Customise your equipment

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It is important to have equipment that is well adapted to you and your horse. This affects the stamina of the horse as well as your safety. The appropriate size saddle depends both on the rider and on the horse it needs to fit. 

An incorrectly fitted saddle can lead to back problems and lameness. The seat of the saddle is measured in inches, a pony saddle is often somewhere between 14-16". 17-17.5" is the size used by most riders, however, there are saddles as large as 18.5".

The width and shape of the tree determines the position of the saddle on the horse. The tree width is most often indicated as small, medium, wide, extra wide etc. Today, there are several saddles with different systems that allow you to adjust the width of the tree, such as Gen Tec. There are also saddles with exchangeable gullet plates.

When fitting a saddle, it is to lay flat and steady on the horse's back, without tipping forwards or backwards. There must be plenty of room in the gullet, between the saddle and the horse's spine, so that no weight is placed on the spine. Only the horse's back muscles are to support the saddle.

If you are buying a new saddle, start by trying out a number of different ones yourself. Once you have found a few that you like, ask Höök's experienced staff to help you with a fitting. This is an investment that can truly pay off – both in terms of the well-being of your horse and of your wallet.

The bridle must also be adjusted for a good fit. If your horse has a very wide forehead, the browband that came with the bridle may be too short. In that case, you need to buy longer browband. The same applies to the noseband. Try to adjust it so that it really fits your horse. The noseband is partially intended to stabilise the bit, but also to stop the horse from opening its mouth, however, it must not be fastened too tightly as it can then indirectly lead to sores on the inside of the mouth. If your horse holds its mouth open, or places its tongue over the bit, do not tighten the noseband any more, but try to figure out why the horse is acting this way instead. This allows you to get to the bottom of the problem.

The size of the bit is also important. Bits used to be much longer, but new research on the mouth of the horse has revealed that excessively long bits will often lead to injuries. When the bit lies completely straight and still in the mouth, the holes of the bit rings are to be in line with the corners of the mouth.  The horse was not made to hold a bit in its mouth, and it is therefore important not to use a bit that is too thick. The horse must be able to close its mouth around the bit without it touching the bars. When the horse's mouth is closed, lift up its lips on the sides and check the space between the bars. This is where the bit should fit.

The size of our rugs are given in centimetres, referring to the back measurements. To find out what size rug your horse needs, you measure the distance between the top of the withers to the root of the tail. On large horses, this measurement is usually between 145 and 155 cm. Different rugs will also be cut differently around the chest. If you are unsure of what rug to choose, say, for a horse that has a very slim chest: ask your retailer or our customer services for help.

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