Animal Rescue Site
HoofBeat New Events Diary - March 2009
The Brooke
World Horse Welfare Special Interview
Laurence Pearman

A question of Saddles.

Laurence Pearman

Laurence Pearman, twice president of Society Master Saddlers, Lecturer / Assessor on Saddle fitting courses and Master Saddler, answers questions.

I've bought a lovely second-hand saddle for my horse, but it's brown and his bridle is black. Is it possible to have a saddle dyed a different colour? sAYS Laurence Pearman: I have not yet found a successful way of dying a saddle, as a wet day riding in a dyed saddle inevitably will always result in the riding apparel picking up the dye. Also various leather conditioners can extract the dye even to the point of taking the original colour out of the leather itself. It is much easier to purchase a matching bridle which is the least expensive option.

Q. How often should I have my young horse's saddle checked while he's still growing?

Says Laurence Pearman:

A saddle should be checked on a young horse every three months. Also a general rule for a saddle check should be every six months, and can be more often according to work regimes, and access to spring grass etc . If it is a flocked saddle or adjustable tree, or regulated with pads, then all need to be checked regularly.

Q. I've seen some saddles with air flocking instead of wool in my local saddlery. How does this work and what are the benefits?

Says Laurence Pearman:

If it is a flocked saddle then it has to be flocked so there are no lumps, smooth throughout, and forgiving, it then needs to be reflocked completely every two years to keep it working well with the horse, depending on use. With the air flocking there is the sealed air system used by Bates / Wintec to which shims can be added and sometimes flock behind.

There is also the Flair air flocking, which is adjustable by adding and subtracting air. It is important to make sure the saddle is not over inflated as this would be like over flocking. Also air bags require regular checking to adjust with more or less air according to horses shape as does wool flocking. Both correctly done can be of benefit to horse and rider.

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