With special thanks to our South African retailer Christine Blackett!
She did a lot effort in setting up this very well done guide "How to fit an Hidalgo Saddle on your horse" in english.
HIDALGO LEATHER-TREE SADDLE INFORMATION & FITTING GUIDE
Is a leather-tree saddle different from a tree-less saddle?
Yes. The leather tree saddle has been in existence since 1938. A very strong tree is created by securing numerous pieces of leather on top of one another. This allows for a close feel between the horse and rider which can often be hindered by a fixed tree. The Hidalgo saddle has the added benefit of the “Lady’s Choice” option on our saddles which gives the saddle a comfortable twist and support for the female pelvis.
Why choose a leather-tree saddle over a traditional tree?
There are numerous advantages of a leather-tree saddle, these include the ability of the saddle to move with your horse in a flexible manner, as well as allowing growth of atrophied muscles without any hindrance. Lastly, our saddles can fit almost every shape of horse with a few simple adjustments.
What is unique about the Hidalgo Saddle?
By placing the strong Velcro pads underneath the saddle according to the shape of the horse’s back, the rider
understanding of the conformation of their horse’s back.
Have pressure tests been performed on the Hidalgo Saddles?
Yes, numerous tests have been performed using both sensors and thermography with outstanding results. These results are available upon request.
Are any special pads or fittings needed for use with the Hidalgo Saddles?
We highly recommend that the Grandeur pads are used with our saddles. For horses that have well- muscled backs, the Grandeur pad is great just for extra comfort. The Grandeur pad is essential for horses with muscle atrophy as shims will be needed in the areas of muscle wastage. We recommend our quality anatomical girths for use with our saddles.
Are the Hidalgo Saddles suitable for short-backed horses?
Yes, we can accommodate both larger riders and short-backed horses. By measuring the horse’s back and the rider’s seat size we are able to offer you the right size panels for your horse and as well as the right size seat for the rider. We offer panel sizes of 36-48cm in length and more.
Can the Hidalgo Saddle bridge?
Due to the ability of the panels to mould to the horse, the Hidalgo saddle cannot bridge on the horse’s back.
How do I choose a saddle for myself and my horse?
The Hidalgo saddle range has various options from English and Western to Spanish and Icelandic
saddles. For intense trails or trekking we suggest an endurance, Spanish or Western saddles. Our General-purpose saddles are great for all-round riding but we also have jumping models if you are a more serious jumper. Depending on your budget and any custom features that you may want for your horse, we have numerous leather type and colour options for each type of saddle.
Series II – These saddles are made with lower-priced Nappa leather. While these saddles were initially designed for horses with low withers, all models manufactured after September 2017 are now suitable for high-withered horses. The Series II saddles are available in standard sizes of 30/31cm (short version) and 33cm (standard version). Colour options are brown or black.
Light Model – These saddles are made with quality German Kilger leather. The Light model saddles are available in standard sizes of 30/31cm (short version) and 33cm (standard version). Colour options are brown or black.
Spezial Model – This is a fully customizable option. You can choose any seat size, leather type, colour of seat/flaps/knee rolls/seams and fittings. These saddles are available in numerous leather types including Seude, blank, Nappa, Waxed or smooth and luxurious German Kilger leather. The Spezial model is strongly advised for horses with very high and long withers with sub-optimal muscle condition.
Please follow the steps below carefully when choosing a saddle and measuring your horse:
1. Feel for the point behind the horse’s shoulder as well as where the last rib is on the horse. Place your tape measure behind the shoulder and record the measurement to the last rib. It is important that the panels of the saddle cover as much of the surface of the horse’s back without hindering the shoulder or extending beyond the last rib. If you have numerous horses we will need the measurement of each horse as extra panels can be purchased so that you can use the same saddle on various horses.
2. Please send us pictures of your horse/s standing square with the head up from the side, as well as a picture from behind and slightly above the horse to give a clear view of the musculature at the shoulders and wither pocket area.
3. Please send us your height as well as the size of pants that you wear. If the horse is ridden by other riders we will need their measurements too.
4. If you would like any custom extras added to the sadde you wish to order, please also specify your requirements. Please note that custom orders can take up to 8-12 weeks to be manufactured.
Fitting your Hidalgo saddle
*We recommend that you use a Hidalgo saddle fitter or a conventional saddle fitter with a good knowledge of the Hidalgo Saddles if you are not confident fitting your Hidalgo saddle. Please use your complimentary bottle of Hidalgo saddle oil before riding in the saddle, oil frequently especially in the first few weeks of riding in the saddle.
1. Begin at the back of the saddle. On the horse, feel where the spinal processes end and the muscles begin in order to establish how much space your horse needs between the panels for adequate spinal clearance. The saddle must not touch the spine. The distance between the panels at the back of the saddle is usually 5 fingers or more in width. Use the seams underneath the saddle as a guide to assist you with placing the panels equally on both sides.
2. Create a subtle bow in the area where the withers end and meet the rest of the back. Check that there is sufficient clearance above the withers as well as freedom in the shoulder area. Do not be alarmed if the saddle sits quite high above the horse initially, the saddle will begin to mould to the horse once it is ridden in.
3. Check that the saddle is not tipping too far back or forward. Adjust the panels wider or narrower in the front or back as needed. If needed, insert shims into the Grandeur pad pockets in order to help balance the saddle.
4. It is important that the girth straps hang down straight in the correct girth position. If the horse has a very large shoulder, the panels can be placed further back in order to achieve this. It is important that the panels cover the full area below the rider’s seat. Please note that the Spanish saddles have a V-girth system, it is important that the strap closest to the horse’s tail is tightened a hole or two shorter than the front strap, but not more than this.
5. It is extremely important that the final balance of the saddle is checked with the rider in the saddle. Make any further adjustments to the saddle and then ride in the saddle for at least 5 minutes to allow the saddle to mould to the horse’s back before re-checking the fit. The saddle takes 20-30 rides to fully mould to the horse’s back. This does not mean that the saddle doesn’t fit during those rides but rather that one will develop a closer feel for the horse’s movement after the initial 20-30 rides.
If you are battling to fit your Hidalgo saddle, please do not hesitate to contact us. Below are some scenarios where some extra help may be needed.
Very short backed horse with a very big seat size
Within reason, we can accommodate this horse and rider combination with a larger seat and shorter panels, provided they cover the full area below the rider’s seat. The Spanish panels are better for this due to their larger surface area. The Venice and London English saddles can accommodate the Spanish panels.
Very high and long withers with suboptimal back muscles
The Spezial model is best for this type of back conformation. Always use the Grandeur pads where the muscles are compromised. Memo/Visco foam with felt as inlays are best.
Extremely wide horses
In the event that the saddle sits too high in front despite widening the panels sufficiently, an English version of the Hidalgo saddle may be better suited. An extended tree may also help in the case of a very wide horse.
Hidalgo offers a 12 month warranty against any product defect.
Thanks to: Hidalgo Saddles South Africa Christine Blackett