Expectations of saddle fitters

What are your expectations of a saddle fitter?

  • Should they leave you a copy of your horse’s measurements?
  • Should they advise you alternative saddle choices if they don’t have one to fit, or does their job end once they leave?
  • If life makes them unavailable to help after leaving saddles for you to try, what would you do (assuming the saddles aren’t working, but maybe could work.)

Well all those things are negotiable because the term saddle fitter can mean a brand rep, a person running a mobile consignment shop, or an independent fitter and repair person who can build tack from scratch if needed, but doesn’t carry inventory. And each of these types comes in the full spectrum from local and attentive through traveling or overextended or flaky etc.

So you need to evaluate and figure out each saddle fitter on their own. And if they are leaving trial saddles there should be a contract there.


I have never been left a copy of my horse’s tracing. I have also never asked for it. So maybe if I asked for it they would make me one when they made theirs? I have no idea.

This depends, like was said above. Did you hire someone who is a representative for a specific brand of saddle and their brand is not working for Dobbin, or did you hire someone who is an independent saddle fitter?
I have heard the saddle fitter (independent) say - Dobbin’s back would likely do well with < brand/style > but I do not have one of those in stock. It might be worth trying one of those.

So you have their sample saddles and they are not willing/able to get back to you to pick them up?

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Out of five saddle fitters I’ve tried in the last few years, two left me with wither tracings. I used those drawings when shopping for saddles so it was helpful. Two of the three who did not do tracings didn’t do a great job of fitting my horses, but that may be a coincidence.

I have received advice on saddle choices but it was limited, and the brand reps that I’ve tried did not make recommendations outside of their brand. I’ve had better fittings with independent reps, but they still have to make money for their time so ongoing advice post-fitting is tricky. I ended up going to Ann Forest with Equestrian Imports and paid a fee for her to evaluate photos of 6 saddles I found locally or through an online consignment shop (e.g. Pelham, Good Apple). She was super helpful in terms of screening out saddles that were not worth trying. It was worth every penny.

Not sure I understand your last question, but if you are saddle shopping, I feel for you!

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It is me and a client saddle shopping - two different fitters. Neither are brand reps, although they are stockists for some brands.

My fitter makes tracings in triple, and leaves one. The other did not, which seemed odd, as she charged for fitting, but I wasn’t sure what was normal. The other also left two saddles and now is awol. No contract, just a credit card given. I told client to take them back, but then she doesn’t have saddle. She has had the saddles a month. The one was brand new, the other used.

I was asking my fitter’s opinions on if certain brands were likely to fit (she didn’t have a saddle option), but I think I was annoying her. I just thought that was what a fitter was meant to do - find you a saddle. I can trace my own horse.

You might have been asking questions that are unanswerable. Any given brand might come in different widths, and different models with different tree curve.