January 2014


I hope this email finds you and your horses all doing well. I know that riding and saddle fit is probably not on your mind right now but it will be soon, I promise!

I just returned from the AETA show in Oaks, PA where I met with several saddle companies to learn more about their saddles. Talking about saddles is my second favorite thing to do. Riding in saddles is my favorite, but right now it’s too cold to ride.

First, I was pleased to see that all the saddle designs featured wider channels. I still see channels that are only 2 fingers wide in some stables but finally the message about the damage to the spinal ligament is getting out there and we are seeing more saddles with wider channels.

There are s till some designers that think one saddle fits all, but fortunately there are only a few of those left and most companies realize that horses change and saddles need to be fitted regularly and adjustable by more than just flocking. The definition of adjustable includes a wide variety of explanation though. Here are a few examples:
  • Tree can be heated on a machine and changed shape. These saddles need to be shipped to a service facility and kept on the heating machine for 12 hours. The funny thing is company even admitted to me that they had no service Reps or facilities in the US. I am glad I don’t have to tell a client that we need to ship the saddle out of the country every time it needs adjusted. Not sure how that works with trying the saddle, could be a long process considering sometimes I adjust a saddle 2 or 3 times and ride each time in between.
  • Tree can be adjusted by a fitter wider or narrower (27cm-38cm) this is a nice big range but one said their range was more like 1cm. Buyers beware!
  • Tree can be adjusted by turning a key to preset gullet widths or by changing a color gullet plate. This could work if your horse’s shoulder angle and width matches one of those colors but what if your horse is the width of one color and the angle of another color? My horse is.
Some saddles have no adjustability at all; these companies admittedly want the consumer to buy another saddle instead of refitting the current one. That one seems simple enough; just buy another saddle off the shelf that fits.

If you have a question about your saddle or would like to schedule a saddle fit evaluation, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would love to have the opportunity to share with you what I have learned. SADDLE FIT EVALUATION & FITTING REGISTRATION

I have heard that some saddle fitters will tell you that your saddle doesn’t fit so you buy one of theirs, but I will give you the information so that you can make an educated decision. I will also share my resources so you can see for yourself. And last but definitely not least, we will see what your h or se has to “say.”

I hope to see you at one of these upcoming lectures:
How to Evaluate Your Own Saddle Fit Lecture
The Equestrian Enthusiast Open House
at 3pm in Honey Brook PA on Feb. 15, 2014

Recognizing Saddle Fit Issues Lecture
The Horse Owners Workshop at East Gate Feed & Grain
at 6pm in Reedsville PA on March 11, 2014

Recognizing Saddle Fit Issues Lecture
The PA Horse World Expo in Harrisburg PA
at 4pm in Seminar Hall A on March 1, 2014

Principles of Equine Anatomy Relative to Saddle Fit Lecture
The PA Horse World Expo in Harrisburg PA
at 1pm in Seminar Hall B on March 2, 2014

As always, thank you for reading our e-newsletter and for all the responses and referrals. I sincerely appreciate everyone of you!

TTYS & God Bless
Terry Peiper

Saddlefit 4 Life Certified Saddle Ergonomist
Authorized Schleese Saddlery, Thin Line, Specialized Saddles & TW Saddlery Representative
ARIA, ISRB & Richard Shrake Ce rtified Instructor
Specializing in "Helping Horses with Their People" for over 30 years.

6 Buck Dr. Carlisle PA 17015
717-240-0723 cell 717-609-2822


Terry Peiper has been "Helping Horses With Their People" in south central PA for over 30 years as an accredited Richard Shrake Resistance Free ® Trainer/Instructor and certified American Riding Instructors Association (ARIA) Instructor. She has more than 45 years h orse showing experience in several different disciplines ranging from hunt seat, halter, stock seat, barrel racing, dressage and side-saddle, as well as several years of fox hunting, hunter paces and open show judging experience. You could say she has been there and done that.

Studying saddle ergonomics started out as just another way for Terry to help her students however, it quickly took over her life when she discovered that her own horse, Easy had a condition called kissing spine which was likely caused by many years of riding in poor fitting saddles. “I can’t go back and undo what I have done but I can spread the word about proper saddle fit to prevent other horses from needless suffering” says Terry.

Recognizing the huge need for proper saddle fit, Terry joined the Saddlefit 4 Life professionals and started the FIT RIGHT SADDLE SOLUTIONS. She passionately pursues her mission to educate as many riders as possible of the importance of prope r saddle fit, how it affects the horse’s performance, behavior and ultimately horse and rider health through lectures and saddle fit evaluation/consultations in the south central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland area.