Whether your horse is a happy hacker, un/affiliated competition horse or an endurance horse, all horses need a rider that can ride without restrictions or physical limitations. The saddle is a vital interface between horse and rider; it needs to disperse the pressure of the rider’s weight evenly over the horses back without any pressure points. The horse should be able to move freely with the saddle, without any restriction on shoulders, loins, girth area nor for any muscles. The right saddle should allow the rider to sit in harmony with the horse, in the correct position, and to be able to give clear seat and leg aids.
Just in these first few sentences alone, you can see how many vital ingredients there are to get the saddle correct for both horse and rider. When teaching, Esther often encountered problems between horse and rider that were due to an ill-fitting saddle. The main problem was mainly discomfort for the horse but frequently the rider experienced difficulties as well, especially when they were struggling for balance and the saddle was the cause.
To understand all the intricacies of saddles and their effects, Esther educated herself about saddle fitting. Books, saddle tests, impression pads, and a saddle fitters course with an extensive period of training gave her a sound understanding of what was going on in, under and on the saddle. Many horses in The Netherlands and Belgium are ridden/competed in a saddle fitted by Esther. After Esther moved to the UK, she continued to sell the innovative BUA saddle (the saddle she uses for her endurance rides). She is currently exploring other brands.