Equestrian Life – June 2011

Words by:
Bernard Bale
Featured in:
June 2011

So, here we are again. It’s Lincolnshire Show month and each year we think it cannot get any better and yet it surprises us every time. This year the riding and the showing classes promise to be tougher than ever so even being there and taking part is an honour in itself. In fact it is a privilege to have such a show on our doorstep – see you there… and let’s hope we leave the umbrellas in the car!
The importance and significance of a good fitting saddle is something that we regularly hear and read about in the equestrian media and advertising. In fact it is something that we all acknowledge to be true but how many of us actually know if our saddle is a ‘good fit’?

Quite often we buy a saddle when we buy a new horse and mostly we will have it fitted by a professional saddle fitter or at least take the time and trouble to have a good look at it on the horse before deciding to go ahead and use that particular saddle for that particular horse. But what tends to happen in a lot of cases is that six months down the road the saddle is routinely put on the horse and then the horse is ridden in it without any more thought to its current fit. This is far more common than you think and I fully understand that there are cost implications to having the saddle checked and re-flocked on a regular basis, even more so in today’s economic turmoil. However when you think that a good fitting saddle can actually make the difference between a comfortable and happy horse and one that is uncomfortable, in pain even and therefore very reluctant and even unable in some cases to perform at all, then the cost is surely essential? To omit these checks and costs is actually really false economy as you are not getting the best from your horse and may even injure them and incur veterinary costs on top.

Horses and ponies do change shape all the time, depending on what time of year, workload, age and feeding regime. It is essential that we are aware of this and that we take the time to periodically check the saddle is still fitting as it should. If your horse has started to be naughty or evasive then quite often the saddle is a good place to start.

Sarah Payne, Sheepgate Equestrian, in Boston.
Full details of activities can be viewed on www.sheepgate.co.uk

With six showing rings, a dedicated show jumping ring and more equine classes in the main arena, judges and stewards were kept busy at the Newark & Nottinghamshire County Show.

From Shetlands and lead-rein ponies to retrained racehorses and gentle Shires the show had classes for every equine, culminating in the prestigious Cuddy In-Hand Qualifier, won by Messrs D Evans and P Jarrett’s three year-old Easter Index, shown by Jack Cochrane.

Over in the show jumping it was déjà vu as the evergreen John Whitaker won the feature class, the Mattie Brown Stakes, for the second year running.

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