How to Make Sure Your McClellan Saddle Fits Your Horse
- 1). Choose the right horse for the saddle. The reason that so many of the cavalry horses looked alike during the Civil War is because they fit the saddle best. Horses that had a saddle that fit properly were less likely to develop a sore back and a cantankerous personality and to become lame. Horses that are best-suited to wearing the McClellan saddle stand 15 to 15.2 hands tall, are narrow chested, have medium-length backs and have medium to low withers. Horses that don't fit these standards either need a McClellan saddle that is specially made to fit them (this can be very expensive) or must ride through the reenactment with an unauthentic saddle. Your horse's comfort is considerably more important than authenticity.
- 2). Place the saddle in the proper position. The tree should be just behind the horse's withers, and the saddle should sit squarely on your horse's spine.
- 3). Slide your fingers under the saddle's pommel. On a saddle that properly fits your horse, you should be able to easily fit 2 to 3 fingers under the saddle. If you are unable to fit 2 to 3 fingers between the pommel and the horse, the saddle is too wide for your horse. If you can fit more fingers between the horse and the pommel, the saddle is too small for your horse.
- 4). Make sure that no part of the saddle's gullet is pushing on your horse's spine.
- 5). After you mount your horse, the saddle shouldn't rock or slip. A properly fitted saddle won't slip and slide.
- 6). Check the way your saddle fits every couple of months. As your horse puts on or loses weight, its conditioning improves and it matures, the way the saddle fits the horse changes.