successful training for horse and rider,” he continues. “It can help a rider with a good seat find harmony with the horse, but can also restrict and prevent this if it is not fitted properly to both.
“Only a balanced rider not forced into position can adhere to the goals of ‘classical riding’. The saddle trees should accommodate specific and individual requirements for female and male riders. Only a rider with a properly made and fitted saddle can give his horse the proper aids so the horse can move freely.”